Summer Solstice, Solar Impulse and Swiss Embassy

The summer solstice occurred on the same day as the final event of the 2013 Global Perspectives Program (GPP).  Summer solstice – the longest day of the year- is a celebration of (day)light and this year in particular of solar energy and Switzerland.

On Friday June 21st, the Swiss Embassy in Washington DC once again opened its doors to host the 2013 Global Perspectives Conference on Preparing Future Academic Leaders.  The theme this year was “University and society: Meeting expectations?”.  VT GPP program and UniBasel GPP participants served as panelists and discussion leaders for the intriguing dialogue focused on the expectations of the university, society and students and raising more questions than answers about the purpose of a university, the value of an education and the future of higher education.IMG_6623




The evening before, the Swiss Ambassador Manuel Sager IMG_6579hosted a reception at the Air & Space Museum (Smithsonian) to celebrate the success of the Solar Impulse project and the plane the size of a 747 flown across the U.S using only solar energy.  The pilots, Andre and Bertrand, received 2013  Spirit Award from Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh  Foundation.

At the same time of our events were underway in Washington, a group of graduate deans were engaged in discussions of global graduate education in Germany as part of the DAAD study tour.  One of these deans (Nancy Marcus, FSU) was a participant in the 2012 graduate deans global perspectives program offered by K. DePauw.  To read more about the Germany study tour and the graduate deans program, please read the Global Perspectives blog into which these posts flow.

With inspiration and some sadness, the GPP’13 experience has ended but happily the participants have entered into the next phase – as GPP alumni.  The GPP manual and papers will be written and available electronically.  I anticipate that the conversations to continue via twitter (gppvt, #gpp13, @GPPUniBasel ), facebook (GPPVT FacebookUniBasel), LinkedIn (GPP alumni), blogs, google + and more.  Our lives have been enriched by the GPP experiences and we continue to grow as global scholars and colleagues.

Thanks all for another wonderful adventure – a quest for sure!

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