It was the Mickey and Minnie Mouse red and pink rolling suitcases that first caught my eye as what seemed like the entire population of Beijing headed to baggage claim. Then I saw the two children that were accompanying the bags and their parents. As we waited for the trains to the exit hall, I had a chance to notice a bit more about what the parents were rolling.
Hullo, Hello ...
When the 1964 Beatles Tribute band leader opened the first set at the British Embassy on Friday evening with these words, it was amazing how much came immediately back.
The Rhodes Trust is piloting a new Falcon Scholarship program for students from parts of the world that have not been part of the British Commonwealth to do graduate study at Oxford. It was my honor to chair a Selection Committee for Rhodes for the finalists attending universities in the UAE. As would be true in America, the candidates actually come from many different countries. And most of them are from the parts of the world that generate headlines associated with conflict.
It was my privilege to be one of the keynote speakers at the China Annual Conference for International Education in Beijing. The other was a former foreign minister. As it turned out, we both never had the opportunity to study abroad. Although our jobs later gave us the chance to travel— in Minister Li's case to 183 countries—we both spoke about the opportunity we wished we had.
In an increasingly inter-connected world, the ability to work successfully in a diverse workplace is more crucial than ever before. And the need for cross-cultural skills to negotiate an evolving, global economy has never been greater. To that end, study abroad can contribute vitally by furthering students’ foreign language abilities, enhancing cross-cultural communication skills and also providing a potentially life-changing international experience. Here at the Institute of International Education, we have encouraged students and educators to make study abroad an integral part of higher education. To help students get the information they need, IIE recently published “A Student Guide to Study Abroad,” a comprehensive resource on study abroad that is packed with essential tips and information for students looking to study abroad, which I co-authored with Stacie Nevadomski Berdan, an international careers expert.
The occupants of seats 15A and B are an Iranian boxing champion and his photographer. Between the three of us (I am in 15C) we have just about that number of words in common. "Doctor" is one of them after the photographer fainted.
"How do I tell if I am connecting with my students if they are Munaqaba?" The question was followed by somewhat stunned silence and then a good answer that, like most Zen problems, required some inner reflection.
"We Gulf Arabs are not as rich as the world thinks we are." The speaker is a government minister worried not only by the prospect of oil and gas running out but also by not having enough education. She looks out on a vast construction site in a grand new ministry building and sees the potential of solar power and other renewable sources to replace what many oil countries take from beneath their deserts and from the sea. As that happens, and population grows, her young people will need jobs. Right now they don't receive the education that will make them employable.
The lead editorial in Saturday's Times of London, titled “The Best and the Brightest” is about the UK's own immigration debate. A few pages earlier, the paper covered the drama unfolding in the United States as Congress moves to pass an immigration reform bill before the July 4th recess. The London paper argues that "In its drive to bring down immigration, the Government is sending the wrong signals to talented overseas students whom the country needs."
Our delegation concluded with the drafting of a work-in-progress framework agreement to help codify what we and the various education, health, and science ministry officials encouraged us to do and share. It appears below and we will focus now on next steps to follow through. We all recognized the importance of keeping the momentum of reform accelerating.