Northeastern Hosts Global Leadership Summit in Paris

Trends in innovation and disruption, as well as the effect of rapid changes in the international landscape of higher education, were the themes as Northeastern hosted its inaugural Global Leadership Summit in Paris last week.

The summit drew more than 160 attendees from over 35 countries—including alumni, incoming students, parents of students, university leaders, and featured speakers—to discuss innovation, entrepreneurship, global mobility and agility, and creativity.

The summit underscored the university’s global agenda and its emphasis on the importance of students developing a global mindset.

Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aoun and Richard D’Amore, chair of the Board of Trustees, kicked off the summit on Thursday morning with a discussion focused on that global vision. When Aoun asked attendees to name the biggest changes they see happening now, the discussion turned to how these changes are affecting higher education and how Northeastern is responding to global change.

Aoun is the author of Robot-Proof, which examines the future of work and how higher education is preparing students to compete in a world in which smart machines work alongside human professionals. The book lays out the framework for a new curriculum—humanics—that builds on humans’ innate strengths.

Other speakers examined global trends and disruption in their own countries and industries. For example, Henri Seydoux, founder, chairman, and CEO of Parrot, SA, examined how entrepreneurship in Europe compares to America, and Arnaud de Puyfontaine, CEO of Vivendi, discussed how the explosion of platforms and the convergence of content is shaping media and entertainment. Christoph Henkel, principal and founding partner of Canyon Equity and vice chairman of Henkel AG, focused on the role that family businesses play in the global economy.

The summit served as the location for the annual meeting of Northeastern’s Young Global Leaders. The program comprises a select group of young alumni who promote a longstanding connection between the university and its international graduates, provide perspective to university leadership, and strengthen Northeastern’s international network. Many of the Young Global Leaders led the discussions with the featured speakers.

“I’m truly inspired by how passionate, supportive, dedicated, and enthusiastic our global community is for both the university and one another,” said Diane MacGillivray, senior vice president for university advancement at Northeastern. “The audience asked so many thoughtful and inquisitive questions. It really showed how our global community has an insatiable curiosity about the world. As we build our global university system, that to me is the backbone on which this network will be built.”

Next year’s summit will be held in Shanghai in late spring 2019.