Our History

One of the paradoxical characteristics of our time is that some of the most creative thinking comes from business, politicians and other community leaders rather than academe. The World Universities Forum has been created in the belief that there is an urgent need for academe to connect more directly and boldly with the large questions of our time, in much the same way that the World Economic Forum (WEF) has forged a role of global intellectual leadership for politicians, business people and community leaders.

While much of the discussion in the annual WEF Davos concerns political and economic matters, the topics it considers have profound implications for universities around the world, not only in relation to their governance but also with respect to the issues of how best to interpret and respond to the global transformations. As they consider the broader context within which they are located, universities are not only more affected by the issues that WEF addresses than ever before, but they also have a greater role to play in solving the global problems and setting the agenda for the knowledge economy and society.

With the interests of WEF and universities increasingly aligned, the World Universities Forum (WUF) has been planned as a counterpoint, enabling a genuine exchange of ideas between political and economic leaders, university sector leaders and leading higher education scholars.

Founded in 2008, this knowledge community brings together scholars, teachers and higher education administrators in an annual conference, a scholarly journal, a book series and an online community.

The World Universities Forum is held annually in different locations around the world. The forum was held at Davos, Switzerland in 2008; with the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay, Mumbai, India in 2009; again in Davos, Switzerland in 2010; at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong from in 2011; at the University of the Aegean, Rhodes, Greece in 2012; at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada in 2013; University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal in 2014; and Georgia Southern University at the Costal Georgia Center, Savannah, USA in 2015.

With the publication of some 350 articles since 2008, the Journal of the World Universities Forum has established itself as a thought leader, not only in the exploration of changing higher education, but in the broader areas of social endeavor where universities have a responsibility to take an intellectual lead.