International Association of Universities

Building a worldwide higher education community

Re-thinking internationalization


Re-thinking internationalization

IAU International Ad-hoc Expert Group on Re-thinking Internationalization (The Ad-hoc Group)

Bringing together a growing number of scholars and practitioners who are questioning the current developments in internationalization, the Ad-hoc Group builds on the lively discussion that took place during the 4th IAU Global Meeting of Associations in Delhi, India, in April, 2011 and poses a number of conceptual questions:

  • Is the concept and the definition of internationalization keeping up with developments in higher education?

  • Is there a shared understanding of the concept?

  • Has internationalization lost sight of its central purposes?

IAU is posing these and other questions in a reflection directly in line with the findings of the 3rd Global Survey on Internationalization.

The Survey clearly points out the differences in why internationalization is pursued in different parts of the world and how it impacts on various institutions in vastly diverse contexts. Furthermore, this initiative is a natural sequel to past normative efforts of the Association, such as the Policy Statement and Declaration and Checklist for Good Practice.

The Ad-hoc Group brings together perspectives from all parts of the world inter alia to: assess the extent to which internationalization activities fit the current conceptual umbrella, to critically examine the causes that are leading to some questioning and even criticism of the concept and to investigate the ways to address these concerns. The Group has met for the first time 'virtually' in July 2011. The Agenda lists the main questions and issues that were covered.

The Notes, prepared by IAU following this first meeting, summarize what was actually a wide ranging beginning to a rich discussion. IAU and all the members of the Group are committed to continue this discussion and move forward in concrete ways in an effort to reposition/reinvent internationalization as a valuable and transformative process of change in higher education in the current context.

For example in April 2012 the IAU published - Affirming Academic Values in Internationalization of Higher Education: A Call for Action

This new IAU Call for Action, which is available here is the main output of the Ad-hoc Group, to date.

The Call is also available in French and in Spanish.

In addition, several group members also contributed to a special double issue of IAU Horizons, whose In–Focus theme was on the topic of Re-thinking Internationalization. Published in early 2012, the magazine (Vol.17 No.3 and Vol.18 No.1 ) can be viewed here

Since the publication of the Call all Group members have agreed to keep moving the re-thinking internationalization agenda forward, and sharing inputs that various audiences may make to the discussion.

Finally, IAU will be building a virtual space for sharing related papers and documents on its webpages devoted to internationalization. Should you have a paper or a presentation that you wish to make known to the Group, or simply to comment on this initiative, please contact Eva Egron-Polak or Ross Hudson.

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