University education is a dynamic process that is intended to complement the process of education that precedes it. This complementary function requires that individual studentsí academic and cultural backgrounds and their expectations of university should be taken into account by the institution. Furthermore, the education given by universities should equip students to live in an increasingly complex world. University graduates are expected to have mastered knowledge and skills along with having developed a keen sense of global ethics.
Universities need to be restructured in the light of these new conceptions if they want to be in a position to nurture and train innovative leaders of the future, leaders who will take their place in the fields of education and technology, in the professions, in the arts, in the business sphere, and in the political arena. All these spheres may have expectations of the university, but ultimately, it is the university which has the lionís share of responsibility for modeling excellence. It is natural for students to enter the University with expectations about what they will experience; by the same token, the University has its own expectations regarding the students they admit. The expectations of the university must be high enough so that they can serve as a model for students. In any case, the paradigm for university education in the 21st century should be one that promotes a balance between specialization and global, holistic approaches. University teachers can be encouraged to develop holistic approaches to the solution of problems within the framework of philosophy and knowledge they acquired during their own education, and expose their students to these approaches.
This congress aims to create a platform to discuss the aforementioned issues and bring together scholars, NGOís, educators from different backgrounds, business people, and policy makers. A concluding panel will be held to sum up the subjects discussed, draw conclusions and present suggestions for the University of the 21st century.
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