In his remarks in the session on “Mobilizing Knowledge Institutions,” President Jehuda Reinharz makes the case for a big idea: mobilizing the talents and collective power of undergraduate and graduate students from around the world to create a “Global Student Research Corps,” a kind of Peace Corps adapted to the particular challenges of today.
Big problems, the president says, require big ideas, the kind of synthesis of knowledge best nurtured in liberal arts institutions. “It seems to me,” he continues, “that we, who are leaders in higher education, in science, in government, and in industry have not fully appreciated the resource that we have in these young people. I would like to see the establishment of a Global Student Research Corps comprising a worldwide network of undergraduate and graduate students, who can work together to generate the data and the knowledge that we need to battle the effects of climate change and other global challenges, mobilizing people and their governments to take action.”
A corps of young people would undertaken local research on shared global research data, sharing that data on a common web platform. Students would work on hard science projects – collecting local data on eroding coastlines, for example – as well as on projects that draw on the social sciences, the humanities, and even the arts. (Jehuda mentioned that right now Brandeis is hosting a Korean graphic artist who uses his medium to mobilize people on global warming.)
The idea resonated with Brandeis alumna Wakako Hironaka, MA ’64, who is also an invited speaker at the summit. Hironaka sought Jehuda out after his remarks to congratulate him on a bold concept that could both provide crucial new knowledge and engage a generation in working collectively on the world’s largest problems.
See the full text of Jehuda’s address here