For many years, the higher ed community has been discussing, both online and at its conferences, “internationalizing” campuses as a means to deepen the engagement and involvement of students -in the classroom and and via experiential learning – in global learning activities. That’s a bit of an overly simplistic introduction to an important meeting that has just taken place in South Africa.
Fanta Aw, NAFSAs (www.nafsa.org) current President, has just written a blog about the Nelson Mandela Bay Global Dialogue (http://www.nafsa.org/_/File/_/ieasa_2014.pdf) on the Future of Internationalization of Higher Education, which just took place in South Africa (http://blog.nafsa.org/2014/03/12/global-dialogue-on-the-future-of-higher-education-internationalization-a-call-for-action).
The world’s major international education organizations were at this meeting. That in itself is a significant event as it was an inclusive gathering of leaders from North and South nations/regions.
What I liked about Fanta’s blog was that it focused on the importance of global educators addressing the inequities of globalization and its direct impact on our work as international educators. As I’ve written here many times, the benefits of increased student mobility, as just one example, have not been spread democratically across world regions. She writes that one of the meeting’s “principal” objectives was to engage in “in-depth discussion about the power relationships that currently drive the world of higher education internationalization.”
One hopes this was not merely a declaration of good intentions and elegant prose.
Participants went on to agree on three pieces to a future agenda for the international education organizations:
- Enhancing aspects of quality and diversity in programs involving the mobility of students and academic and administrative staff.
- Increasing focus on the internationalization of the curriculum and of related learning outcomes.
- Gaining commitment on a global basis for the creation of equal and ethical higher education partnerships.
Let’s see what happens.