Despite science and technology having seen spectacular advances and educational attainment rates worldwide reaching historic highs, two major conflicts remain unresolved: one resulting from human coexistence and the other associated with the relationship between humans and the natural environment. The cultural, social, political and economic frameworks that shaped our recent past are inadequate to understand and to act upon the world of today.
There is an emerging need to establish new bases for a sustainable global society that take into account environmental limits, re-examine the dynamics of global economic, political, human, social and cultural models, as well as their local manifestations.
The main challenge for our civilization is to understand and act in relation to the complex unity that we form and to the total interdependence of all life on, and with, the planet.
The implications of this context for education and research are obvious, being a priority of HE, to generate knowledge that can be used in the construction of a new model of civilization. This only can be done through interactive collaboration with society as a whole.
As reflected in the Final Communiqué of the World Conference on Higher Education held in Paris (2009), the university has a responsibility to educate not only competent professionals but to take over the complete education of the individual. Therefore, a priority is to assess not only the powers provided by educational programs, but the ability to create a solid ethical basis for research in science and technology and humanity, to grow in each of the different professions.