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.
The Institute of International Education (IIE) recently hosted a special meeting on “Alumni Engagement: Methods and Strategies for Engaging Returning Students,” as part of its regular series of Global Education Diplomatic Network meetings, which brings together education attaches of embassies and consulates and related organizations.
When IIE was founded nearly 100 years ago, one of the first actions founding Director Stephen Duggan took in establishing the new organization was to survey 250 colleges and universities in the United States to determine their capacity and interest in exchanging students and professors with foreign countries. With results of this survey in hand, Duggan visited Great Britain, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, and Yugoslavia in the summer of 1919. He personally delivered hand written letters of introduction to authorities and university officials, prominent journalists, and distinguished scholars across Europe, paving the way for educational partnerships and exchanges between universities in the United States and Europe.
When we first traveled to Myanmar two years ago, there was little to no Wi-Fi, few mobile phones (SIM cards could only be obtained by lottery and cost around $1,500 each, making it unaffordable for most), no ATM machines or credit card usage, and frequent electricity outages. Fast forward just two years: consistent access to Wi-Fi, excellent 3G, and little need to bring stacks of cash anymore (credit cards are now accepted at most hotels). The arrival of telecom providers TeleNor and Oredoo has reduced the price of SIM cards to $1.50 resulting in a reported 30%+ market penetration of cell phones. Electricity outages are still common, and traffic in Yangon is worse than ever, but major change is palpable everywhere, and ATMs and 3G are just the more visible manifestations of this extraordinary transition.
Recently moving from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok, I’ve found that the conversation regarding a “rising Southeast Asia” is just as lively and engaging in Thailand as it was in Malaysia. One of the key drivers of this buzz is the much-anticipated launch of the ASEAN Economic Community at the end of this year (more on that below). In the following post I’ll dig a little deeper into some of the unique features of the region, which I hope those unfamiliar with Southeast Asia will find useful, interesting, and perhaps a prompt for if or how to be invested in this unique area of the world.
The answer to this question, according to the authors of IIE’s spring 2014 edition of IIENetworker is, “it depends.” While we tend to think of internationalization and globalization as harmonious, even synonymous, this issue of IIE’s biannual magazine makes important distinctions between the two and points out the benefits—along with potential drawbacks—of rapid globalization.
So how might globalization be bad for international education?
A bright pink Chevy the size of a whale, duos singing classic Buena Vista Social Club songs, Che t-shirts, and Fidel photos—all common associations that many of us in the U.S. have when we think of Cuba. Indeed, my colleague Daniel Obst and I witnessed them all in one form or another. It’s true there are old cars, and, yes, music is a huge part of the culture; but the beautiful reconstructed plazas, pervasive tranquility throughout the city, and friendly people were just a few of the wonderful surprises that greeted us last week when we had the unique opportunity to experience Cuba for the first time.
In September, IIE announced that it is launching a new course designed to train Ministry officials and university representatives in Myanmar on how to create and manage an effective international education office. The new course, “Connecting to the World: International Relations for Higher Education Institutions,” will be an "essential step to enable universities in Myanmar to connect with institutions in the United States and other countries so that they can build institutional capacity and prepare their students to meet current workforce needs and support rapid economic development." This project is part of a broader IIE Myanmar higher education initiative which seeks to help the country rebuild its higher education capacity.