Higher Education in the 21st Century – Diversity of Missions: Abstract by Abdul Razak Dzulkifli

 

What kind of Institution does your Institution want to be?

Abdul Razak Dzulkifli, Vice-Chancellor, University of Science, Malaysia

Abstract for the conference ‘Higher Education in the 21st Century – Diversity of Missions’, 25-27 June, 2007, Dublin.

In the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, discussion on climate change topped the agenda. “By putting climate change at the top of the Davos 2007 agenda, the World Economic Forum has focused on the key challenge of our time. The moment to act is now,” Achim Steiner, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Program was quoted as saying (Ref 1). Hence, if behavioural responses remained unchanged, there will be serious consequences as outlined in the World Economic Forum Global Risks 2007 Report2.

Institutions of higher education have a crucial role to play in evaluating some of these responses by advancing the goal of a sustainable society, through their roles in both research and education. Efforts to increase awareness about sustainability at the level of tertiary education can create a huge impact in shaping the values and behaviours of students.

With the launching of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (EfSD) beginning January 1, 2005 the stage is set for universities to play a more prominent role. Universiti Sains Malaysia has embraced the idea of EfSD since 2003 in the hope that it will create a difference.