| The Association of American Colleges and Universities invited Wesleyan President Doug Bennet to attend a forum June 22-23 in Strasbourg, France.
The forum, titled “The Responsibility of Higher Education for a Democratic Culture: Citizenship, Human Rights, and Civic Responsibility,” was held at the Council of Europe headquarters. The council co-sponsored the forum.
Bennet was one of 300 higher education leaders, policy makers and public authorities from North America and Europe to attend.
“For this select group, we chose President Bennet because we thought he would be especially effective representing United States higher education and he would likely use his influence to help underscore the importance of educating students to be informed, empowered and responsible local and global citizens after they graduate,” says Carol Geary Schneider, president of the AAC&U.
In addition to 12 years as Wesleyan’s president, Bennet has served as U.S. assistant secretary of state for international organizational affairs, as president of National Public Radio, and as head of the Agency for International Development and as Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations..
The forum addressed a number of key issues including fostering democratic cultures; social cohesion and intercultural dialog; promoting human rights and democratic citizenship; teaching, research and engagement; building sustainable democratic communities; and knowledge, actions and civic responsibility.
These issues are essential in terms of how we approach liberal education now and in the future, said Bennet. “Our goal must be to enable students to become thoughtful innovators and conscientious global citizens who can engage the world around them and make it better.”
The forum explored the responsibility of higher education for advancing sustainable democratic culture and invited participants to discuss a declaration and practical follow-up activities.
|By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor and David Pesci, director of Media Relations|