Universities and the Great Game

At the reception and dinner following his lecture, Lord Patten of Barnes made some gracious remarks about the character of our university and its financial health. About the former, he referred to Notre Dame as

another great university, a university which has, despite some of the pressures of the modern world and contemporary politics of every sort, managed still to provide a Catholic education in the most serious, enduring, value-laden sense.

There are other examples of this kind of education in Europe as well, as Lord Patten may well know. Like many other higher educational institutions these days, in the US as well as Europe, these universities are facing significant financial challenges. Lord Patten expressed a wish then to return to Notre Dame not only in a scholarly capacity, but to understand better

this extraordinarily exotic game in which you’ve excelled over the years, drawing on I guess your Irish roots, in order to play a great game with perhaps more civility but no less success than others.

The allusion to the Great Game in central Asia was not lost on his listeners. There was a clear sense in Lord Patten’s lecture earlier that evening that strategies for  dealing with the world’s evolving distribution of power must include serious a consideration India and China — again, it seems.

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