The effects of globalization are increasingly making themselves felt throughout higher education as in all areas of human endeavour. In order to understand the dynamics of globalization and better define the challenges that it poses to universities in both rich and poor countries, seventeen higher education specialists were asked to contribute to this debate. The diversity of perspectives and wide range of themes presented here provide readers with an insight into the panorama of key questions and challenges facing higher education at the beginning of 2003. The result is a questioning of both the place of universities on the international scene and their social relevance in the knowledge-based world where innovation has become the driving force. As Hans van Ginkel argues, higher education is undergoing a Copernican change with the national state no longer the sole reference point for the development of universities. By opening up to a new global space, higher education witnesses the emergence of new players: regions, provinces, Lander international organizations, NGOs, enterprises, enterprise-universities and virtual universities. As their orbits intersect and are subject to the gravitational pull of these new systems, universities are forced to change their own trajectories. Contributors include David E. Bloom (Harvard University), Christopher W. Brooks (OECD), Jan Currie (Murdoch University, Australia), John Daniel (UNESCO), Michael Gibbons (Association of Commonwealth Universities), Hans van Ginkel (United Nations University, Tokyo), Jane Knight (University of Toronto), Goolam Mohamedbhai (University of Mauritius), Teboho Moja (University of New York), Bernard Pau (CNRS, Paris), Riccardo Petrella (Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium), Jamil Salmi (World Bank), Peter Scott (Kingston University, UK), Craig D. Swenson (Phoenix University), and François Tavenas (Université Laval).