JUNE 3-4, 2022

Event Information

Keynote Speaker

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Event Information:

Click here to view our preliminary agenda

June 3, 2022 – Venue: Athenaeum, Soka University of America (all times PDT).

12:00PM – Leadership Lunch – for Presidents and CAOs
1:30PM – Campus tour of SUA (open to all)
2:30PM – Registration and Networking
3:15PM – Welcome and Conference overview (Bryan Penprase and Thomas Schneider)
3:30PM – Session 1 (in-person; can provide Zoom access) – Introduction to our PALAC institutions and their unique approaches to Liberal Arts (3×20-minute presentations by 3 institutions attending in person)


  • Michael Weiner, VPAA, Soka University of America
  • Laura Behling, Provost, University of Puget Sound
  • Bob Gaines, Dean of Faculty and VPAA, Pomona College

4:30PM – Break
4:45PM – Session 2 (in-person; can provide Zoom access – More Introduction to our PALAC institutions (additional 3×20-minute presentations by 3 institutions attending in person)

  • Jeff Warren, Vice President Academic and George Iwama, President, Quest University Canada
  • Scott MacEachern, Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Duke Kunshan University
  • Tran Vinh Linh, Acting Dean, Fulbright University Vietnam

5:45PM – Break

6:00PM – Dinner (Atheneum Dining Room)

7:00PM – Session 3 (in-person + Zoom) – Welcome and introduction talks to evening session (welcomes from SUA and PALAC for both in-person and Zoom attendees)
7:15PM – Plenary Keynote Talk – John Sexton – President Emeritus, NYU, “A Twenty-First Century Case for a Liberal Arts Education. “
8:15PM – Keynote talk – Gabi Starr, President, President, Pomona College – Title TBD
8:30PM – Break
8:45PM – Session 4 (in-person + Zoom) – Introduction to Working Groups
9:00PM – Working Group 1 Framing talks – Global Climate Change and Liberal Arts – Education and Research

Speakers Needed – Overview of ideas for PALAC projects

9:30PM – Introduction to PALAC institutions by Zoom (NYU Shanghai, HKBU, UIC)

  • Adrian John Bailey, Associate Vice President (International), United International College
  • Joanna Waley-Cohen, Provost, NYU Shanghai
  • Alison E Lloyd, Associate Vice President, Hong Kong Baptist University

10:30 PM – Adjourn

June 4, 2022 Venue: Athenaeum, Soka University of America (all times PDT).

10:00PM – Informal discussion (optional; will meet at Athenaeum to discuss in wide-ranging way about the future of Liberal Arts as a group with John Sexton).
12:00PM – Lunch
1:00PM – Working Group Discussion – New Projects for PALAC – Global Citizenship, SDG research
Speakers – Special Topics for PALAC (in-person contributed talks):


• “Zooming to Indonesia: Cultural Exchange without Study,” Gareth Barkin, University of Puget Sound
• Second Talk TBD
• Third Talk TBD

2:00PM – Break
2:15PM – Working Group meeting
3:30PM – Session 4 (in-person + Zoom) – Report Out from Working Groups
4:30PM – Discussion
5:00PM – Adjourn

Click here to download the agenda.

In this inaugural PALAC meeting, teams of representatives from our PALAC institutions will discuss global citizenship and plans for new collaborations to build liberal arts globally in ways that can connect peoples and cultures and help us better connect the world in deeper intercultural understanding. Our PALAC institutions include 10 of the best liberal arts programs in the world, including programs in Canada, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam and the USA. Together we can plan programs and courses that help our students navigate and shape the world of the future, and make it more peaceful and sustainable.

The PALAC planning and launch meeting will be a working meeting where our institutions collectively can articulate the goals of liberal arts in the present time. This time is an inflection point for global civilization which hopefully our higher educational institutions can help us navigate.

The meeting will include an in-person component where representatives from the PALAC institutions will get to know each other and plan projects for future collaboration that leverage the unique strengths of our PALAC alliance, and which collectively give us a greater capacity for research and teaching on the most urgent problems facing our world.

The structure of the meeting will include a workshop led by John Sexton, President-Emeritus of NYU, who will lead us in a discussion about the meaning of global citizenship within what appears to be an inflection point for civilization. John is also the author of Standing for Reason: The University in a Dogmatic Age, and will share some of his perspectives on higher education and global liberal arts. Some of the questions we will discuss in this session will include: How can we and our institutions help students navigate and lead in the future during a time of rapid change, disinformation, and socioeconomic polarization? We will hear from John Sexton and several of our PALAC members about these topics, and then meet for further intensive discussions to help articulate how our liberal arts institutions can advance global citizenship and global liberal arts.

The PALAC meeting will also offer an online option for those who would like to attend via Zoom. We will time the synchronous and plenary sessions to include working hours in Asia to make it more likely to include PALAC members in Hong Kong, China and Vietnam.

Our meeting will be structured in a way where working groups will conduct discussions on the main projects that PALAC can work on in the coming year. These include:

  • PALAC external communications committee. This group will work together to plan future activities to help articulate a vision of global liberal arts that builds on the new initiatives from PALAC.
  • PALAC leadership initiatives. This group will work to discuss possible faculty and administrator exchanges between PALAC institutions, such as a “Fellows Program” which could exchange colleagues with needed expertise on a partner campus for visits to work on a project or for a semester of exchange.
  • Working group for global dialogs on liberal arts and global issues. This group will meet and offer several online discussions for faculty at our institutions to discuss global liberal arts, and other issues that are relevant to all of our institutions that can engage faculty and others from our campuses.
  • Working group for collaborative research on global climate change. This group will meet to discuss ways we can collaborate in bringing faculty and students together to offer courses and conduct research on global climate issues.
  • Working group for shared intellectual property and digital resources. This group will discuss ways we can share digital resources of all kinds – electronic resources, journals, digitized collections of various types – and perhaps even develop some new online journal(s) developed by the group.

Please click here to RSVP, and if you have any questions please contact either Janna Skye at or Bryan Penprase at

For more information on PALAC – please take a look around our new website:

Thanks and we look forward to seeing you at our PALAC meeting at Soka University, June 3-4, 2022!

Click here to view Travel Information

We have reserved a block of hotel rooms here in Aliso Viejo at the Hilton Homewood Suites hotel, which has a discounted rate of $189 per night for conference attendees. To reserve your rooms with the discounted conference rate, please use the booking link here – or use the Group code of CHWSKA with the hotel.

Our closest airport is Santa Ana airport (SNA) which is just 15 minutes from Soka University of America. International flights will most likely land in Los Angeles International (LAX) which is about an hour from campus. For more information on travel arrangements, you can contact Janna Skye at SUA (, who will be helping us with organizing the meeting.

Keynote speaker: John Sexton

President Emeritus, New York University
Dean Emeritus
Benjamin F. Butler Professor of Law

John Sexton is President Emeritus of New York University, the Dean Emeritus of NYU Law School, and the Benjamin Butler Professor of Law. He joined the Law School faculty in 1981, was named the School’s Dean in 1988; he served in this capacity for fourteen years. He was named the University’s President in 2001, and served in that capacity until January 1, 2016.