Chancellor Block shares ideas about higher education and cities with other experts at Milken Institute Global Conference

Civic EngagementGlobal Outreach

As the world emerges from the COVID-19 crisis and faces new realities, colleges and universities will play a role in shaping the future — both through the work of researchers and scholars studying pressing societal issues, and because institutions of higher education will be able to serve even greater numbers of learners.

That was a unifying idea discussed by some of the experts brought together by the Milken Institute at its Global Conference, which was held in Beverly Hills Oct. 17–20. The 24th edition of the conference convened thousands of leaders from government, health care, finance, technology, philanthropy, media and higher education to tackle urgent global economic and social issues.

Building on the conference’s theme of “Charting a New Course,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block joined several discussions with the aim of sharing lessons learned from recent social movements and the global pandemic to reimagine a more prosperous future for all.

The first conversation Block participated in on Oct. 18 focused on the future of cities and also featured Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; Stephen Benjamin, mayor of Columbia, South Carolina; Annie Donovan, executive vice president and COO, Local Initiatives Support Corporation; and moderator Lois Scott, president, Epoch Advisors.

“Cities keep growing and they keep thriving, but they’re changing. We’re seeing from the pandemic something that we refer to as ‘social scarring,’ or deep psychological impact that’s not going away quickly,” said Block, who shared research from UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs about the evolution of cities. “It’s changing people’s behavior and how they feel about density.”

Read more on UCLA Newsroom.