International Association of Universities

Building a worldwide higher education community

Re-thinking Internationalization - IAU creates an international Ad hoc Expert Group

Inter Building on the lively discussion that took place during the 4th IAU Global Meeting of Associations in Delhi, India, in April, 2011, IAU invited a number of experts from around the world to take part in a discussion about the need to re-examine the concept of internationalization. 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 international Expert Group was created to bring 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' this summer. 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.

As it is essential that we keep the momentum in this initiative going, the Group members agreed to use a large number of upcoming international events to raise similar questions and share the inputs that various audiences may make to the discussion. In case you are interested in taking part in some of these discussions, a number of events was mentioned by the Group members.

Finally, IAU will be buidling 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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