Resilience is commonly referred to as the ability of recovering from adversity. However, being resilient also means having the ability to cope with changes and disruptions. Changes and disruptions are ever present in societies, economies, universities and all facets of life. The famous philosopher Heraclitus proclaimed that change is the only constant. Resilient Dynamism was the theme of the World Economic Forum of 2013 and focused on the following three thematic pillars: leading through adversity, restoring economic dynamics and strengthening societal resilience. More importantly, the forum reiterated the need for leadership that possesses both attributes of resilience and dynamism in coping with changes and disruptions. Furthermore, the year 2015 is also a crossroad of the global development agenda. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is coming to an end and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is proposed to be built upon the MDGs as the post-2015 development agenda. The future of our societies will not only focus on development; crucially, the need for sustainable development too.
The Global Higher Education Forum (GHEF) in its 2016 edition seeks to continue the tradition of engaging a wide range of stakeholders through dialogue and debate to examine the role of higher education in developing resilience and ensuring sustainability. Scholars, representatives and professionals from government agencies, higher education institutions, humanitarian and civil bodies, private business entities, nongovernmental organisations and media will congregate in this biennial forum to discuss and share experiences of developing various facets of sustainability and resilience, including societal and economic resilience, through case studies of specific countries and how academic intent is translated into action. While the higher education community has a role to play in developing societal and economic resilience and sustainability, the ability of higher education to cope with the changes and disruptions internally and externally is equally vital. Hence, another thematic focus of GHEF 2016 will focus on understanding how higher education systems, universities and the academic community responds to these ever present changes and disruptions. Participants will be able to draw from each other’s experiences and adapt best practices in strategising for the future.