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Media release: Global Research-Intensive Universities Berlin Statement

July 10, 2024

With rising geopolitical tensions and greater polarisation of views, 168 of the world’s university research powerhouses have come together issuing a joint call to their Governments to work with them to ensure we can realise the full potential of the distinctive research, innovation, and partnerships our universities offer.

At the recent Berlin meeting of the Global Research-Intensive Universities Network (GRIUN) which represents 168 top globally ranked universities from Australia, the European Union, United Kingdom, United States, Japan and Canada, the group jointly called for collaboration on shared global challenges.

Go8 Chief Executive Vicki Thomson said:

“Recent years have seen rising geopolitical tensions, a global pandemic, mass migrations, clear evidence of climate change, and greater polarisation as both opinion and rhetoric pushes more towards the extremes.

“These global challenges require global efforts and global leadership to address, even if their immediate impacts may be more regional or local. Our research-intensive universities play a fundamental key role in this endeavour, bringing our expertise and resources together with the goal of creating the capacity for effective global cooperation.

“The Berlin Statement reinforces our role as thought leaders, as research powerhouses delivering  evidenced-based research and innovation, and as guardians of freedom of speech –  no matter the challenges.  We have done that, in some cases for over a century and will continue to serve that role – as we must.

“Of particular importance during this period of global disruption is the collective commitment to ‘open debate through free expression and critical discussion’.

We strive to be places where the principles of freedom of speech and academic freedom are cherished and remain upheld, but where antisemitism, islamophobia, and racism in any of its forms, as well as intimidation and harassment, are never tolerated. We take our responsibility to foster rigorous scholarly dialogue even on the most divisive issues of our time as a fundamental obligation.

“Now more than ever it is incumbent on our universities to provide the next generation with the knowledge and tools to find solutions to new and emerging challenges, the skills to ‘disagree well’ and the drive to contribute to economic and social prosperity.

“The Go8 and our global network partners have consistently supported society through conflicts, health emergencies, and economic and social disruptions and we will  continue to do so.  Our collective expertise and resources are vital to this and to find solutions to global challenges. Our strength is our research intensity,” said Ms Thomson.

Read the Berlin Statement here.

Contact: Vicki Thomson, Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 438 047 155