CONGRÈS DE LOCARNO

Congrès international

QUELLE UNIVERSITÉ POUR DEMAIN ?
VERS UNE ÉVOLUTION TRANSDISCIPLINAIRE DE L'UNIVERSITÉ

(Locarno, Suisse, 30 avril - 2 mai 1997)


ADDRESS TO THE PARTICIPANTS AT THE LOCARNO CONGRESS

April 30, 1997


Although the end of the millennium is a symbolic episode, it coincides with dynamic changes in society, changes in the way people live, the way organizations work. These changes are generated by technology and, most significantly, by information storage, retrieval and communications.

As we prepare to celebrate the 21st century, we note how our lives have been influenced by the advance of science in the 20th. We have progressed from early death by infectious diseases to late death by cancer, heart attack and stroke. We notice that the role of national governments is giving way in economic activity to multinational businesses and their markets. We are also progressing towards a more crowded, warmer, more connected planet.

Environmental change, population growth and the development of nations are major problems which will have a decisive influence on life in the 21st century.

The function of Universities : to acquire new knowledge and to disseminate this through teaching has always had an overarching goal - to produce graduates who can cope with the world into which they emerge. In view of the awesome implications of the changes we have sketched, it is time to rethink the traditional way Universities have operated. There is now, more than ever, a basic conflict between the training of research specialists who must advance the various scientific and technological disciplines and the need for generalists who can operate in real world problems which recognize no disciplinary borders.

Two other factors are emphasized by our end-of-century concerns. One is the two cultures divergence which C.P. Snow identified as beginning at the end of the 19th century. This gap has grown steadily as science has become ever more isolated and remote from the general culture. However, the necessity for popular consensus in the solution to the major problems we have listed, forces us to reconsider this problem now. Finally, there is a growing need to understand why University education does not seem to lead to a higher level of moral and ethical behavior.

The scientific community has the responsibility of harnessing the explosion of knowledge in the sciences to enhance the quality of life on planet earth. This must be done by an integration of science and technology with the other domains of scholarship. The University has a key role in this transition, but this does require radical change in how it organizes the education of its charges.

LEON M. LEDERMAN
Nobel Prize of Physics

Congrès de Locarno, 30 avril - 2 mai 1997


bulletins sommaire précédent suivant


Centre International de Recherches et études Transdisciplinaires
http://ciret-transdisciplinarity.org/locarno/locarno6.php - Dernière mise à jour : Samedi, 20 octobre 2012 11:39:53