By Jamie Stengle
IRVING, Texas — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told higher education leaders gathered at a conference Tuesday that globalization presents colleges and universities with both a major challenge and a major opportunity.
“In this globalized world with accelerating technology there are huge opportunities and incredible challenges and you all happen to be in an intersection where this is taking place, maybe with greater velocity and greater impact,” Bush said as he wrapped up the two-day Globalization of Higher Education conference in suburban Dallas, an event hosted by Bush and former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt.
“You have the chance to transform your institutions to take full advantage of these huge opportunities, and if you don’t do so you may be in peril more than many institutions in our country.”
Bush is considered a potential candidate for president in 2016, along with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who also spoke at the gathering. The two spoke separately at the conference Monday but chatted briefly offstage.
Onstage in their solo performances Monday, Clinton and Bush each focused on education policy and the need to make higher education affordable and accessible across the globe. The event offered a bipartisan twist for the nation’s two dominant political families, both of which could return to the presidential campaign trail next year. Bush is the brother and son of Republican presidents.
Clinton’s husband, Bill Clinton, served two terms in the White House before she returned to political life as a Democratic senator from New York and President Barack Obama’s first secretary of state.
Conference participants included leaders at both U.S. and international universities. The conference on Tuesday featured a panel discussion that included: David Leebron, president of Rice University; Nicholas Dirks, chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley; and James Ryan, dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education. Discussion topics included online education, the number of foreign students attending universities and the role of schools with overseas outposts in spreading the values of the United States.