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The 8


International Exhibition & Conference on Higher Education

The 8


International Exhibition & Conference on Higher Education

The 8th IECHE conference builds on issues discussed in the

previous IECHE—the transitions taking place in Saudi society

and elsewhere and the issues that universities will have to

address to respond to a changing environment. Changes

taking place include the rapid advance of technologies that

are making many jobs obsolete; diversifying economies

in need of new skills; a changing role for women and the

need to leverage their talent in many areas where they have

been absent in the past; shifting international alliances and

tensions that have economic consequences. The strategies

for educating and preparing university graduates for

adulthood in the past are no longer adequate—graduates will

be entering a much more complicated and volatile world.

Our conferences bring to Riyadh top global thinkers along

with key Saudi leaders in education and the economy to

engage in dialog about the central issues facing higher

education and society in a period of dramatic change. This

makes for stimulating discussion. The organization of the

conference—with an emphasis on dialog among our invited

experts and interaction with the audience—is a successful

mechanism for stimulating participation and the free

exchange of ideas and perspectives from everyone present.

In addition to keynotes by leading voices in international

higher education, the following sessions will provide

opportunities to view the university from different vantage


• Rethinking the university

• Growing leadership opportunities for women in science

and entrepreneurship

• Vision and inspiration: New governance models

• Artificial Intelligence and the iGen: The future of learning

and teaching

• Skills and the future of work

Rethinking the university

As loosely connected groups of individuals

with advanced education in distinct disciplines

or discrete operational functions, universities

are not positioned to restructure the way

they operate. Yet restructuring is necessary.

All students, regardless of field of study, will

need to know how to engage with technology.

All students in scientific and technical fields

will need the skills acquired through the study

of humanities and social sciences. To prepare

students for a changing world, graduates

will need a broad and diverse base of skills

and knowledge to call on in order to adapt.

Interdisciplinary, not multi-disciplinary, learning

and study is now essential, and this implies a

different kind of institutional integration and

internal interaction.

Adapting to change

Governance and leadership are key elements of

successful transition and reform. Historically

universities have been difficult institutions

to change. As many scholars have noted,

the university is a sui generis institution—a

community of highly educated and independent

individuals accustomed to a great deal of

autonomy. Change implies strong leadership,

broad engagement, as well as incentives to

encourage faculty and staff to consider and

implement new ideas. Hierarchical models of

governance are less effective for engaging