Universities, hard and soft sciences: all key pillars of global sustainability (2012)

In Papers by Luc Weber

Published in Weber, L. E. & Duderstadt, J. J, Global Sustainability and the Responsibilities of Universities, Economica, Glion Colloquium Series Nr.7., London, Paris, Genève, 2012

Imagine you are an economic historian writing at the end of the 21st century about the second half of the 20th and first decade of the 21st.
You will probably write that this period was characterized by an unprecedented increase in prosperity in the Western World, the rapid emergence of
new, giant economic powers, an increasing interdependence due to globalization and, globally, relative peace. In brief, the well-being of the world’s population increased rapidly thanks to prosperity and to global peace….

This contribution pursues four aims: first, to demonstrate that the concept of sustainability, well established in the domain of environmental protection, exploitation of natural resources and climate deterioration, is equally powerful as a wide-ranging concept pinpointing the necessary sustainability of political, geo-political, economic, financial and social developments, which are required for world prosperity and peace. Secondly, the contribution would like to show that sustainability is closely linked to the prevention of risks and, thirdly, that universities, in particular research universities, have a great responsibility to promote global sustainability through their triple missions of research, education and engagement. Fourthly — and last, but not least — the contribution will argue that all academic disciplines, i.e. hard sciences, as well as social sciences, the arts and humanities, have to be mobilized towards global sustainability…