The Times Higher Education (THE) Asia Universities Summit 2018, in partnership with the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), was recently organized in Shenzhen, China. The Summit also witnessed the participation of O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU), which was the only Indian university invited to speak at the summit. Founding Vice Chancellor of JGU, Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar was among the 25 Vice Chancellors from across the world who spoke at the summit.
Over 400 delegates from Asia’s best universities, top researchers, higher education leaders, policymakers and industry chiefs attended the three day affair. A Rhodes Scholar and an alumnus of the University of Oxford and Harvard Law School, Professor Raj Kumar is the only scholar and Vice Chancellor from India invited to speak at the Times Higher Education Summit.
The JGU delegation also comprised of Dr. Sanjeev P. Sahni, Professor and Principal Director, Jindal Institute of Behavioural Sciences; Arjya Majumdar, Associate Professor and Director, Office of Academic Planning, Co-ordination and Interdisciplinarity; Wenjuan Zhang, Associate Professor, Assistant Dean-International Collaborations and Executive Director-Centre for India-China Studies; and Ms. Pragnya Paramita Mohanty, Manager – Institutional Research, International Institute for Higher Education Research and Capacity Building, JGU.
The Times Higher Education Summit 2018 was organized around the theme ‘Connecting Cities, Changing the World: Research Universities Building Asia’. These themes included universities and cities – building alliances, defining regions; global research and education – trends, opportunities and challenges; university alliances – research output defining regional strength; national innovation – universities as catalysts and connectors; the power of partnership: what global research universities bring to the innovation economy; fourth industrial revolution and higher education – cultivating entrepreneurship, leading the future; and bridging divides – research universities in the global knowledge economy.
Professor Raj Kumar addressed a panel on ‘Breaking Boundaries – Research Universities in the 21st Century’ that deliberated on the critical role of university research in the growth of the knowledge economy, and the importance of internationalization strategies in eliminating regional and global barriers to collaboration.
“Universities have a larger role to play in the development of societies. They need to assume a leadership role that transcends national boundaries and are able to appreciate diversity and pluralism in all its forms and manifestations. Universities need to recognise that they have a special role in society,” said Prof. Raj Kumar at the Summit.
Professor Raj Kumar added further, “JGU is a unique example of internationalization. It is deeply committed to promoting international engagement through building substantive collaborations with universities around the world. Universities need to enable these partnerships and it is through these collaborations that we can advance to cause of global understanding and educational cooperation.”
He also answered some questions about university rankings, and said, “I strongly believe that university rankings are important for providing opportunities for universities to benchmark themselves with regard to quality and excellence. Rankings help universities to redefine their vision and mission towards seeking ways to develop new institutional imaginations for the development of a knowledge society.”