Year on year, the World Academic Summit provides an unmissable opportunity for senior managers and expert thinkers to gather, reflect and redefine the key questions impacting higher education globally. Going further than a series of talks, this event will unite a top-tier delegation around the core theme of “how talent thrives” for three days of engaging and participatory discussion.
The sixth World Academic Summit in 2019, hosted in partnership with ETH Zurich, is firmly placed to be THE’s most ambitious and influential summit of all, having established a world-renowned reputation through our World University Rankings, THE magazine and the THE World Summit Series.
We will deliver a range of thought-provoking keynote sessions and panel debates from the world’s most innovative thinkers – across industry, policy, academia and higher education management – to answer the biggest questions facing universities and beyond on the topic of “how talent thrives”. This topic will explore key questions for higher education on issues of lifelong learning, industry partnerships, meeting the skills gap, research consortiums, and talent recruitment and management. We hope to reflect the diversity of experiences on these topics within our programme, by inviting senior leaders and emerging talent to tackle the opportunities and challenges being felt across higher education globally.
This year we are proud to also be introducing the THE Festival of Data, an optional pre-summit fringe event where you will have the opportunity to discover the latest innovations in university performance analysis and evaluation. Join us for a full day on 9 September, just before the full launch of the THE World University Rankings 2020 and the start of the World Academic Summit, and help us shape the future of the rankings.
Anant Agarwal is chief executive of the online learning destination edX. He taught the first edX course on circuits and electronics, which drew 155,000 students from 162 countries. He previously served as director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the same institution. Professor Agarwal is also a successful serial entrepreneur, having co-founded several companies, including Tilera Corporation and Virtual Machine Works. He is a recipient of the Maurice Wilkes award for computer architecture, and MIT’s Smullin and Jamieson prizes for teaching. He was also awarded the Harold W. McGraw, Jr Prize for Higher Education for his work in advancing the massive open online courses movement.
Prior to being appointed provost in 2016, Dr Fleming was deputy provost (since 2013) and vice-chancellor (Europe) (since 2007), which involved working with the deans, directors and schools on academic planning and overseeing the provost’s Global Research Initiatives programme, which she created in 2011. A historian, she is the Alexander S. Onassis professor of Hellenic culture and civilisation in the Faculty of Arts and Science, and served for many years as the associate director and then director of NYU’s Remarque Institute.
Howard Gardner is the Hobbs professor of cognition and education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Trained in developmental psychology and neuropsychology, he is the author of many books on intelligence, creativity, leadership, the arts and K-12 education. Recently he has completed a large national study of non-vocational higher education in the United States.
Feridun Hamdullahpur was appointed to his current role at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, in March 2011. A professor of mechanical engineering, in 2015 he was made chair of the new Leadership Council for Digital Infrastructure, an initiative to build a world-leading digital infrastructure ecosystem for Canada. He is also vice-chair of the Waterloo Global Science Initiative.
Gordana Landen, a Swedish national, joined Adecco Group in January 2019 from Signify (formerly Philips Lighting) where she was chief human resources officer. She has extensive leadership experience and a broad range of industry expertise, having previously worked in senior human resources and project management positions at telecoms company Ericsson and global hygiene and forest products company SCA (Svenska Cellulosa AB). Ms Landen holds a bachelor’s degree in human resource development and labour relations from Stockholm University. She is based in Zurich at the group’s global headquarters.
Professor Opoku-Agyeman was minister for education from 2013-17. In 2008, she became the first woman to lead a state university in Ghana, when she was appointed vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Coast. In 2009, she was elected Ghana’s representative to Unesco’s executive board – a position she still holds – and in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the development and promotion of quality education in Ghana, she is a recipient of the Ghana Women of Excellence Award.
Professor Tan took up his post in January 2018. He is the university’s fifth president and the 23rd leader to head Singapore’s oldest higher education institution. A pioneer architect of the current academic system in NUS, Professor Tan has seeded many initiatives such as the Special Programme in Science, University Scholars Programme, University Town Residential College Programme, Grade-free Year and Technology-enhanced Education.
Senior Counsellor, Directorate for education and Skills
At the OECD, Dirk Van Damme has served as head of the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, and as head of the OECD’s work on skills. He holds a PhD in educational sciences from Ghent University and has served in various academic and government positions. He has published on higher education policy, international quality assurance and the impact of globalisation on higher education. Before joining the OECD, he was general director of the Flemish Rectors’ Conference VLIR (2000-03) and chief of staff of Flemish education minister Frank Vandenbroucke (2004-08).
ThinkLab provides a forum for decision-makers from industry, politics and academia to reflect, together with experts and scientists, on emerging societal and technological trends. Karin Vey speaks on topics ranging from artificial intelligence and the future of work and education to innovation trends, entrepreneurship, organisational culture and transformation. She is also an active researcher in the area of the implications of AI for business and society, and a university lecturer. Her academic background comprises physics and psychology.
Managing director and head of the Centre for the New Economy and Society
World Economic Forum
In addition to her managing director role at the World Economic Forum, Saadia Zahidi heads the Forum’s Centre for the New Economy and Society. Her teams work to understand and shape the new economy, advance competitiveness, drive social mobility and inclusion, close skills gaps, prepare for the future of work and foster gender equality and diversity. She founded and co-authors the Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, Global Gender Gap Report and Human Capital Report. She has been selected as one of the BBC’s 100 Women and won the inaugural FT/McKinsey Bracken Bower Prize for prospective authors under 35.
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