While the U.S. may not play the same role in the future as it has in the past, the world will still need American leadership and ideas, and it’s up to universities like UGA to prepare students to lead the way, Gary Bertsch said at the 2010 Founders’ Day Lecture on Jan. 27 at the Chapel.
“My experience in higher education makes it clear to me that a university’s central role is to ensure that our youth, ‘the rising hope of our land,’ are prepared to understand—and contribute to—their world,” said Bertsch, founding director and professor emeritus of the Center for International Trade and Security at UGA. “We should demonstrate to our students the value of thinking beyond the present. We can inspire them to do what is necessary to rebuild our economy and contribute to a Georgia and an America that will make our founders proud.”
The lecture, presented annually by the UGA Alumni Association and Emeriti Scholars, is part of the university’s commemoration of the 225th anniversary of its charter this year. In it, Bertsch called for students to commit themselves to public service to work more effectively in an increasingly connected world.
“In order to serve effectively today, students must understand different cultures, appreciate different view points and communicate in different languages. We need to help our students function and succeed as global citizens and public servants, whether they become diplomats, doctors or dancers,” he said. “Values, science, technology and knowledge will play critical roles in the 21st century. . . . Let us help our students understand that much more can be accomplished through constructive collaboration than can be through partisan posturing.”