More than 500 #SpidersAbroad are roving the globe this summer, but today we’re excited to highlight President Crutcher’s trip to Italy, where he’s addressing education leaders from around the world.

President Crutcher is addressing the opening plenary session at the Council of Europe’s Global Forum on “Higher Education for Diversity, Social Inclusion, and Community: A Democratic Imperative,” held at LUMSA University in Rome. The conference features representatives of higher education, public authorities, and NGOs from Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

Crutcher’s remarks will provide a brief history of how critical an educated electorate is to democratic societies and will affirm America’s commitment to education.

We’re excited for international leaders to meet Dr. Crutcher and listen to his important thoughts on how access to education helps fuel a thriving democratic society. Dr. Crutcher is an incredible advocate for these issues, and we’re glad that UR gets to share his perspective with a global audience.

Throughout his career, Crutcher has promoted access, affordability, and inclusivity. He writes and speaks widely on the democratic purposes and civic mission of higher education. Under his leadership, UR recently joined 30 of the country’s most respected colleges and universities as charter members of the American Talent Initiative with the goal to increase socioeconomic diversity in higher education. 

“We must do a better job providing access and opportunity to these students from diverse backgrounds,” President Crutcher said. “Our democracies cannot flourish when education is the privilege of the few.”

Crutcher is also concerned about whether we, in political dialogue or on campuses, may lack the capacity to disagree.

“Vigorous disagreement and the contest of ideas are central to higher education,” President Crutcher said. “And so I retain an optimistic view of the role that higher education can play in extending this embrace of new perspectives, and the centrality of contested ideas, to the proper functioning of our democracies.”

You can bet we’ll be watching the word from Italy this week. Thank you, Dr. Crutcher, for being an excellent ambassador to the world for the Spiders!