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Today, many higher education leaders in the United States and Europe bemoan the erosion of the humanities. With the rising cost of university degrees and concerns about unemployment, many students are more confident enrolling in STEM degrees and believe that technical skills are more likely to secure employment opportunities in the future. Advocates of the humanities argue that a liberal arts degree equips individuals with a unique set of skills that are particularly valued by employers: critical thinking, creativity, communication and problem-solving skills. In a context where the crucial role of the humanities is often under-recognized and under-valued, what can be done to highlight the positive impact of liberal arts education? How can the value of a humanities degree be measured and demonstrated? Can researchers and professors in the humanities play a role in highlighting the critical contribution of their disciplines in shaping engaged citizens, committed to social justice and democracy?
Amy Hungerford is Executive Vice President for Arts and Sciences and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University. She specializes in 20th- and 21st-century American literature, especially the period since 1945.
Prof. Hungerford’s undergraduate teaching is known worldwide through her popular, and free, online course, “The American Novel Since 1945.” In the graduate program, she teaches regular seminars on 20th and 21st century literature, criticism, and book history, and convenes a dissertation workshop for students studying late-19th to 21st century American, British, and world Anglophone literature. Since 2009, Prof. Hungerford has been teaching at the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College in Vermont in the summertime; Bread Loaf offers a Master of Arts program mainly serving secondary school English teachers.
Prof. Hungerford is a founder of Post45 (a professional association for scholars working in post-45 literary and cultural studies), and served on the group’s board from 2006 to 2015. She co-founded and remains site editor of post45.org, an open-access journal publishing a curated stream of peer reviewed and general interest work in the field. Working with Prof. Andrew Piper of McGill University, she is collaborating to launch a companion open-access journal called CA: A Journal of Cultural Analytics.
Pedro Cunha is Program Director at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, where he leads the Gulbenkian Academies for Knowledge, a national network of 100 programs for SEL in schools and community settings.
Pedro holds a Degree, Masters and Ph.D (ongoing) in Psychology of Education. He started his career as a school psychologist, and as coordinator of social innovation programs on substance abuse, community development and social exclusion. He was Program Director and Head of Education at the Aga Khan Foundation Portugal and taught at Teachers College.
Pedro served as Deputy Director-General for Education in four governments (2010-2017), where he was responsible for school improvement, ECEC, Early School Leaving, Health and Wellbeing, Inclusive Education, Curricula Enrichment, Psychology and support services. He acted as National Commissioner for the Rights of the Child and for Early Intervention and worked as expert at the European Commission, UN, UNICEF and the OECD.
Dominic Regester joined Salzburg Global Seminar as a program director in March 2017. He is responsible for designing, developing and implementing programs on education, conservation, and the future of cities. Prior to this he worked for the British Council for 14 years, primarily on projects connected to global citizenship education, teacher professional development, education collaboration and internationalism in education. He has an M.A. in Chinese studies from the School of Oriental and African studies in London and an M.A. in education and international development from University College London Institute of Education. Dominic is a founding member of the Executive Committee for Karanga - The Global Alliance for Social Emotional Learning and Life Skills and the co-editor of two new books Education Disrupted, Education Reimagined: Thoughts and Responses from Education’s Frontline During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond (2020) and Social and Emotional Learning across the Mediterranean: Cross Cultural Perspectives and Approaches (2020)
Emmanuel Kattan is Director of the Alliance Program. He was previously Director of the British Council in New York, where he oversaw academic collaboration programs. He created partnerships with the Henry Luce Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation to launch initiatives connecting higher education institutions across the Atlantic. Before joining the British Council, Emmanuel was Senior Adviser at the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, where he managed strategic communications and engagement with academic communities. He also held senior positions at the Commonwealth Secretariat and at the Quebec Delegation in London, where he was in charge of academic relations programs. A native of Montreal, Emmanuel studied politics at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar and earned a PhD from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He is the author of five books: an essay on the politics of memory and four novels.