Times Higher Education (THE) World Academic Summit 2020

The future of global higher education will be the focus of the World Academic Summit

THE Banner 2020
01 - 02 Sep 2020

The THE World Academic Summit is an annual event which brings together pre-eminent global thought leaders across higher education, research, industry and government to share best practice and innovation in the development and leadership of world-class universities and research.

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘A new dawn for higher education?’. Leaders from across the global higher education ecosystem will gather online 1-2 September to evaluate the true scale of disruption to the sector and set the strategic agenda for the next decade.

As an alliance partner of this event, the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) will take an active part in the debates again this year and is co-organising the following sessions, together with our partners and members:

Is the decolonisation of the academy realisable? - 1 September 2020 14.30-16.00 

Hosted by King’s College London in collaboration with the ACU, this workshop will convene senior academics, university and thought leaders from across the global South who will be in dialogue with their counterparts in the North on how the events of the COVID-19 moment and the anti-racism protests are shaping a new discourse on decolonisation of the university. The panellists are:

  • Professor Funmi Olonisakin, Vice-President and Vice-Principal (International), King’s College London
  • Dr Joanna Newman, Chief Executive and Secretary General, ACU
  • Professor José Jorge De Carvalho, Head of the Institute of Inclusion in Higher Education and Research, University of Brasilia
  • Professor Shaun Ewen, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous), University of Melbourne
  • Professor Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, University of Witwatersrand
  • Dr Wangũi Wa Goro, Professor of Practice, SOAS University of London
  • Professor Nicola Phillips, Vice-President and Vice-Principal (Education), King’s College London

Addressing the ‘double digital divide’ in global higher education - 2 September 2020 13.30-14.30 

COVID-19 has impacted universities across the world and precipitated an emergency digital transition across education, research and administration. A recent ACU survey has pointed to both a digital divide between high and low income countries, and a ‘double digital divide’ within institutions with variable levels of online engagement according to professional roles.

Online and blended provision is set to be the predominate model for universities in the short to medium term. This session, hosted by the ACU, will bring together global higher education perspectives to explore potential solutions to improve connectivity and address the ‘double digital divide’, assessing the implications for equity and quality of access to online and blended learning, research activity, and international partnerships and collaborations.  The panellists are:

  • Dr Joanna Newman, Chief Executive and Secretary General, ACU
  • Dr Anantha Duraiappah, Inaugural Director, UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP)
  • Professor Denise Whitelock, Director, Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University
  • Dr Vukosi Marivate, Chair of Data Science, University of Pretoria
  • Aditya Malkani, South and East Asia Representative, ACU

The ACU will also have a virtual stand throughout the conference where delegates can drop in for a live chat or virtual 1-2-1 meeting with us or download helpful resources. We look forward to seeing you there!

Times are London, BST. After broadcast all sessions will be available on-demand for 30 days.

View the full programme

Bursaries are available for emerging countries. Click here to find out more

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Theme: Global challenges