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Global Highlight

Baruch College Joins Universities from Around the Globe for the 2nd Symposium of The World Cities World Class University Network



WC2 Berlin Symposium Group Photo

The World Cities World Class University (WC2) network brings together eleven universities in major global cities as a platform for providing responses to the major challenges facing urban areas in the 21st Century. Building on last year’s inaugural Symposium in London, the second WC2 Symposium took place August 8-12 in Berlin, Germany. 

Hosted this year by the Technische Universität Berlin, the Symposium brought together 140 participants (70 students and 70 staff) from 10 member universities and two  additional non-member universities for a week-long symposium designed to address cultural, environmental and political issues pertaining to world cities.

Baruch College: Representing CUNY

Baruch WC2 Symposium photo

The City University of New York (CUNY) joined its WC2 partners and were represented by several people from Baruch College: Dean Fenwick Huss, Vice Provost Myung-Soo Lee, Senior Director Angelina Delgado, Professor/Global Faculty Fellow Alison Griffiths, Professor/Global Faculty Fellow William Boddy and Dean David Birdsell. New York City College of Technology (City Tech) was represented by Dean Kevin Hom and LaGuardia Community College was represented by Professor Sorin Cucu.

The theme for the Symposium was ‘Universities as Urban Actors: Towards the New Urban Agenda’.  This agenda and the role of cities and the universities within them in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provided the Symposium with an overarching framework and several sessions, including one on the relationship between the WC2 network and the SDGs were weaved into the week’s program.

The Symposium was opened by keynote speeches from Prof. Dr.-Ing. Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, the Permanent Secretary for Building and Housing with the Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment and Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Afterwards, an introduction to the New Urban Agenda was given by Prof. Günter Meinert and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Philipp Misselwitz. A panel discussion followed which highlighted the importance of the interplay between city government agencies and universities as collaborative urban actors.

Attendees later participated in one of five themed programs: Business, Eco-campus; Global Cultures; Global Health; and Transport. Led by and with input from staff from member institutions, each program consisted of presentations, seminars, exercises and excursions.

Student Participation – a Hallmark of the Symposium

Studetns at WC2 Symposium

Student participation was one of the most important components of the symposium.  Professor Stanton Newman, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) City University London and Chair of the WC2 Network noted, “Not only did the Symposium provide over 70 students with a high quality international education experience, it provided a platform for staff from WC2 institutions to discuss the further development of the network and to identify areas of potential collaboration between their respective institutions.”

Students undertook preparatory work in advance of and worked within groups during the Symposium. On Thursday afternoon, they presented their outputs to the wider group, which varied from theme to theme but included: model eco-campus; an analysis of global health data; films; games and a website.

City Tech students Edisson Garcia, Zarita Zevallos and Kate Sanko and Dean Hom participated in the “Architectural Design-Studio: Carbon-free novel University Building at TUB Campus-East” program as part of the Eco-Campus theme.  The main objective was the preliminary design of a renewal energy/carbon-free building on campus.  Symposium sessions revolved around a campus tour, development of architectural concepts, floorplans, facades, and a final presentation. Dean Hom was particularly pleased with the student-centered feature of the symposium.  He noted, “The most important aspect is the engagement that our students have with international colleagues and students. For many of them this is their first exposure to the global aspects of their education, and opportunity to meet other educators and to meet and work with students and future peers."

Baruch College students Caroline Kelly, Bu Duel (Elisabeth) Yang, Daniel Muniz and Peter Cipriano participated in the Global Cultures theme focused on “The Global University and the New Urban Agenda in a Local Global Context.”  Students were encouraged to think critically about the role of universities in city/urban spaces and the idea of changing university local/global responsibilities.  In addition to group projects, students participated in panel discussions.  For Daniel Muniz, it was an opportunity to analyse “how the concept of becoming global can impact cities and universities at different levels.”  He said, “Being part of WC2 was certainly an excellent educational and cultural experience as I exchanged ideas and engaged in endless conversations with students and faculty from all 5 continents.”

Profs Boddy, Cucu, Griffiths, Delgado and Birdsell also participated in this session.  Prof. Cucu of LaGuardia Community College was excited about the globalization opportunities presented at the conference. He said, “LaGuardia has been a leader in making global learning central to its core curriculum. WC2 and the global cultures group is a lab for globalizing global learning. By bringing Laguardia's mission to WC2, we all begin to ‘dare to do more’ in designing the global universities of the future.”

Baruch WC2 Berlin Symposium Photo

Baruch College: Focus on Social Entrepreneurship

Dean Huss and Vice Provost Lee of Baruch College participated in the Business theme focused on “Social Entrepreneurship in Urban Cities – Theory and Practice.”  A variety of sessions took place under this theme, including Corporate Responsibility, Spectrum of Social Entrepreneurship Stakeholders from a Canadian Perspective, Business Technologies in Managing Saint-Petersburg Subway, and London and the Entrepreneurial Environment.

To encourage the involvement and representation of Global South perspectives and expertise, the Technische Universität Berlin successfully applied for funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to support participation from the Global South by assisting with travel costs. This funding was available to students and early career academics from Global South WC2 member institutions and students and post doctorate academics from outside the WC2 network.

A Successful Symposium and 2017

Just under 300 people have now participated in a WC2 Symposium, with over half of these being students.  The third WC2 Symposium will take place at the University of São Paulo in Brazil from August 14 to 19, 2017.

----Post based on a Symposium Write-Up by City, University of London.