Image of statement on higher ed and AIResearch for the statement, “Higher education’s essential role in preparing humanity for the artificial intelligence revolution,” was conducted by faculty and staff of Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center in June 2023.

Drawing themes and perspectives from 15 different reports on AI and education produced by government and United Nations agencies, the first draft was approved by lead authors Connie Ledoux Book, president of Elon University; Lee Rainie, Elon scholar-in-residence and recently retired head of internet and technology research for the Pew Research Center; and Divina Frau-Meigs, professor at Sorbonne Nouvelle University and UNESCO chair Savoir Devenir in sustainable digital development.

In a collaborative process in July 2023, the draft was shared with a group of nearly 200 higher education leaders and scholars, many with particular interest and expertise in digital technologies and artificial intelligence. Among these first collaborators on the statement were longstanding participants in the Imagining the Internet/Pew Research expert surveys on technology issues, faculty members and scholars associated with global academic associations and working groups on AI, and regular participants in the annual United Nations Internet Governance Forums.

After receiving feedback and suggestions from the first group of reviewers, the statement was shared in August 2023 with more than 700 higher education leaders, who were invited to become signatories prior to the October release event at the Internet Governance Forum.

Release of the statement at IGF 2023

IGF launch event photoThe 8,800 participants (in-person and remote) in the 18th annual United Nations Internet Governance Forum were invited to attend a special launch event for the statement during the conference’s first day. Lead authors Book, Rainie and Frau-Meigs were joined by six additional presenters who discussed the statement’s principles and other issues related to artificial intelligence and higher education.

The release of the statement aligned with the IGF Theme related to AI and emerging technologies. The IGF launch event generated additional signatures of support and the statement’s webpage remains open for additional signatures as the statement is distributed more widely.

Next steps

The statement and this website are being shared with higher education leaders through email, presentations, news media and via higher education associations. The goal is to raise awareness of the principles and to provide a resource for colleges and universities that are developing AI policies and practices.

We invite educators to implement the principles in ways that fit with their unique institutional mission and values. The lead authors invite collaborations and ideas to amplify the reach and impact of the statement. Please send your ideas and continue the conversation with President Book, Mr. Rainie and Dr. Frau-Meigs, by contacting Daniel J. Anderson, special assistant to the president, at