Who We Are
In 2008 200 presidents of top universities and community colleges from across the US, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa joined executives of global companies and foundations for the “Higher Education Summit for Global Development” in Washington, D. C. Rwandas President Paul Kagame opened the Summit, which was convened by the U. S. Secretaries of State and Education and the Administrator of the US Agency for International Development.
The Summit showcased a panoply of electronic tools and communications technologies that support research, teaching and learning. Participants appreciated the power of such resources to bring together individuals and institutions on different continents. But the Summit also exposed critical gaps between scientists, researchers, and entrepreneurs with easy access to these resources and colleagues with little or no access to them.
Whats needed? The conversations sparked by the Summit have grown and widened, focusing on the fundamental changes that powerful communication technologies enable. Innovations are needed in how our institutions of learning and how researchers, scientists, entrepreneurs, and educators come together to build tomorrows knowledge society.
As the world becomes ever smaller through technology, globalization, and interconnectedness, the speed with which ideas spread is increasing. To capture those ideas and transform them into innovative products, processes, and organizations, knowledge partners must be able to find one another. Igniting and sustaining partnerships also means finding resourcestechnological, financial, human, institutional, and intellectual. The twin pillars of a knowledge economy are accessing and generating new knowledge and applying that knowledge to enhance livelihoods and create new solutions, products, jobs, wealth, and health. When people with ideas can come together and access the necessary resources, we see the results in the form of new drugs, better crops, breakthroughs in energy efficiency, and innovations in learning.
Technology is critical for this transformation, but not enough. Resources are necessary, but not sufficient. It takes inventive, dedicated, organized and yet playful people to forward new ways of thinking and doing. Such a group is required to trigger the deep changes needed to build new ways of sharing and accessing knowledge, then putting that knowledge to work.
Why do we need the Global Knowledge Initiative? Education, science, technology, and innovation are the stepping stones to a sustainable and equitable future. The United Nations Task Force on Science, Technology and Innovation reminds us that innovation and technology are needed to transform countries from reliance on the exploitation of natural resources to technological innovation as the basis for development. The success and security of developing countries in making this transition depends on their ability to educate, retain and employ their most highly educated citizens. Bringing state-of-the-art knowledge and investment to disciplines that underpin developmentagriculture, energy, health, environmental sciences, transportation, and engineering, among otherswill have a sustained and profound impact.
The disparities between the developed and developing worlds remain substantial and the need to level the playing field has never been greater. Colleges and universities are home to people who create, share, and capture knowledge. In developed countries, these institutions generate, teach, and archive knowledge to connect generations. Bridging the gap that separates the institutions of developed and developing countries remains an ongoing challenge in building a global knowledge society.
The Global Knowledge Initiative seeks to be the broker, the matchmaker that forges the links needed to bridge these gaps. As an independent, not-for-profit organization, the Global Knowledge Initiative is not subject to governmental, corporate and institutional agendas.
Our Initiative takes your initiative.
The Global Knowledge Initiative is open to all academic institutions, established businesses, entrepreneurs and governmental and non-governmental organizations that share our mission.
Our Flagship Partnership Initiatives
We are currently launching our flagship programs. Through a seed funding grant from the Lounsbery Foundation, we are piloting efforts to ignite and sustain knowledge partnerships. Our initial roll-out covers two regions for which our global needs analysis indicates strong demand, willing and capable institutional partners, and a comparative advantage.
The construction of our pilot partnership initiatives follows a five-step plan:
- Conduct a needs assessment to pinpoint institutional and national needs for technological, financial, institutional, human, and knowledge resources needed to build knowledge partnerships and scientific collaborations.
- Facilitate the selection of priority areas at a regional level.
- Engage partners in the Knowledge Partnerships Strategy Setting Exercise to identify resources required to ignite and sustain knowledge partnerships.
- Commence the build-out and measure and monitor results.
- Adjust and augment over time to sustain efforts and respond to monitoring and evaluation data.
The Global Knowledge Initiatives team began Step 1 on October 15, 2009. This process enabled us to establish a roster of participating institutions in both pilot geographies. In addition to the preliminary partners listed below, the institutional affiliates, including more than 200 US and foreign universities and technology partners, augment the wealth of assets available for the construction of viable, relevant, fruitful and truly global knowledge partnerships rooted in these two regions. For a full list of these partners, click here.
Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Middle East North Africa Region
The Global Knowledge Initiative chose Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Middle East North Africa (MENA) Region for one of its pilot initiatives upon hearing President Obamas call to action:
On science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create more jobs. We'll open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and appoint new science envoys to collaborate on programs that develop new sources of energy, create green jobs, digitize records, clean water, grow new crops All these things must be done in partnership
--President Barack Obama, A New Beginning, June 4, 2009, Cairo, Egypt
The Global Knowledge Initiative is linking Afghani and Pakistani partners to others in the US and the MENA Region for the purposes of collaboration and training. Spurred by the destruction of Afghanistans scientific research and training enterprise and the resources for training and research in Pakistan, the Global Knowledge Initiative joins the OIC Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) and the Network of Academies of Science of Islamic Countries in announcing our Pakistan-Afghanistan program that will bring together several partners with the resources they need to deepen collaboration, augment training, and build research and learning capacity. These partners include:
- Afghanistan Academy of Science
- Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities
- COMSTECH: Ministers of Science and Technology in 57 OIC countries across the Middle East, South Asia and elsewhere
- Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan
- Lahore University of Management Science (LUMS)
- Library of Alexandria, Egypt
- Network of Academies of Science of Islamic Countries (NASIC)
- Pakistan Academy of Science
- Pakistan Virtual University
- Supercourses MENA Initiative
- The Academy of Sciences of the Developing World (TWAS)
- US Department of States Global Entrepreneurship Program, Pakistan
- US National Academy of Sciences/USAID Program for US-Pakistan Joint Research
- World Bank, MENA Region, Human Development Network
- With a growing list of many more
In East Africa, the convergence of partners seeking to augment research and training in the region offers hope after decades of neglect. Some of Africas greatest tertiary education institutions are situated in East AfricaMakerere University, the National University of Rwanda, the University of Nairobi, and the University of Dar es Salaamyet exploding enrollments, dilapidated infrastructure, staff shortages, and weak connectivity minimize the ability of these vital institutions to teach, carry out research and contribute to job and wealth creation in the region. By leveraging available information and communication technology tools and forging relationships with new and old institutions in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Ethiopia, the Global Knowledge Initiative is poised to match new partners and resources with the regions leading research and training institutions. Just a few of the partners active in this pilot initiative include:
- Academy of Sciences of the Developing World (TWAS)
- Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities
- BIO.EARN (40 East African universities and research organizations supporting graduate training and research in agriculture and biotechnology)
- Heifer International, Uganda
- Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST)
- Ministry of Education (including Science, Technology and Research), Rwanda
- Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Tanzania
- Nelson Mandela African Institute for Science and Technology (AIST) Arusha
- Network of African Academies of Science (NASAC)
- Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) (12 universities in Eastern and Southern Africa overseeing graduate training and networks of specialization in COMESA countries)
- Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH)
- Uganda Industrial Research Center (UIRI)
- Uganda National Council for Science and Technology
- Uganda Academy of Sciences
- University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
- University of Nairobi, Kenya
- Victoria Institute of Science and Technology, Kenya
- World Bank, Uganda Office
- With a growing list of many more