Cornell faculty, leadership begin to tackle grand challenges

Wolford speaks at podium
Wendy Wolford, vice provost for international affairs and interim director of the Einaudi Center, kicks off the Global Grand Challenges Symposium. Photo by Jason Koski/Cornell Brand Communications. 

By Tom Fleischman  Blaine Friedlander  Susan Kelley  Krishna Ramanujan
Published in the Cornell Chronicle on November 14, 2018

As a pre-eminent research institution and New York’s land-grant university, Cornell is uniquely suited to tackle “grand challenges” like the ones discussed at the Nov. 8-9 Global Grand Challenges Symposium, according to Wendy Wolford, Cornell vice provost for international affairs.

President Martha E. Pollack, who kicked off the event, concurred.

“As a university, Cornell is both distinguished and distinctive,” she said. “We have a reputation and a presence that is global, with some of the best faculty and resources of any university anywhere.”

Today’s challenges “require a commitment to engagement, a drive to continue reaching out in a time when connecting across difference is more critical … than just about anything else,” Pollack said.

Wolford organized the symposium, at which panelists from across campus, plus keynote speakers from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the University of Notre Dame, laid out some of the most pressing issues of our times, as well as possible paths to solutions.

One of the goals of the symposium was to identify themes to be considered for Cornell’s Global Grand Challenge 2019-20, a yearlong dedication to a topic through new curricular, scholarly and engaged work across campus. The Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs will announce the selected grand challenge early next year.