Toda Institute Hosts Conference on "Universities of the Future" in Hawaii
On February 4-6, the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, a Soka Gakkai-affiliated peace organization, hosted an international conference on "Universities of the Future: Globalization and Higher Education--Who Governs? For Whom?" in Honolulu, Hawaii, in cooperation with the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies (HRCFS) at the University of Hawaii and the World Academy of Art and Science. Eminent university professors and researchers in education attended, including the University of Hawaii President David McClain and HRCFR Director James Allen Dator.
At the public lecture on February 4, Dr. Robert W. Fuller, former president of Oberlin College, USA, gave a keynote speech. He pointed out the problem of discrimination of higher educational institutions based on ranking, or "rankism," in educational circles and emphasized a need to establish right of learning, based on human dignity. "Rankism," coined by Dr. Fuller, refers to the indignity experienced by any individual, group or institution at the hands of a higher-ranking person or persons who abuse their authority and power. Participants discussed various issues, such as "The Vision of the Universities of the Future," "The Impact of Information Technologies on Higher Education" and "Who Pays for and Who Benefits from Higher Education?" Dr. John M. Heffron, history professor at Soka University of America, stated that "the university's primary function is to lay the moral and intellectual foundations for a life of honest, responsible, and intelligent service." The conference deliberations will be compiled and published. Toda Institute Director Dr. Majid Tehranian stated that the universities of the future should provide a new global learning which will adapt to the world of globalization, beyond the framework of traditional universities.