Synthesis of the GUNi Higher Education in the World Reports 1-3

Higher Education at a Time of Transformation: New Dynamics for Social Responsibility

This report was specially commissioned by UNESCO for the 2009 World Conference on Higher Education (WCHE). Taken from the GUNI Series on the Social Commitment of Universities, which explores key issues facing higher education in the twenty-first century, this publication is a synthesis of the three previous reports:

Synthesis of the GUNi Higher Education in the World Reports 1-3

Including contributions from 70 authors from 34 countries, this publication showcases the key ideas from the global issues and the regional perspectives, as well as 24 good practices, making it an essential tool for all involved in higher education.

This publication analyzes the present and future challenges faced by higher education institutions in the context of globalization, providing a perspective on the financing of higher education, and on the accreditation mechanisms that are in place for assuring quality. It also examines the challenges and emerging roles of higher education in terms of its contribution to human and social development.

The publication also focuses on how higher education institutions (HEIs) could contribute to a systematic and proactive analysis to develop critical discourses with which societies can continually reflect on its evolution for a positive social transformation. It presents as well how HEIs could strength their role as agents of transformation, facing both local and global challenges, concluding that their vision and mission need to be re-oriented towards the creation and distribution of socially relevant knowledge and complex understanding of reality, strengthening their social responsibility contributing through knowledge, to a harmonious global development.


  • UNESCO. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • The Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP)

Sponsored by

  • Generalitat de Catalunya. Ministry of Business and Employment. Department of Research and Universities
  • Generalitat de Catalunya. Ministry for Foreign Action and Open Government