Thursday, April 8, 2010

Talk to the University of Los Andes - Santiago April 8 2010

Profesores, estudiantes, y otros inviados: Gracias por la invitacion a la Universidad de los Andes.
In the words of Pablo Neruda “desde el sonoro pedernal andino” hasta “el mar: fuego y frio: movimiento:” Chile is a magnificent country. It is almost impossible to imagine a country that has more dramatic vistas than you all enjoy here. I am looking forward to my own sightseeing. Chile has had a wonderful impact on my family. Your medical school and neuroscience scholars sponsored a conference last November in Santiago. My elder son who had just received his doctorate in neuroscience attended with a group of colleagues from the University of California San Francisco. He was so attracted to Chile that he spent three weeks hiking and touring. He hiked in the Torres del Paine which I understand is a challenge. He alerted me to the beauty and sophistication of Santiago and Chile.

I bring the greetings of our new President Morty Shapiro who has taken on the mantle of Northwestern’s leadership in the past 10 months. He is often called a student’s president. His dedication is to the teaching, research and service goals that are relevant to serving the objectives of our students.

With 30,000 students applying for only 2000 freshman places each year we have a saying. The old rule is that the faculty were not smart enough to be admitted to the graduate school. The graduate students were not smart enough to be admitted to the undergraduate school. Logically, the smartest people on campus are the 18 year old new students each year at Northwestern. Is that true here?

I want to summarize and talk about three ideas in the time available and with the important help of my translator.

By the way, my wife is fluent in Spanish but was unable to be here this trip.

1. First, The Wisconsin Idea of institutional and individual progressivism from one hundred years ago has a timely message for universities today.
2. Second, we can discuss the serious threats to all institutions such as government, business, religion, not-for-profits, NGOs and universities.
3. Third, I want to describe a new century post-theoretical role for the academic profession and professional practice of communications.

I am excited to be here to share these ideas with you. I will to ask for your feedback from a modern Chilean and world point of view.