École polytechnique: L’X and Osaka University co-organized Part III of the U7+ Intergenerational Roundtable Series

The U7+ Intergenerational Roundtable Series prolonged the discussions on Intergenerational Justice – the 2020 U7+ Presidential Summit theme – in a format enabling stakeholders from across generations to engage directly with one another. Convened by Northwestern University and the U7+ Student Leaders Board, the roundtable series was split into three sessions, each dedicated to a specific topic linked to the overarching theme: The first part focused on inequities and intergenerational injustice brought about by the climate crisis. Inequities increase as the climate crisis disproportionately affects disadvantaged communities; Intergenerational injustice as future generations’ well-being risks being traded off against economic prosperity in the present and near future. During the second session of the series, the roundtable participants looked closer at how Social Sciences can tackle the global gender gap to help reach gender equality.

École Polytechnique co-hosted the third part of the U7+ Intergenerational Roundtable Series, themed Science and Technology Innovation for a Sustainable Future. The virtual event was co-hosted by l’X and Osaka University on June 29, 2021.

An intergenerational dialogue across continents

This third part of the U7+ roundtable series brought together participants from thirteen universities across nine countries. The panelists, Thierry Rayna, Professor of Innovation Management at École Polytechnique, Atsuro Morita, Professor of Graduate School of Human Sciences at Osaka University, Shayan Khan, recent graduate of École Polytechnique’s Master of Science & Technology program and U7+ Student Leaders Board member, and Émile St-Pierre, studying at Osaka University, explored together possibilities to best utilize innovation in science and technology for a sustainable future.

The discussion emphasized that innovation should be harnessed to ease planetary pressures. The speakers underlined that innovation needs to be understood as a social process of change resulting from advances in science and technology embedded in social and economic processes. Other crucial elements to consider are localization, collaboration, and a different definition of value measurement.

U7+ Alliance: Unanimous commitments to address global challenges

The international alliance of university presidents U7+, of which École Polytechnique is a founding member, generates a space for debate and reflection on the world’s pressing challenges and the role of universities as engaged global actors. Convening once a year during the U7+ Summit, the university presidents have concluded a series of concrete commitments to establish a framework for universities’ action worldwide. Highlighting the responsibility universities carry and the role they play across the global agenda, the statements were made public to influence the broader G7 discussions.

In August, the U7+ Alliance’s commitments were included in this year’s G7+ Summit Global Briefing Report Review (p.102), testifying to the defining role universities play in the global agenda.

The institutions’ students, faculty, and staff play a decisive part in further defining and implementing the ambitious actions of the U7+ Alliance. Following the U7+ Worldwide Student Forum in 2020, a group of highly motivated students has formed the U7+ Student Leaders Board to pursue the envisioned projects and voice students’ considerations on U7+ actions to the university leadership. They speak about their engagement in an article published in the G7+ Summit Global Briefing Report 2021 (p.104-105).

The Intergenerational Roundtable series represented another occasion to put the call for a reinforced student representation within the U7+ Alliance into practice and enabled students to work hand-in-hand with faculty members, university administrators, and alumni on pressing societal and environmental issues. Today’s challenges require a solid and steady international and intergenerational collaboration if we want to overcome them successfully.

The recording of U7+ Intergenerational Roundtable discussion co-hosted by l’X is accessible here.

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