The World Universities Forum will feature plenary sessions by some of the world’s leading thinkers and innovators in the field, as well as numerous parallel presentations, by researchers and practitioners.


Linda Katehi
Simon Marginson
David Strangway
Jandhyala B. G. Tilak
Chryssi Vitsilaki

Garden Conversations

Plenary Speakers will make formal 30-minute presentations. They will also participate in 60-minute Garden Conversations - unstructured sessions that allow delegates a chance to meet the speakers and talk with them informally about the issues arising from their presentation.

Please return to this page for regular updates.


The Speakers

Linda Katehi
Linda Katehi became the sixth chancellor of the University of California, Davis, on August 17, 2009. As chief executive officer, she oversees all aspects of the university’s teaching, research and public service mission. Previously, Chancellor Katehi served as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign; the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University; and associate dean for academic affairs and graduate education in the College of Engineering and professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, in 1977, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from UCLA in 1981 and 1984, respectively. Since her early years as a faculty member, Chancellor Katehi has focused on expanding research opportunities for undergraduates and improving the education and professional experience of graduate students, with an emphasis on underrepresented groups. She has mentored more than 70 postdoctoral fellows, doctoral and master’s students in electrical and computer engineering. Twenty-one of the 42 doctoral students who graduated under her supervision have become faculty members in research universities in the United States and abroad.


Simon Marginson
Simon Marginson is a Professor of Higher Education located in the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne, Australia. His work is focused on globalization and the knowledge economy, international education and education policy, with some emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region, and he has completed three reports for the OECD in these areas. His most recent books are Prospects of Higher Education (Sense Publishers, 2007); Creativity in the Global Knowledge Economy (Peter Lang, 2009) and Global Creation: Space, mobility and synchrony in the age of the knowledge economy (Peter Lang, 2010), both co-authored with Peter Murphy and Michael Peters. Forthcoming is International Student Security, co-authored with Chris Nyland, Erlenawati Sawir and Helen Forbes-Mewett.

David Strangway
David Strangway is a geophysicist who conducted research on terrestrial and planetary topics.He was head of the physics Branch at the Manned Spacecraft Center and conducted studies on returned lunar samples and sent an electromagnetic sounding experiment to the moon on Apollo 17. He later became president of the University of Toronto. This was followed by 12 years as the president of the University of British Columbia (UBC was a member of WEF during those years). Following this he was the president and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation which funded research facilities across Canada with access to several billion dollars to help reduce Canada’s brain drain. Then came the Canada Research Chairs program. More recently he founded Quest University Canada, and has worked on innovation and environment in China and now in Africa.

Jandhyala B. G. Tilak
Jandhyala B. G. Tilak is a professor of Educational Finance at the National University of Educational Planning and Administration in India. He received his Ph.D. (Economics of Education) from the Delhi School of Economics; was on the research and teaching faculty of University of Delhi, Indian Institute of Education, University of Virginia and the Hiroshima University (Japan); was also on the research staff of the World Bank. He is also a Visiting Professor in Economics at the Sri Sathya Sai University; and has authored/edited ten books including Economics of Inequality in Education, Education for Development in Asia (both by Sage Publications), Educational Planning at Grassroots (Ashish), India Socio-Economic Database (Tulika) , Education, Society and Development (APH Publishers), Financing Education in India (Ravi Books), Women’s Education and Development (Garg Publishing) and Financing of Secondary Education in India (Shipra Publications), in addition to about 250 research papers published in reputed journals, and in the series of working papers of the World Bank, UNCRD, IIEP, State University of New York, NCAER. The honours and awards he received include the prestigious Swami Pranavananda Saraswati National Award of the UGC in Education for his outstanding scholarly research (1999) and Dr.Malcolm Adiseshiah Award for distinguished research contributions to development studies (2003). He is also a member of several official committees on education of the Government of India. He is the Editor of Journal of Educational Planning and Administration and is on the editorial board of several professional journals. He also serves as a short term external consultant for the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, UNICEF, UNDP, UNESCO, SDC, etc.

Chryssi Vitsilaki
Chryssi Vitsilaki is Dean of the School of Humanities at the University of the Aegean. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and research interests in the sociology of education and gender studies. Her books include School and Work (Athens, 2002) and The All-Day School (Athens 2002). She co-ordinates an innovative, mixed mode masters program at the University of the Aegean which examines workplace change, adult learning and gender.