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Global Colloquium of University Presidents

April 5, 2011, Volume 57, No. 28

The University of Pennsylvania welcomes the fifth meeting of the Global Colloquium of University Presidents on Monday, April 4 and Tuesday, April 5, 2011. The Colloquium is an invitation-only meeting of some 25-30 university presidents from around the world. Each president is accompanied by a faculty expert on the chosen topic. The Colloquium meets annually to discuss a topic of immediate concern to leaders in higher education at universities around the world and of particular and timely interest to the UN Secretary-General and the international community.

University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann is a founding member of the Global Colloquium of University Presidents, which is sponsored by five leading American research universities—Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University—on behalf of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The topic of the 2011 Colloquium will be Empowering Women to Change the World: What Universities and the UN Can Do with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivering the keynote address.

Speaking on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2010 and the 15th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995), Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that “gender equality and women’s empowerment are fundamental to the global mission of the United Nations to achieve equal rights and dignity for all…. But equality for women and girls is also an economic and social imperative. Until women and girls are liberated from poverty and injustice, all our goals—peace, security, sustainable development—stand in jeopardy.”

The Colloquium sessions today will be open only to the Colloquium participants and will include keynote presentations by the newly appointed head of UN Women, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who will be here at Penn throughout the Colloquium, and Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Obama and chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls.

The university presidents will discuss the role of universities in providing access to education, training, and leadership networks to empower women for full participation and leadership in their societies and recommend concrete steps that universities around the world should take to further this goal. Simultaneously, the faculty experts from each participating university will discuss what the United Nations can do to advance the empowerment of women in the spirit of the Secretary-General’s passionate commitment.


Almanac - April 5, 2011, Volume 57, No. 28