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U7+ Alliance of World Universities urges G7 to increase access to higher educationU7+ Alliance members at the 2024 summit at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. (Photo: Massimiliano Stucchi.)

U7+ Alliance of World Universities urges G7 to increase access to higher education

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The U7+ Alliance of World University Leaders recently met in Milan and adopted a statement on increasing global access to higher education. The statement was shared with the Italian minister of university and research as an input into Italy's preparations for hosting the G7 summit in June.

UCLA, April 12, 2024 — UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and Vice Provost Cindy Fan recently participated in the April 11–12 meeting of the U7+ Alliance of World Universities at Bocconi University in Milan, where the alliance continued its work to collaboratively address global challenges. Attended by more than 80 university leaders from 18 countries, the meeting adopted the 2024 U7+ Statement on Global Access to Higher Education.

On April 11, the alliance officially shared the statement with Anna Maria Bernini, Italian Minister of University and Research. It urges the Group of Nations (G7)* — whose annual summit will be hosted by Italy in mid-June — to partner with U7+ in increasing global access to higher education as a means of enhancing inclusion, building the next generation of leaders and contributing to stable, flourishing societies.

Specifically, the statement encourages the G7 to collaborate with the alliance to:
• develop high-quality, inclusive education systems from primary through higher education;
• support investment in higher education in low- and middle-income countries;
• provide funding to support students from marginalized communities, locally and globally; and
• support and prioritize visas for students and scholars fleeing oppressive regimes, armed conflict or threats of conflict.

The U7+ Alliance unites university presidents from across the globe to address the world’s most pressing challenges at the local, regional and global levels. Created in 2019, the organization’s membership has grown rapidly over the last five years. UCLA joined the alliance in March 2024. Its commitment to advancing collaborative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges makes the organization a natural partner for UCLA, for whom expanding global reach and impact is a major strategic goal.

The University of Toronto currently chairs the Presidential Steering Committee, whose members also include Bocconi University, Georgetown University, Keio University, Université de Montréal, University of Ibadan and University of Mannheim. Northwestern University serves as home to the Alliance Secretariat.

* The G7 consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The European Union is an additional member with all privileges save the right to host or chair a summit.

Read the U7+ Alliance press release

See earlier announcement of UCLA's membership in the U7+ Alliance