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Global alliance and empowerment of women: President Zhou's tour de US

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Peking University, Apr. 15, 2011: Peking University President Zhou Qifeng attended the fifth Global Colloquium of University Presidents from April 4 to 5.


This year’s conference was held by the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) with the theme "Empowering Women to Change the World: What Universities and the UN Can Do." More than 20 university presidents and experts from 18 countries were invited to attend the meeting.



UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave the keynote speech during the opening ceremony on April 4. He noted that "gender equality and women's empowerment are fundamental to the global mission of the United Nations to achieve equal rights and dignity for all… But equality for women and girls is also an economic and social imperative. Until women and girls are liberated from poverty and injustice, all our goals – peace, security, sustainable development – stand in jeopardy."


The next day, representatives of the universities and the United Nations discussed the role of universities in providing access to education, training, and leadership networks to empower women for full participation and leadership in their societies and recommend concrete steps that universities around the world should take to further this goal.


Michelle Bachelet, under secretary-general of the United Nations, executive director of U.N. Women, and former President of Chile; and Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Obama and chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, hosted the discussion for the day. PKU President Zhou Qifeng also contributed to the conference by exchanging his views on how to protect and enhance women rights with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UPenn President Amy Gutmann.


After the conference at UPenn, President Zhou Qifeng went to New York to attend the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) Annual Conference for University Presidents on April 6 and 7. During the conference, university leaders from Asia, Australia, Europe, and the US summarized and discussed new growth of IARU in the past year. Since IARU has recently prioritized the international development of China, President Zhou commented on the latest developments in the field of higher education in China. He said that Peking University would continue to cooperate with the other universities in order to promote joint research and student development.


President Zhou then visited West Point, the United States Military Academy and New York University with his delegation. The presidents of the three universities discussed about how to deepen the exchange and collaborative programs in the future.




Background Information   

Global Colloquium of University Presidents  

Global Colloquium of University Presidents is an invitation-only meeting of 25 to 30 university presidents from around the world, which is sponsored by five leading American research universities – Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University – on behalf of the secretary-general of the United Nations.


Each president is accompanied by a faculty expert on the chosen topic. The Colloquium meets annually to discuss a topic of immediate concern to leaders in higher education at universities around the world and of particular and timely interest to the secretary-general and the international community.


The International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) is a collaboration between ten of the world's leading research-intensive universities who share similar visions for higher education, in particular the education of future leaders.


Established in late 2005, the Alliance comprises the Australian National University, ETH Zurich, National University of Singapore, Peking University, University of California, Berkeley, University of Cambridge, University of Copenhagen, University of Oxford, University of Tokyo, and Yale University.




Ban Ki-Moon, Michelle Bachelet, Valerie Jarrett, and Amy Gutmann on Empowering Women



Extended Reading:  

UPenn’s homepage for this year’s Colloquium  

IARU homepage for the annual conference 

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Speak at Penn for Fifth Global Colloquium of University Presidents


Written by: Ma Anyi
Edited by: Li Xiaomeng
PKU News (Chinese)