Humanities and 'soft power' on the Going Global menu

Issues including whether the humanities have a place in 21st-century nations will be among those discussed at the British Council's Going Global conference next year, it has been announced.

The conference, which will be held on 4-6 March in Dubai, will have the central topic of universities' role in creating knowledge economies.

Eric Thomas, president of Universities UK, and Colin Riordan, vice-chancellor of the University of Cardiff, will be among the speakers.

Discussion topics will include: "'Soft Power': higher education and cultural diplomacy"; "how to create globally skilled young entrepreneurs" and "do universities have a moral obligation to drive change for stability and societal good?"

The event, for which Times Higher Education is a media partner, will also see the launch of THE's 2013 World Reputation Rankings.

In addition to the THE rankings, another four major pieces of research will be presented at the conference:

- a study by the British Council, consultancy firm Booz Allen Hamilton and Ipsos, the market research organisation, on the cultural skills that global employers require

- A report by the British Council on the "social and economic impact of transnational education on host countries and index of future transnational opportunities"

- A survey by the British Council about students' perceptions of barriers to leaving the UK, Australia and USA

- A report by the University Alliance mission group on how changes to higher education in the UK will affect future graduates' employability

Martin Davidson, the British Council's chief executive, said: "We have created a diverse programme to respond to some of the current key challenges affecting higher education and skills around the world, and I look forward to the stimulating discourse."

david.matthews@tsleducation.com

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