Campus, News

Task force presents findings on higher ed. in developing nations

Members of Boston University’s new Pardee Center Task Force on Higher Education and Innovation in Emerging Economies held a series of panels Thursday in the Metcalf Trustee Center that allowed students and other attendees to explore innovation capacity as it relates to the emerging economies of Turkey, India, Russia, China and Brazil.

“Boston University perhaps has done less than many other institutions in terms of engagement with higher education partners in these countries,” said Muhammad Zaman, the conference’s organizer and associate chair of the biomedical engineering department’s undergraduate program. “The are institutions that are expanding all over the world, and Boston University hasn’t done that. But that doesn’t mean that there is no global agenda.”

The conference was co-hosted by the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future and the Peace Islands Institute, an organization that promotes unity, education and progress in society.

“We believe that education and innovation in emerging countries is very important,” said Murat Kaval, chief executive officer of the Peace Islands Institute. “There have been a lot of good methods, innovations and practices that can be an inspiration for developing counties all over the world. For that reason, we brought in expertise from different countries and within Boston University.”

Zaman moderated a panel featuring Faith University Professor Ali Coskun, fellow at Harvard University’s Program on the Legal Profession Mihaela Papa and Principal Scientist of Innovation and Knowledge Economy at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Hannes Toivanen, which addressed economies in developing countries as well as education, healthcare and technological innovation.

The United States and other developed nations should strengthen their relationships with less developed countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, Zaman said.

“The provocative lesson I want to leave with is not what BRIC [Brazil, Russia, India and China] has to learn from the developed world, but what the developed world has to learn from BRICS,” he said.

It is often difficult for countries at all stages of development to offer high-quality health care at an affordable price, Zaman said.

“When you think about … the issue of maintaining a certain level of quality in the healthcare system without breaking the bank, there is a lot for the United States and for Europe to learn,” he said.

Imran Gungordu, a College of Engineering graduate student, said she was interested to learn more about Turkey, her home country.

“We have a very young, very big population,” she said. “Maybe around 40 percent of our population is younger than 30 years old, so it’s very important for me to see how our education system is doing and how it looks from someone else’s perspective. “

Gungordu said though Turkey needs to continue to push itself in terms of development, she is optimistic about its continued success.

“I learned there is a very big relation between the countries’ education system[s] and their health qualities,” she said. “I saw that people are commenting in good ways. Many of them are acknowledging Turkey’s healthcare policies.”

Omer Gokalp, an assistant professor of strategy and international business at Suffolk University who attended the conference, said the issues each panel discussed directly related to his own research.

“I have attended two sessions and they were very informative,” he said. “I wanted to attend because, from a management perspective, I studied BRIC emerging countries and emerging economies.”

Gokalp said he is optimistic about the future of the Pardee School of Global Studies.

“Events like this and other educational activities certainly would benefit BU and the larger community in Boston,” Gokalp said. “Efforts like this should be expanded, and I certainly applaud the Pardee School and their efforts.”


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