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Northwestern to host Global U7+ Summit in November

Second annual summit, originally scheduled for June, will take place Nov. 23 and 24

The second annual U7+ Summit, originally scheduled for June at Northwestern University, will be held November 23 and 24.

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, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision to reschedule the summit for November was made after discussing the situation with university leaders and consulting health and travel officials. Northwestern and its co-sponsors will continue to consult with those officials in the months ahead to ensure the safety of all participants.

“We are deeply committed to working across institutional and geographic boundaries to address our greatest global challenges,” said Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro. “Universities are called to lead more than ever at this moment, and I look forward to working with colleagues from around the world to chart a course for the future together.”

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The global coronavirus pandemic underscores the critical need for collaboration and coordination across disciplines and geographies.”

Annelise Riles, associate provost for global affairs

The U7+ Alliance of World Universities is the first coalition of university presidents aimed at defining concrete actions universities can take to collectively address global challenges in coordination with government leaders in G7 countries and beyond. 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 representing 20 countries have been invited to this year’s U7+ Summit, which will build on work initiated in France to develop commitments on key topics, including the role of universities in a global world, climate and energy, inequity and polarized societies, and technological transformation. This year’s summit will also examine universities’ role in addressing the current COVID-19 pandemic and in preparing for the next global pandemic. 

“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 shared global challenges.” 

Presidential delegates from U7+ universities will convene virtually in advance of this year’s summit to engage in scenario-building exercises that involve mapping out different potential futures for universities. Northwestern and its U7+ Summit co-sponsors will also host a virtual Worldwide Student Forum in advance of this year’s summit to engage students in discussions on how universities can best prepare them for leadership amid and in the aftermath of COVID-19.

The inaugural U7+ 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.