Speech: University Global Partnership Network (UGPN) Conference, 11 April 2018

Closing remarks

Good morning!

It’s a pleasure to join you again today, as this conference draws to a close.

Remember my Top 10 List, two days ago when you arrived?

It is just possible that we have inched a little closer to solving some of those problems, by our efforts here. Think back on how stark and insurmountable these problems sounded when I read them out in a list. Where to begin? Why even bother?

Now consider how different those intractable problems seem after two days of discussion, learning, and sharing ideas and inspiration. Everything seems possible now, because we have reached out to each other. In this nexus lies an unusual energy that not only finds solutions, but brings them within our grasp. Collaboration is surprisingly powerful.

And so I have assembled a shorter list: my Top 2 Principles of Collaboration, which I shall share with you now:

  1. ‘The secret is to gang up on the problem, rather than on each other.’ [1]


  1. “Cooperation is the thorough conviction that nobody can get there, unless everybody gets there.” [2]

You can feel free to share those; I don’t own the copyright!

As you well know, the UGPN sets out to create a foundation for international collaboration enabling academics and students from some of the world’s top universities to work together on issues of global importance.

We are also some of the most innovative universities in the world, in the way we are fully committed to reaching across traditional boundaries to connect industry and academia, research and application, the Sciences and the Humanities, the university and the world. This should not be underestimated. It would be easy to continue down well-trodden paths, and congratulate ourselves at the end of them – but we must blaze new paths, make the unexpected connections, form the unconventional partnerships.

You leave Surrey today with renewed inspiration. What’s next? Truly, the sky is the limit.

And now I hope you will excuse me, as I have the great pleasure of officiating at graduation and celebrating the next wave of young people who will change the world.

Thank you.

[1] Thomas Stallkamp

[2] Virginia Burden