August 26, 2019
A pioneer group of universities from the G7 Countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US) and beyond have formed a first of its kind university partnership called the U7+ Alliance. The Alliance held its first meeting at Sciences Po in Paris, and Ashesi University was among 10 leading universities from outside the G7 invited to join the partnership, representing Ghana at the convening. Other universities from Africa included the University of Cape Town (South Africa), the University of Nairobi (Kenya), the University of Ibadan (Nigeria), Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (Morocco), Cheikh Anta Diop University (Senegal), and the Institut National Polytechnique Félix Houphouët-Boigny (Ivory Coast).
The U7 summit – which will be an annual event – ended with the issuing of commitments from all universities present, focusing on “the inherent responsibility of being a world-class university today.” The commitments, outlined under six principles, covered: the key role of universities in a global world; climate change and cleaner energy; Inequality and polarised societies; technological transformations; and community engagement and impact. Commitments were presented to Emmanuel Macron, the French president, who is chairing the ongoing G7 summit.
Ashesi’s Commitments focused on four out of the six commitment principles:
- Principle 2: Educating Responsible and Active Citizens
Recognition that participating universities have a distinctive responsibility to train and nurture responsible and active citizens who will contribute to society, from the local to the global level.
- Principle 3: Contributing to Environment Sustenance
Recognition that participating universities have a major role to play in addressing the environmental issues and challenges to sustainability such as climate change, biodiversity, and energy transition. This will include leading by example on campuses.
- Principle 4: Promoting Inclusion and Respectful Debate
Recognition that universities have a distinctive and major responsibility in widening access to education and promoting inclusion and opportunity. And that participants at the inaugural summit will also foster respectful and evidence-based public debate, in order to combat polarisation in society.
- Principle 5: Solving Issues of Global Relevance through Collaboration
To engage with stakeholders and solve complex issues of global relevance we recognize that universities must promote interdisciplinary research and learning, in particular, bridging in our research and teaching between social sciences, humanities, the life sciences, and STEM disciplines
The U7 Alliance summit builds upon a growing conversation around universities becoming more intentional about their contributions to the world. Earlier in 2019 for example, the Times Higher Education (THE) introduced a new global ranking of universities based on an assessment of their impact on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The ranking listed Ashesi as one of the world’s best in this regard; with the university’s main strengths as assessed by the ranking, being in the areas of contributing to Quality Education (SD4), Gender Equality (SDG5), Reduced Inequalities (SDG10) and Partnerships for the goals (SDG17).
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