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Northwestern to host Global U7+ Summit in advance of the G7 meeting in the U.S.

Leaders from more than 50 universities worldwide to seek solutions to global problems

U7 Conference graphic

Dozens of university presidents from around the world will gather at  Northwestern to explore solutions to critical global issues when the University hosts the second annual U7+ Summit June 2-3.

President Morton Schapiro announced the news today. The Summit will be held in Evanston and hosted by Northwestern, with activities occurring at the Evanston and Chicago campuses. It will be co-sponsored by Northwestern, Georgetown University, Columbia University and the University of California, Berkeley.

The second annual U7+ Summit is a precursor to the 2020 G7 Summit at Camp David June 10-12. This will be the first time the U7+ Summit is held in the U.S.

“We are honored to host this important gathering of universities committed to global leadership,” President Schapiro said. “It is imperative that today’s universities come together to play a leading role in addressing global challenges that can be solved through collaboration across disciplines and geographical boundaries.

“Our role as host of the 2020 U7+ Summit is a natural extension of our global research and education mission and our commitment to focus the world’s brightest minds on the world’s most pressing problems,” he observed.

More than 50 universities have been invited to the U7+ Summit, which is the annual meeting of the U7 Alliance, a global alliance of university presidents designed to coordinate and advance the role of universities as global actors committed to multilateral action in addressing global problems. 

University presidents, global leaders and senior international officers are expected to attend the U7+ Summit in Evanston. The inaugural summit, held in July 2019 in France, included participants from 47 universities in G7 countries and 13 other countries, including Argentina, Australia, Ghana, India, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa and South Korea. The 47 universities represent more than 2 million students around the world. 

“This is an important moment for us as we prepare to unveil an ambitious global strategic plan for Northwestern,” said President Schapiro in a message to the University community. “Our goals, which include the development of deeper strategic partnerships and an expanded commitment toward the global social good, are in line with the mission of the U7 Alliance.”

The Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Affairs (Northwestern Buffett) will help lead the cross-university team hosting the summit.

Building on work initiated at the inaugural U7+ Summit last year at The Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), Northwestern, Georgetown, Columbia, UC Berkeley and other U7 Alliance partners will develop a multilateral agenda that focuses on reimagining what it means to be a global actor and to work collaboratively across institutional, national and disciplinary borders. 

“Just as the U7 Alliance has an established agenda that emphasizes collaboration and engagement beyond G7 countries, Northwestern’s global strategy is deeply committed to true reciprocity in global problem-solving,” said Annelise Riles, executive director of Northwestern’s Buffett Institute for Global Affairs.

“That means building collaborative alliances around mutual benefit and across varying economic circumstances, which is a distinctive perspective Northwestern brings to formation of the 2020 U7+ Summit agenda,” Riles noted.

The U7+ Summit is a unique opportunity for university leaders from a wide variety of nations to discuss a common agenda and establish a framework for university actions in today’s global landscape. Rather than being designed as a scientific colloquium, the U7+ Summit creates a space for debate and reflection on the concrete actions that universities can take as engaged global actors. It also provides university leaders an opportunity to weigh in on issues and tackle global challenges to be addressed at the upcoming G7 Summit. 

Over two days, more than 100 presidents and top leaders of universities will continue the work begun in 2019 to establish commitments on five key topics, including:

  1. Universities as key actors in a global world.
  2. Climate and energy transition.
  3. Inequality and polarized societies.
  4. Technological transformation.
  5. Community engagement and impact.

As in 2019, the 2020 Summit will conclude with a series of concrete commitments made by each university president for their respective instititutions. These commitments will be discussed during the meeting in Evanston and voted on by the university presidents, that will be presented for consideration as part of the broader G7 discussions that will take place at Camp David. 

International Universities invited to the 2020 U7+ Summit include the following:

Universidad de Buenos Aires – Argentina

Australian National University – Australia

McGill University – Canada

University of Ottawa – Canada

University of Montreal – Canada

University of British Columbia – Canada

University of Toronto – Canada

Houphouët-Boigny – Ivory Coast

Aix-Marseille Université – France

Ecole polytechnique – France

HEC Paris – France

MEAE – FranceMESRI – France

Palais de l’Elysée – France

Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) – France

Sciences Po – France

Sorbonne Université – France

Université Côte d’Azur – France

Université de Bordeaux – France

Université de Lyon -- France

Université de Paris – France

Université de Strasbourg – France

Université de Grenobles Alpes – France

Université Paris Saclay-- France

Free University Berlin – Germany

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München - Germany

Technical University of Munich (TUM) – Germany

University of Heidelberg – Germany

University of Mannheim -- Germany

Ashesi University – Ghana

Indian Institute of Technology Bombay – India

Sapienza University of Rome – Italy

Universita Bocconi – Italy

Università degli Studi di Milano – Italy

University of Naples Federico II – Italy

Hitotsubashi University – Japan

Keio University – Japan

Kyoto University - Japan

Osaka University – Japan

University of Tokyo – Japan

University of Nairobi – Kenya

Kenyatta University - Kenya

Seoul National University – South Korea

Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico  - Mexico

Université Monhammed VI Polytechnique – Morocco

University of Ibadan – Nigeria

Université Cheikh Anta Diop – Senegal

National University of Singapore – Singapore

University of Cape Town – South Africa

Imperial College London – United Kingdom

London School of Economics and Political Science – United Kingdom

University College of London – United Kingdom

University of Cambridge – United Kingdom

University of Edinburgh – United Kingdom

Columbia University – United States

Georgetown University – United States

University of California-Berkeley – United States

The selection of Northwestern to host the U7+ Summit builds on the relationship the University has had with Sciences Po for nearly two decades, a partnership that is a model of the University's globalization strategy: multidimensional partnerships with foreign institutions that it can expand and deepen over time. This partnership, established by the Office of International Relations, now encompasses undergraduate study abroad, graduate students, faculty exchanges, and collaborations with Pritzker and Medill.

Northwestern Buffett develops, aligns and champions Northwestern University’s global strategy and engagement. Northwestern Buffett operates under the Office of the Provost to advance a new model for research, teaching and engagement to increase international opportunities for collaboration in order to address critical global challenges.

Summit participants will seek to have an impact on the multilateral agenda of the G7. Annually, the U7+ Summit cultivates a collective reflection on how the U7 Alliance of world universities will showcase their joint willingness to work together at the global level as engaged universities.

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