KINGSTON, R.I. – January 30, 2007 – University of Rhode Island President Robert L. Carothers has been elected chairman of the Council of Presidents of the Global U8 Consortium, a group of eight universities from around the world formed to address emerging issues confronting the global community.
Carothers was elected at a meeting of the Council at URI last fall following an international port security and transportation conference sponsored by the Consortium. His three-year term as chairman of the Council of Presidents begins in April 2007.
“I am pleased and honored to have the opportunity to serve as chairman of the GU8 Consortium. We have accomplished a great deal in a short period under the leadership of President Hong, of Korea’s Inha University. URI’s international reputation allows us to be at the table, and my selection provides us with an opportunity to continue to build on that reputation,” Carothers said.
Established in 2003, the Global U8 Consortium aims to merge the expertise from the eight member institutions to develop a joint education system, conduct collaborative research, and build administrative capacity on such topics as global logistics, marine affairs, advanced technologies and business administration. In addition to URI, Consortium members are Inha University (Korea), the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (Australia), Xiamen University (China), Meiji University (Japan), University of Le Havre (France), University of Haifa (Israel), and University of Washington.
During the Council of Presidents meeting, the group reported on the status of several ongoing collaborations, including the development of a joint academic program in marine affairs between URI, Inha and Xiamen. URI and Inha are also working to develop a similar program in engineering.
“We intend to provide students with the opportunity to spend part of their education here at URI and part at one of the partner institutions,” explained Richard Burroughs, a URI professor of marine affairs who is coordinating the initiative. “It’s an excellent intercultural experience for the students, who, upon graduation, will have equipped themselves to contribute to resolving pressing marine issues throughout the global ocean.”
In addition, student exchange opportunities are being expanded for undergraduate students in many disciplines from the eight participating universities, and faculty and graduate student exchanges have been proposed.
The Council of Presidents agreed that the port security and transportation conference at URI should be a model for future research conferences where international experts are assembled to discuss trends in a topic of interest. The next conference, which will be held at the University of Le Havre in June 2007, will address advanced technology issues. A workshop on marine affairs will be held at URI later in 2007 that will likely lead to an international conference on the topic the following year.
“It makes good sense for nations and their universities to build collaborative relationships, helping each other solve the problems that face them,” Carothers said. “The Global U8 is an excellent forum for doing just that, and we are already making considerable progress, as is evidenced by the success of our port security conference last month.”
This winter Carothers will select an individual to serve as secretary-general of the Global U8 Consortium during his three-year term as its chairman.