The glocal multiversity: new roles and emerging challenges for human and social development
In this article, Josep Lobera and Cristina Escrigas reflect upon the universities’ new roles, so that they can face human and social challenges, beyond the paradigm of "ivory tower" or "market-oriented university".
Since their origin in the twelfth century, universities have been central institutions, often called to perform essential functions in their social context (Altbach, 2008). Throughout history, they have changed their roles and functions in a continuous adaptation to the different contexts of society, not without certain conflicts and resistances. The new challenges that arise in our global society, including sustainability and intercultural dialogue, lead us to rethink new missions for universities and their linkages with the rest of society. Nevertheless, a critical review of the processes shaping the human development agendas would suggest that the university has been mostly follower of this discourse, rather than its creator or a proactive agent (Tandon, 2008). To face the new challenges, the university should be a space of thought, reflection and action, committed to local and global challenges, open to the public and cooperating with other universities on a global scale.
About the author
Josep Lobera was researcher at GUNI until September 2009 and is currently lecturer at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
Cristina Escrigas is Executive Director of GUNI.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009