The Rise of China in the World of Universities in the 21st Century

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. William C. Kirby, Harvard University

Germany led the world of universities in the 19th century. American universities set global standards in the 20th century. What, then, are the prospects for Chinese leadership in global higher education in the 21st century? We will learn from the experiences of multiple universities on three continents—including that of the Freie Universität Berlin—what makes, and breaks, potentially great universities and systems of higher learning. The talk is based on Professor Kirby’s forthcoming book, The World of Universities in the 21st Century.

William C. Kirby is Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies at Harvard University. He is a University Distinguished Service Professor and serves as Chairman of the Harvard China Fund and Faculty Chair of the Harvard Center Shanghai. Professor Kirby holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and (Dr. Phil. Honoris Causa) from the Freie Universität Berlin and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. A historian of modern China, his work examines China’s business, economic, and political development in an international context. Professor Kirby’s current projects include case studies of contemporary Chinese businesses and the comparative study of higher education in China, Europe, and the United States. Selected publications include The World of Universities in the 21st Century (forthcoming), Can China Lead? Reaching the Limits of Power and Growth (2014), and The People’s Republic of China at 60 – An International Assessment (2011).

The event will take place on Monday, December 14, 2020, 18.15 h and will be virtually hosted via Cisco WebEx phone and video conference. Registration for the talk is required in order to receive the online access data for the event. For registration, please send an e-mail to:

14. Dezember 2020, 18.15 Uhr