Panel Discussion 7

Re-thinking Governance in Times of Uncertainty

Monday 2nd November, 2020

17:00-18:30 UAE Time


Panel Overview

The education sector globally is among the most adversely affected sector by COVID-19. The Pandemic has forced the closure of schools, colleges and universities for extended periods, and institutions have had to re-consider their educational models to ensure the health and safety of their community as well as the continuity of learning.

COVID-19 has disrupted the sector in many ways and acted as a rapid catalyst for transformation; putting universities management and governance structures and models under pressure and test.

Whilst, the pandemic may have brought along opportunities for long waited changes to the sectors; it has also raised many challenges for universities, and many decisions for their governors and senior management to be taken. The financial stability of the university will remain one of the major factors underpinning these kinds of decisions.

COVID-19 has certainly taught the HE sector that it must be agile and adapt to unprecedented rapid change to ensure it continues to be relevant. HEIs need to build resilience to meet the evolving demands of the new normal. Institution of higher learning will more than ever need to meaningfully engage with its various stakeholders including society, governments, health sector, industry to help prepare a more resilient society.

The pandemic has forced us in many ways to reflect on the nature and effectiveness of our institutional governance systems and structure both at the system and institutional levels. While institutions continue to navigate through these times of uncertainty, many may need to make changes to the decision-making process to ensure it reflects the current challenges. This panel aims at highlighting how the pandemic has affected governance and management arrangements and what it will take form universities governors and senior managers to ensure they establish sound, responsive, shared governance structures for an unprecedented time.

Very specifically the panel aims at:

  1. Highlighting the range of challenges raised by COVID-19 for governance at both the system and institutional level both during and post- COVID-19
  2. Identifying the characteristics what constitutes a responsive model of governance that enables HEIs to be agile and confront an unprecedented situation and so much uncertainty
  3. Discussing new ways of re-thinking governance in times of uncertainties- strategies and practical models
  4. Sharing examples of how universities governance has adapted to COVID-19 and the sort of measure they have taken to both address the current situation and plans the future

Panel Chair

Prof. Mohamed Zairi

Emeritus Professor, University of Bradford, UK and Senior Advisor, Prime Minister's Office, UAE Government, UAE

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Mr. Henry Stoever

President and CEO, The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), USA

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Dr. Mohamed Lachemi

President and Vice Chancellor, Ryerson University, Canada

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Prof. Ahmed Bawa

CEO, Universities South Africa.

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Prof. Riyad Y Hamzah

President, University of Bahrain, Bahrain

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Who should attend?

  • Members of governing boards
  • University Senior Administrators including University Presidents, Vice Presidents, Provosts, Vice Chancellors, etc. including those leading internationalization agenda within their institutions
  • Education Policy and Decision Makers and Government Representatives
  • Funding organizations and agencies
  • Representatives from students' recruitment organizations


Registration in the Panel Discussion is free and open to anyone from the higher education community wherever located. However, there is a maximum capacity to the session and slots will be allocated based on ‘first come first served’; hence we recommend early registration. Kindly note that shall you be unable to join the session, an email to should be sent to cancel your registration and enable other colleagues to join.

The Center may reserve the right to limit the number of registrations from the same institution to provide the opportunity to other institutions to join or to prioritize registrations from among the target audience.