Reception and Dinner; Conversation Over Dessert - Knowledge for What? Have Universities Lost Sight of Their Purpose?

Fifteen years ago, a UNESCO summit on higher education in Paris declared that access to higher education was a key pathway to citizenship and social mobility in a knowledge-based economy. It cited the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, especially Article 26’s assertion that “everyone has the right to education.” But what kind of education? What kind of knowledge? Cardinal Newman’s famous preference for “liberal knowledge” over “useful knowledge” has fewer and fewer adherents. If universities are not to pursue knowledge for its own sake, what is their purpose? What makes them distinct from the societies that surround and support them? How should higher education respond to multiplying and diverging demands? When attempting to strike the delicate balance between public good and private interests, how should decision-makers think about achievement and innovation, and those who benefit? Moderator: David Remnick ’81, Editor, The New Yorker Serge Haroche, Director, Collège de France; 2012 Nobel Laureate in Physics Christine Musselin, Vice President for Research, Sciences Po, Paris Alexander Nehamas *71, the Edmund N. Carpenter II Class of 1943 Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature, Princeton University Location: Westin Paris-Vendôme Hotel Knowledge for What? Have Universities Lost Sight of Their Purpose?