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Northwestern elected first Secretariat of U7+ Alliance

Secretariat will strengthen connections between universities and the G7

Northwestern University has been elected to serve as the first Secretariat of the U7+ Alliance of World Universities, leading a global coalition of higher education institutions spanning six continents and seeking to find solutions to the greatest global challenges by coordinating with G7 governments and beyond.

During its three-year term, the Secretariat will be housed at the Northwestern University Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Affairs.

“As a formal G7 engagement group, the U7+ Alliance can take coordinated action to bring scientific evidence to the fore of policy debates on issues ranging from climate change to inequality to the ethics of artificial intelligence,” said Annelise Riles, executive director of Northwestern Buffett and associate provost for Global Affairs at Northwestern, who will lead the Secretariat. “Universities are extraordinarily well poised to surface solutions to the global challenges the youth they serve will inherit, as institutions sitting at the crossroads of disciplines, generations and cultures.”

In 2020, Northwestern was the first U.S. university to host the U7+ Summit, bringing together nearly 100 university leaders from 48 institutions across 17 countries who unanimously voted to prioritize intergenerational justice.

“It is a tremendous honor for Northwestern to serve as the first Secretariat of the U7+ Alliance. Our academic community places the highest priority, within its scholarly work, on exploring global challenges. It will now be able to further expand its role in addressing immediate and long-term issues affecting societies around the world,” said Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro. 

As Secretariat, Northwestern will support the 2021 U7+ Presidential Summit to be hosted in the UK by Imperial College London; the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE); University College London (UCL); the University of Cambridge; and the University of Edinburgh.

The Secretariat will also co-organize the Summit’s Worldwide Student Forum with UCL and convene a series of intergenerational roundtables, which will bring together students, faculty and administrators from across the U7+ network for discussion and debate on critical global challenges. Northwestern leaders and faculty will also play a role in each of the U7+ Alliance’s working groups dedicated to taking concrete actions toward fulfilling commitments ranging from improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to developing students’ inclusive leadership and global citizenship capacities. Finally, Northwestern will facilitate the U7 universities’ engagement with the G7 and other multilateral bodies on matters of global policy.