League of World Universities meets for forum

N By Cuyler Mayer

Washington Square News
New York University

nEW YORK, Oct. 1 – Leaders from 18 members of the League of World Universities joined newly-installed President John Sexton for a daylong conference at the NYU School of Law on Friday to discuss globalization, identity and citizenship in higher education.

The meeting concluded a week of ceremonies surrounding Sexton’s formal installation as university president, during which Sexton emphasized NYU’s role as a leading “global university.”

Starting only hours after the conclusion of a black-tie gala held in Sexton’s honor at the Plaza Hotel, nearly 30 presidents and rectors from universities around the world crowded into the law school’s D’Agostino Hall on West 3rd Street. The conference, entitled “Citizenship and Identity in Higher Education,” was the seventh biennial meeting of the league since it was established by Sexton’s predecessor, L. Jay Oliva, at his installation in 1991.

Four sessions made up the conference, which began at 9 a.m. and concluded shortly after 4 p.m. Topics ranged from the globalization of the world’s institutions of higher learning to a discussion of university research methods and their outcomes.

The league convenes every two years, bringing together representatives from 47 urban universities located on six continents to discuss issues of shared concern. Among the universities represented at Friday’s conference were the University of London, the University of Florence, Oxford University and Tel Aviv University, as well as institutions from Austria, Egypt and India.

“The guiding motivation behind the creation of the League of World Universities lays in the realization that urban universities around the world face similar problems and challenges, and that dialogue and cooperative action relating to these issues may assist in their resolution,” the organization’s Web site reads.

During the organization’s 11 years of existence, this cooperation has taken the form of discussions on issues like the relationship of urban universities to primary and secondary schools, and the use of new technologies to increase collaboration between universities.