The discussion has focused on trans-nationalism, but psychology and studies of the human brain have shown the right-hand side of the brain is still in the Stone Age. People will not be trans-nationals with their creative brain. They do not think about poverty in Africa, they think about their neighbour. Although the discussion referred to globalisation, what you were talking about is not globalisation. What you were thinking about is an ideal; globalisation is simply a movement all over the world, driven by the over-capitalised free market economy.
I would like to offer six provocations.
The first deals with the universal and the particular. We are looking for students to be Spanish/Italian and to study in other universities; to guard their identity as nationals but to become more than that. I am fascinated by the fact that we are all speaking English. If we are talking about a universal kind of identity and a European identity in Professor Zimmerman’s sense, why are we all speaking English as the universal language? All across Europe, certain subjects, such as economics and political science, could be taught in French or German, but the texts are in English and come from the United States.
I am quite astonished that so many people are afraid about the fate of the universities. Maybe the time of the university really has passed. Either a different type of university is going to emerge, or a different framework in which science may be practised.
I do not understand why the term “commodity” is so frightening. What the university tries to sell was always a commodity, and a commodity has to be marketable. That is, it either has to be attractive or convincing. We have to convince those who are interested in the commodity that our good, our commodity is useful. If one can sell football stars, I am sure one can also sell good science in a world where privatisation is going strong.
The findings of the workshop on Universities and Good Globalisation focused on defining globalisation as a process that, in one way or another, affects the independence or character of universities, and affects their ability to deal with the implications of globalisation. The workshop tried to propose measures to bolster the position of universities in this context.
Thus, globalisation was examined as part of a process of privatisation in which the traditional free stance for independent inquiry and research of the universities was assessed as a function of either the nation-state or of the market economy. These two separate influences were treated with some concern but the benefits of interaction with the nation-state or the market economy were also discussed.