Pope Francis travelled recently to the Greek island of Lesbos, where thousands of Syrian refugees are housed in detention centers as they await updates on their asylum applications. The Pope called on people around the world to, “...heed these scenes of tragic and indeed desperate need, and respond in a way worthy of our common humanity.” Beyond the basic human needs of food, water, and shelter, there are also unprecedented educational needs, which IIE has played an active role in addressing. Today, the Syria Consortium is answering this call by encouraging universities to provide scholarships to qualified Syrian students. The IIE Scholar Rescue Fund is offering funding to host institutions that can offer temporary academic positions for Syrian scholars to continue their teaching and research until it’s safe to return home. This work not only has short-term impact by finding placements for many qualified Syrian academics, as well as hundreds of other threatened scholars around the world, but it also has long-term benefits for training teachers and future leaders who will go on to create the educational infrastructure for Syria’s future. As much as the work of supporting refugees is future oriented, it is also a vital part of IIE’s history.
Strategic international partnerships are a hot topic in higher education right now. Collectively, we seem to be moving away from an initial philosophy of “let’s sign as many MOUs with foreign institutions as we can,” to an approach that emphasizes careful planning, deliberate action, and attention to quality, depth, and sustainability.
Now that we’re headed down this path, however, the nuances of what we mean by “strategic” are increasingly important. At ACE, we’re having conversations with our members and program participants about this topic on a regular basis—these have helped us begin to unpack the term “strategic” and better understand its manifestations in relation to global engagement.
We had the opportunity to represent IIE and U.S. higher education at the G7 International Higher Education Summit last month in Tokyo. The Summit took place from May 18-19 and was hosted by the Japan Student Services Organization and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
The Summit was attended by representatives from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the European Union, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Korean National Institute for International Education (NIIED), the British Council, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), SEAMEO Regional Centre for Higher Education and Development (RIHED), and IIE.
IIE East Asia is pursuing a number of initiatives to support and engage with Greater China’s developing philanthropy sector. In Hong Kong the sector is mature and provides many opportunities for IIE—which has offices in both Hong Kong and Beijing—to support foundation work in throughout China. The philanthropy sector in the mainland is young but growing fast, and IIE is constantly developing new initiatives to address the needs of this burgeoning sector. Our work with the Ford Foundation under the Learning Circles for Chinese Philanthropy program has allowed us to identify a number of areas where we can support the sector drawing on the resources from both our offices. Below, Siusie Hsiao in IIE’s office in Beijing gives an overview of these key areas. We are very grateful to the Ford Foundation for supporting our work in this area. In due course we will also provide a view from Hong Kong showing how efforts across the region can be harmonized.
The following blog entry is the second in a series of partnership-focused pieces related to IIE’s recent publication, Global Perspectives on Strategic International Partnerships: A Guide to Building Sustainable Academic Linkages. This series provides the book’s authors the opportunity to expand upon their chapter, react to another chapter in the book, or address a whole new partnership topic entirely.
One of the reasons I chose to join the Coggin College of Business International Business Flagship Program at the University of North Florida (Jacksonville, FL) in 2007 was due to the growing study abroad programs available. Little did I know that, just a few years later, I would be helping lead our team in deepening the college’s international strategic relationships. One such relationship is with KEDGE Business School, formerly Euromed Management, located in Marseille, France.
On Friday, April 29th, I sat in the rear of the 12th floor banquet hall at IIE’s New York Headquarters, humbled to be a part of the 2016 Scholar Rescue Fund Forum, "Scholar Voices and University Action." Surrounding me were highly accomplished individuals from education, human rights and government sectors, paired with persecuted scholars from all around the globe, each with a story to tell and a profound determination to make an impactful change.
Through programs like ACE for Women’s Leadership and Higher Education Readiness (HER), IIE harnesses the power of international education to address major challenges facing the world today. Out of our office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, IIE is partnering with local, national and global leaders to tackle issues across the continent. From Addis to Nairobi to Ghana, IIE is working with African students, leaders, and politicians to promote advocacy and build networks within countries and across borders. Below are our top 5!
Over the past two years I have had the privilege of working on the pilot evaluation of the Higher Education Readiness Program (HER), an IIE initiative that provides secondary school pathways to underprivileged girls in Ethiopia. HER girls continuously inspired me with their hard work and determination to achieve their dreams. Here are some examples:
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.