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The U7+ Summit leads 47 universities to commit to six principles

47 universities from 18 countries commit to six principles and take concrete action related to the G7 agenda themes.

On July 9-10, 2019, the first global summit of the U7+ Alliance, a pioneering international alliance of universities aimed at structuring and advancing their role as global actors, was held in Paris.

Under the high patronage of Mr Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, 47 presidents from leading universities in the world engaged within the newly created U7+ discussed, voted and signed 6 commitments that tackle five major global challenges.

Prior to the 2019 inaugural U7+ Alliance Summit, personal representatives in the respective universities have worked collectively on these five major global challenges: the key role of universities in a global world; climate change, biodiversity and cleaner energy; inequality and polarized societies; technological transformations; and community engagement and impact.

The U7+ final declaration has been adopted in the perspective of the upcoming G7 Biarritz Summit. The declaration results from discussions held during the 2-day summit, based on recommendations produced by the working groups present. All proposed principles were adopted.

Principle 1. We recognize that the U7+ embodies our common will to identify and address the global challenges our contemporary societies face in order to accelerate the development of solutions. We commit to pursuing joint action through the U7+, including meeting each year in the context of the G7 process, so that our actions can weigh in the discussions and contribute to making positive change a reality.

Principle 2. We recognize that our universities have a distinctive responsibility to train and nurture responsible and active citizens who will contribute to society, from the local to the global level.

Principle 3. We recognize that our universities have a major role to play in addressing the environmental issues and challenges to sustainability such as climate change, biodiversity and energy transition. This should include leading by example on our own campuses.

Principle 4. We recognize that universities have a distinctive and major responsibility in widening access to education and promoting inclusion and opportunity. We will also foster respectful and evidence-based public debate, in order to combat polarization in our society.

Principle 5. To engage with stakeholders and solve complex issues of global relevance we recognize that universities must promote interdisciplinary research and learning, in particular bridging in our research and teaching between social sciences, humanities, the life sciences and STEM disciplines.

Principle 6. We recognize that the U7+ has the power to serve as a lab to consolidate best practices that can be shared both within our network and more broadly with universities and similar institutions worldwide for inspiration.

Multiple tangible actions are associated with each adopted principle. These will be championed by several universities. University leaders voiced their willingness to take specific action related to the 6 adopted principles, within their own institutions.

As part of principle 5, École Polytechnique chose to implement and to champion the following action:

"Creating pluridisciplinary core technology competency curricula, open to all students across our programs, and that will be counted towards pre-requisites within a degree. These curricula should ensure not just an understanding of technology but of the impact of technology on people and society, seeking to create critical learners and engaged citizens who leverage technology for social good. To that end, our universities will implement new courses, and aim at improving significantly the number of students taking such courses defining clear targets and measurable indicators."

The U7+ representatives are invited to contribute to the sous-sherpa meeting planned in Paris on July 12th in order to present the U7+ final declaration and its 6 acted principles in the context of the last discussions before the G7 Biarritz Summit.