‘Building Intellectual and Social Capital Through Diversity and Innovation’ focus of Syracuse University Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor speech
‘Building Intellectual and Social Capital Through Diversity and Innovation’ focus of Syracuse University Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor speechJune 09, 2006Kevin Morrowkdmorrow@syr.edu
America has a unique opportunity to increase its competitiveness in the global marketplace by bolstering educational opportunities for the country?s quickly growing, diverse talent pool in inner-city schools; supporting women and minority entrepreneurs; building collaborations for innovation; and learning to invest in each other, according to Syracuse University Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor.
Cantor spoke today at The City Club of Cleveland as an invited guest of the 2006 KeyBank Diversity Thought Leadership Series.
Founded in 1912, The City Club is the oldest continuous free speech forum in the country. Past speakers include Presidents William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter; Archbishop Desmond Tutu; sociologist, author and civil rights leader W.E.B. Du Bois; labor leader Cesar Chavez; and anthropologist Margaret Mead. The City Club’s speaker series is broadcast on a network of 200 radio stations in 28 states.
In her speech titled “Building Intellectual and Social Capital Through Diversity and Innovation,” Cantor cited the spirit of innovation that built the Erie Canal and shared several examples of modern-day community collaboration and investment successes both in Cleveland and Syracuse, N.Y.
Cantor laid out a vision for how America can address the global competitive challenges we face by drawing on the strength of our diversity and penchant for innovation that has differentiated us in the past.
On preparing America’s fastest-growing population segment to become the science, technology, engineering and mathematics workforce of the future, Cantor said:
“We have an untapped differentiation lever and it is our multidimensional diversity–over the history of our economy, we’ve built innovation by educating and engaging a very broad mix of people. We need to do it again…Almost half of America’s children aged five or under belong to a racial or ethnic minority…Yet despite the future competitiveness lever these children represent, we are failing to educate them…Clearly, we need greater federal, state, and local investment in our high-poverty, racially isolated schools…There is a striking lack of knowledge about the course preparation required to attend college, and about the resources, both financial and educational, available to plan for college… There needs to be more public dialogue about K-12-higher education linkages.”
On investing in our communities:
“As we collaborate to engage the untapped talent of the children in our cities and communities across the nation, let us not forget to invest in women, and in adults of color–often the parents of these children–who represent another largely unrecognized and untapped resource and competitive opportunity. Clearly, there is a great need for entrepreneurial development among women and racial and ethnic minority groups in our communities.”
On pursuing innovation that matters:
“To take a lesson from the global corporations that are succeeding in innovation that matters, we cannot organize ourselves in business-as-usual silos–the problems are too big and complex and the competition too fierce to do it alone. Instead, we need to mobilize what I will call entrepreneurial SWAT teams–built on collaborations across sectors with diverse `communities of experts’ sharing intellectual property and capital to find solutions and effect change…We need to let innovation flourish by making the most of our multidimensional diversity, and personal and market freedoms, and to do that we need to lower the barriers to collaboration and encourage a nimble, flexible organizational structure for attacking problems and finding solutions.”
On building intellectual and social capital for the future:
“At the end of the day, our cities and our people will succeed if we invest in each other…The key to success, whether it is in Syracuse or Cleveland, will be if we learn to speak to each other–black, brown, and white; university and business; Christian, Jewish, and Muslim–it doesn’t matter what the divide is, it matters whether we are willing to invest together.”
The full text of Cantor’s City Club of Cleveland address is available on the Web at http://www.syr.edu/chancellor/speeches/index.html.