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Have universities lost sight of their purpose? The Princeton-Fung Global Forum – Paris, April 2014: a review

Tom P. Abeles (Editor – On The Horizon, Sagacity, Minneapolis, MN, USA)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 27 August 2014




The purpose of this review is to challenge the view that universities, particularly medallion institutions, have the prerogative to repurpose or interpret funds received without accepting responsibility to provide value.


This is a review article discussing issues raised in the 2014 Global Forum in Paris.


Citing this “Forum” and the open literature, it is evident that as more money is made available through new donors, maintaining oversight on how such funds are used can become problematic. Rather, it is suggested that donors become more involved and responsible rather than participating passively and accepting the “wisdom” of the recipients.

Social implications

The world is becoming more dynamic, implying that ideas and funds committed in the beginning need careful and ongoing assessment. Many new donors lack the experience of older organizations, both funders and funded, and may have a proclivity to default to decisions of others. “There be Dragons Here”.


Recipients of funds, particularly the institutions of higher education have a tendency to see the world through the eyes of their expertise. In the past, most parties have deferred to such “authority” which is proving to be more tenuous in an evolving and changing global world. Care needs to be exercised using criteria that needs to be dynamic and one that is still evolving.



P. Abeles, T. (2014), "Have universities lost sight of their purpose? The Princeton-Fung Global Forum – Paris, April 2014: a review", On the Horizon, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 218-220.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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