In China and many other countries in Asia, we are witnessing what education experts call “brain circulation” — I saw it first-hand in September in Beijing, where I attended the inaugural Opening Convocation for the first class of Schwarzman Scholars, a new Master’s program designed to foster understanding of and international ties with China by giving the world’s best and brightest students the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and professional networks through a one-year Master’s Degree at Tsinghua University in Beijing. This program is just a recent manifestation of the trend.
Georgia’s Minister of Education and Science, Aleksandre Jejelava, is embracing what I consider a more positive educational nationalism—a drive to internationalize higher education institutions, faculty and student bodies. During my visit to Tbilisi I heard him speak about his vision of Georgian higher education, to "[offer] education to all of our neighbors and draw students from even beyond them." To do so, the Georgian government amended its visa regime to make it easier for international students to come to Georgia for study purposes. By the year's end, Georgia will be part of the European Union visa waiver system and hopes to welcome many more European students under the Erasmus programs.
Last week, the British Council held its annual "Going Global" conference for the first time in Africa. It was a good opportunity for all of us to meet with colleagues who bring different perspectives on the most urgent challenges facing higher education today. An IIE team member, Caitlin McNamara, who works on the Fulbright Scholar program, had an IIE Traveling Fellowship to attend and present a poster session on the impact of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. I was invited to offer some perspective on the role of higher education in today's refugee crisis on a panel with European and Lebanese colleagues. In war zones, and in crisis zones under repressive regimes, the international community often thinks first of humanitarian aid, providing food, shelter, and medicine to displaced persons and others. Education usually comes last. At IIE, we have been working to help students and scholars in crisis, so I welcomed the chance to join this conversation.
Over the past two weeks, the Institute has been asked to make a series of presentations on how higher education can respond to the current refugee crisis. Sarah Willcox, Director of IIE's Scholar Rescue Fund and I spoke at The Rockefeller University, Nikki Davis, Program Manager of IIE Initiatives, chaired a panel during a UN high-level event on "Teaming Up to Boost Higher Education Opportunities in Emergencies,” the Best Practices Conference hosted this year by the University of California at Davis convened a pre-conference workshop on “Project No More Lost Generation: Principles of Higher Education Support,” and James King, Assistant Director of the Scholar Rescue Fund, represented IIE in Helsinki at a conference on opportunities for Finnish higher education institutions to become involved in the IIE-Scholar Rescue Fund to support Syrian scholars.
Earlier this month, Universities UK held their International Unit's annual summit. We work closely with this organization, which will become a Generation Study Abroad commitment partner, and their newsletter is an excellent window into the issues, concerns, and developments shaping the international exchange field in Europe. For several years Universities UK has asked me to speak at one of the sessions, but I was unable to do so. As it turns out, that was fortunate. Elections are big in the UK this year.
There is a lot going on in New Hampshire these days.
The University of New Hampshire joined us as a Generation Study Abroad partner, aiming to increase from about 750 students currently studying abroad to 1,500. This is part of the UNH Global 2020 strategy aiming to make international learning and experience central to education.
The picture below was taken on Friday in the student union at the Cal State University campus in San Bernardino (CSUSB). The university president, Dr. Tomas Morales, had invited me to speak at a symposium that day on International Education. He and many others during the day expressed that what happened on Wednesday made the need for international education and exchange even more important. So far six of the school's Alumni have died as a result of the terrorism.
Music conductors shape the sound of their ensembles by setting the tempo, guiding phrases, and unifying performers. Doing these things well, however, does not guarantee the music sounds good. A strong performance, I believe, requires a conductor that is acutely aware of music’s potential to impact an audience. Such awareness influences how the conductor listens—her ear more in tune with the possibilities of the music.
They are lovingly restored and each endowed with a female name. One of the "new" ones being built, in fact, will be called "Meg" after the Columbia University professor who helped advise us on our International Academic Partnership Program (IAPP) delegation that traveled throughout Cuba to Camagüey, Ciego de Ávila, Havana, and Santa Clara from October 24 to 31.