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Northwestern to postpone Global U7+ Summit due to COVID-19

June meeting of university presidents will be postponed
U7+ Global Summit

The second annual U7+ Summit, originally scheduled for June 2-3 at Northwestern University, will be rescheduled in response to the continuing global spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The summit, which is expected to draw dozens of university presidents from around the world, is designed to explore solutions to critical global issues, and to align university leaders so they can play a leading role in addressing critical global challenges.

The decision to reschedule the summit was made after discussing the situation with university leaders and consulting health and travel officials. Northwestern leaders said they understand that universities around the globe are dealing with COVID-19-related issues. Postponing U7+ will allow leaders at Northwestern and the visiting universities to focus on the well-being of their communities in the weeks ahead.

“We are deeply committed to working across institutional and geographic boundaries to address our greatest global challenges,” said Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro. “However, the health and safety of our academic and global communities is of paramount importance at this time, necessitating a postponement of the U7+ Summit.”

The first U7+ Summit, held last year in Paris, France, was hosted by The Paris Institute of Political Studies (SciencesPo) as a precursor to the 2019 G7 Summit, also in Paris. This year’s summit will be hosted by Northwestern and co-sponsored by Columbia University, Georgetown University and the University of California, Berkeley.

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

More than 50 universities have been invited to the U7+ Summit, which is the annual meeting of the U7 Alliance. When it convenes later this year, it will build on work initiated in France to develop commitments on five key topics, including how universities can be key actors in a global world, climate and energy transition, inequity and polarized societies, technological transformation and community engagement and impact.

“The global coronavirus pandemic underscores the critical need for collaboration and coordination across disciplines and geographies,” said Annelise Riles, Northwestern’s associate provost for global affairs. “Universities are in a unique position to provide intellectual and scientific leadership that advances initiatives to address the Sustainable Development Goals of 193 countries around the world.”

The inaugural summit in Paris 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.

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