It is my great pleasure to invite you to the QS Subject Focus Summit entitled “Embracing Innovation for Constructive Global Engagement: The Role of the Humanities and Social Sciences,” which will be held at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, Italy, from August 29 to August 31, 2018. The event is jointly organized by QS Asia and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.
Venice has been an international crossroads characterized by cultural and commercial exchange for over a millennium, and as one of the terminuses of the ancient Silk Road, it has a long and rich history of contact and interaction with Asia. Today, this heritage lives on at Ca’ Foscari University, a center of excellence in the study of languages and cultures from around the globe that is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. QS has acknowledged the quality of Ca’ Foscari’s research and teaching by ranking the university among the world’s 150 best for the study of Modern Languages and the top 200 for History. In addition, Ca’ Foscari made a leap of over 70 positions in the 2018 rankings for the broader field of the arts and humanities and that of management and the social sciences.
As a research institution, Ca’ Foscari places a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary scholarship, especially on the interaction between the humanities and the sciences. This is particularly evident in our Research for Global Challenges program, an initiative that has activated six research teams uniting scholars from different fields to tackle the challenges of our modern world and ranges from the study of the science of complex economic, human and natural systems to the investigation of the interconnection of the digital humanities with the creative arts and cultural heritage. We also strongly believe in the importance of better understanding the complex human dynamics of our increasingly globalized world, which we investigate with a particular focus on cultural pluralism at our International Center for the Humanities and Social Change by working in cooperation with the International Foundation for the Humanities and Social Change and its three other research centers at renowned universities in Germany, the UK, and the US. In the same spirit, we are in the process of launching our Marco Polo Center to intensify cultural relations and exchange between Ca’ Foscari, Asian universities and institutions, and the city of Venice.
Our summit this summer will discuss and elaborate responses to three principal questions in connection with the humanities and social sciences. We will begin by asking how we go about seeking and measuring excellence in the research carried out in these areas. Then we will investigate how the matter of communication comes into play in the success and impact of humanities and social sciences research. And, last but not least, we will consider how big data figure into, and potentially shape, this academic research. Our discussion will reflect upon these issues both from a global perspective and by focusing in on a more specific context, that of the Silk Road nations.
Your participation will help ensure that the summit proves both stimulating and productive.
Ca’ Foscari looks forward to welcoming you to Venice this August.
Prof. Michele Bugliesi