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Message from the Office of the President: Wuri Global Ranking

Message from the Office of the President: Wuri Global Ranking

Dear Members of the Franklin Community, 

On behalf of Franklin University Switzerland, and the Taylor Institute, I am deeply honored to be part of today’s event, and I would like to acknowledge my university’s gratitude to Founding President Pijlman of the Hanseatic League, President Cho, and Prof. Moon for all that they have done to make this event a success and for working with us at Franklin.

I speak today on behalf of Franklin University Switzerland as we celebrate our 50thanniversary this year. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the Franklin trustees, alumni, faculty, staff, and students who may have Zoomed in to join this event. I would also like to acknowledge the Chair of our Board of Trustees and of the Fondazione Franklin Switzerland, Mr. Kim Hildebrant, who is with us today, and Dean Carlo Giardinetti, Director of the Taylor Institute. Speaking for all of Franklin University Switzerland, quite simply, we are especially honored to participate in an event that is at the core of what we believe any university or institute of higher education should be about: value and values. 

The two go together, and particularly important is that the values that are at the heart of the WURI rankings, like innovation, social responsibility, ethics, and integrity, student mobility and openness for exchange and collaboration, are also fundamental to us at Franklin University Switzerland.

These are values that create value. The traditional definition of a university is an institution that generates and preserves knowledge (research) and a place that produces generations of educated individuals. Universities produce knowledge and people. Both are fundamental. You cannot have one without the other, but both products, research and educated graduates, must have impact.

Traditional university rankings are able to measure both of these two fundamental components quite well, but traditional metrics have not been as successful at measuring the qualitative aspect – the impact, exactly what the WURI rankings are seeking to capture.A single idea, a single article, a single speech, even a single word, can change the world. A single student can change the world. In this regard the smallest institution can have as much impact as the largest, as much impact as the best funded, as much impact as the most famous institutions.

Franklin, and its business research/education arm, the Taylor Institute, would rank among the smallest in size, but we believe that we pack a much bigger wallop, if I can use an American colloquialism. Our size allows us to adapt and innovate, and our values are about social responsibility, openness, and global impact. Our student body is global. Our mission is quite explicit. Based on the Franklin mission, the Taylor Institute’s vision statement says: “We create leaders who are responsible, compassionate, and collaborative.” In other words, ethical leaders who are committed to creating a better world. 

A good example, among the initiatives we have submitted for this ranking, is an initiative that was born thanks to a partnership with the United Nations: Climate Action. There is a second initiative created in collaboration with the city of Lugano and its Lugano Living Lab; the goal is to create impact within a community that is part of our university ecosystem.

The value that I would like to highlight today, in this context, as I connect digitally to friends and colleagues around the globe, is a simple one, COLLABORATION. Today’s event is a great example of what collaboration can achieve. Franklin is small, but we flourish because we collaborate. We understand that we cannot achieve our ambitions without partnerships, without friends. Franklin is a hybrid organization. We use an Anglo-American educational model grounded in the liberal arts, but we are not an American institution. We are Swiss. We are accredited as a university in both the US and Switzerland. We are owned and operated by both a Swiss Foundation and an American Board of Trustees. We are an international university that aspires to what I would argue are Swiss values: collaboration through civil discourse, civic responsibility, and global concern. In fact the Taylor Institute’s vision statement is quite explicit on this: “We also embrace the values of Switzerland: civil discourse and sustainable solutions for future peace and prosperity.”

We go on to say: “The Taylor Institute places high value on global collaboration, and as a research platform welcomes partnerships from some of the world’s leading researchers as well as prominent academic institutions around the globe.”

Switzerland is our model, a country of four languages (at the heart of a sometimes contentious continent) that leads through example and a genuine concern for the world order. These are values to which we aspire at Franklin, and today’s event is a fundamental example of what can be achieved through global collaboration. I applaud the WURI rankings in the knowledge and hope that this will be an important step forward.


Greg Warden

Message from the Office of the President: WURI Global Ranking
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