When we launched Humanities Writ Large last year, we set as our starting premise that we recognize the need for citizens and leaders to be able to obtain knowledge, to analyze it, and to think and act collaboratively in innovative ways to address growing interdisciplinary and global challenges. The humanities are vital to providing the training and skills necessary to understand cultural similarities and differences, to sift through the daily fire hose of incoming information, and to make the imaginative leaps in research, scholarship, business, and policy to address the very many complex issues arising around us in our global world.
It was tremendously satisfying to listen last week as David M. Rubenstein, a Co-Founder and Managing Director of The Carlyle Group, one of the world's largest private equity firms – not to mention a Vice Chair of the Duke Board of Trustees – talked in his Duke Founders’ Day speech about these very same needs.
"Duke needs to make certain it continues to educate its students not just in how to be ready to do well on GMATs, MCATs and LSATs, or to achieve traditional professional success. Rather, Duke needs to make certain it educates its students in how they need to think for themselves, how to reason, how to adapt to a changing world, how to communicate effectively, how to solve problems, how to lead, how to innovate and create, and how to improve their community, country and world. As part of this teaching effort, Duke needs to give its students the burning desire to actually do all of these things, thereby resulting in Duke's students playing a key role in changing the world and making it a better place for all. This is what a great education -- a Duke education -- needs to be. These are the essential qualities that Duke's graduates need to lead productive, meaningful and fulfilling 21st Century lives."
You can read, or watch, Mr. Rubenstein’s entire speech on DukeToday. http://today.duke.edu/2012/09/rubensteinfounders-1