47 Universities from 18 countries commit to 6 principles and take concrete action related to the G7 agenda themes

10/07/2019 | 12:00 communiqués de presse  
During the U7 Summit held in Paris on 9-10 July 2019 under the high patronage of 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 5 major global challenges on the multilateral agenda: the key role of universities in a global world, climate change and energy transition, inequality in societies, technological transformations, and community engagement and impact.

The U7 final declaration was 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 international working groups led by personal representatives in the respective universities.

All proposed principles were adopted.

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. In total, 247 individual commitments to action were made by the U7+ universities.

The U7 generated tremendous mobilisation and strong commitment from leading universities from around the globe in record time, as they collectively embraced a new role as members of the U7 and as global change-makers for the sector and beyond. It confirms the role of universities as global actors engaged in deploying concrete actions to make a tangible change in the world. The U7 members’ responsibility in playing a civic, social and political role has already been recognized by the multilateral bodies: the U7 Alliance was associated to the last general review of the engagement groups organised in Paris on July 2nd. U7 representatives are also 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.

The official declaration signed by the 47 university leaders

Missions statement

The U7 brings together universities from G7 countries and beyond, who are committed to academic freedom and scholarly values and convinced of the key role of universities as global actors, to engage in discussions leading to concrete action to address pressing global challenges. Our students, faculty and staff are instrumental in the definition and implementation of the U7 actions.

The first summit, held in Paris in the context of the G7, is a unique opportunity for 47 university leaders from 19 countries to discuss a common agenda and establish a framework for universities’ action in today’s global landscape.

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.
As illustrations of this voted principle, we are pleased to announce that below are examples of actions that several universities have chosen to implement and to champion: 

  • Increasing the scope of our partnerships so that our institutions work with a wide variety of actors in their communities and beyond. To that end, we will ensure that we partner not just with universities and Colleges but with Citizens, Community organizations and NGOs, with Corporations and Cities, with Countries and supra-country organisations that are all critical to helping build a more just, sustainable and prosperous world. Our universities may seek to map their existing relationships in this expanded 6Cs framework and measure progress throughout the year with the idea of building a common monitoring and measurement platform.
Championed by: University of British Columbia.
16 U7 universities will take part in this action.
  • Emphasizing the educational and civic value of community engagement. To that end, we will strongly value and vigorously promote that prior community engagement experience is included as a highly sought after quality for admission. As a direct consequence of this, we as universities will be incentivized to provide or extend opportunities for community engagement to our undergraduate student body.
Championed by: Sciences Po and University of British Columbia.
12 U7 universities will take part in this action.
  • Underlining the importance of exposure to an international experience for our students and to cultural diversity for future generations. To that end, we pledge to recognize the importance of an internationalization indicator of our student experience. This indicator will include the ratio and the distribution across programs and schools of: 
  1. international students within the university; 
  2. the diversity of nationalities represented; 
  3. the level of student mobility including study abroad programs, international dual degree programs, as well as alternative international experience (ex: global virtual classrooms to connect our students with students from international partner institutions to facilitate interactive learning sessions, and co-create projects with partners based on this agenda); 
  4. international diversity within Faculty members. 
Championed by: Università Bocconi and Sciences Po.
29 U7 universities will take part in this action.

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.
As illustrations of this voted principle, we are pleased to announce that below are examples of actions that several universities have chosen to implement and to champion: 
  • Promoting that, at the latest by 2025, all students of our universities, beginning with the undergraduates, will have access to courses related to climate, biodiversity and sustainability during their studies (be it in traditional format or online), as a way of enabling exposure to the key challenges and mitigation strategies with regards to the Earth. Such courses might include experiential learning opportunities on our campuses and/or in the community. 
Championed by: University of Toronto and Paris Sciences et Lettres. 
28 U7 universities will take part in this action.
  • Each university commits to improving energy efficiency and reducing their level of GHG emissions from 2018 levels by 2030, and at a minimum, commits to developing and publishing a specific target for this reduction by 2020. Examples of how we might do so include developing international travel policies, encouraging more environmentally benign forms of transportation to campus, reducing GHG emissions from our facilities and operations. Sustainability goals might also include reduction of waste such as plastic bags or bottles, or other sustainability goals which are relevant to particular contexts/cities/countries.
Championed by: University of Edinburgh and University of Toronto.
18 U7 universities will take part in this action.

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.
As illustrations of this voted principle, we are pleased to announce that below are examples of actions that several universities have chosen to implement and to champion: 
  • Widening access and success for students by promoting routes to university and accompanying students from marginalized backgrounds in their curricula, in order to facilitate social mobility. 
Championed by: The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
26 U7 universities will take part in this action.
  • Developing students’ inclusive leadership and global citizenship competencies by expanding the offer and giving access to relevant courses in the matter.
Championed by: Université d'Ottawa and Université de Bordeaux.
13 U7 universities will take part in this action. 
  • Ensuring that our universities continue to reach beyond the scope of academia, to engage with the wider public in local communities and organisations, and focus on sharing research results on key societal challenges.
Championed by: McGill University.
23 U7 universities will take part in this action. 
  • Leveraging our existing capacities in entrepreneurship, social innovation and incubation in order to create economic value and ensure societal impact. We are in a unique position to share practices within our universities to empower future generations of entrepreneurs to create economic impact and social well-being. 
Championed by: HEC Paris. 
24 U7 universities will take part in this action. 

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.
As illustrations of this voted principle, we are pleased to announce that below are examples of actions that several universities have chosen to implement and to champion: 
  • Collectively pursuing and creating interdisciplinary and cross-border research projects that have a societal impact on the areas captured by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Food and Health, Climate and Energy transition, Sustainability, Equal rights and opportunities. 
Championed by: University College London. 
29 U7 universities will take part in this 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.
Championed by: Ecole Polytechnique.
11 U7 universities will take part in this action. 
  • Convening objective-driven forums using various mediums to explore research-driven actionable options to manage the impact of technology on society, the economy, and the labor market, among academia, government, employers and the broader public. The results of these forums will be accumulated to create a U7 “agenda for action” to be reviewed by member schools at the end of 2020.
Championed by: HEC Paris. 
7 U7 universities will take part in this action. 
  • Exercising strong leadership, alongside tech companies and governments, in developing and promoting guidelines about how data sciences and digital innovation should be handled. To that end, our universities may seek to establish a first version of a position paper by 2020, that shall be built on the universities’ best practices and whose aim is to shape technological transformations for the broad benefit of society and individual wellbeing.
Championed by: Université de Montréal. 
11 U7 universities will take part in this action. 

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.

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