GLOBAL: A shared vision of the future?

"I cannot think of any other international forum which draws together leaders in education to discuss these kinds of issues," said Dr David Mills, of Oxford University's department of education. "Perhaps it may lead to a shared vision of the future."

Professor Michael Arthur started proceedings by describing the radical action he took when he was first made Vice-chancellor of Leeds University in 2004: he listened.

The session on 'Changing needs in Higher Education' brought together a panel that included three university heads and Luca Paderni, Head of Education at Google.

Paderni contended the whole basis of education and business was changing "because people often have better digital tools at home... innovation no longer comes from the guy in the white coat".

From Monterrey University in Mexico, Carlos Cruz Limón, Pro Rector of Development, explained that the country's economic and social problems meant it was more important than ever to teach their students ethics. "We cannot wait until we have another Hugo Chavez as president before we do something," Limón said.

Santiago Iñiguez, Rector of IE University, ended the conference with these words: "This Reinventing Higher Education conference has brought together leading institutions from all over the world to debate the major issues in the sector such as globalisation, mergers, innovative learning methodologies, finance, and governance models that will affect the agenda of universities and policy makers for the next decade.

"In the future, students will demand not universities but 'multiversities' - institutions that provide a diverse and cross-cultural learning environment which mirrors students' global career paths."