2012 Summit on the Occasion of the G8

Event Summary

2012 International Education Summit

The Summit focused on three major themes - Economic Impact, Academic Mobility, and Institutional Cooperation.

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The 2012 International Education Summit, convened by the Institute of International Education, brought together more than 50 high level delegates from 15 countries and the European Union in Washington, DC in May 2012 to engage in a hands-on discussion of national priorities and educational cooperation.

See statements submitted by speakers for the policy sessions

Policy Theme One: Economic Impact

This session highlighted the economic impact of international education—from the sector's role as a leading service export to the long-term impact of international education on developing business relationships across borders, advancing trade and diplomatic relations, and contributing to long-term prosperity. The session was chaired by Matthew Goodman, Simon Chair in Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former White House coordinator for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the East Asia Summit (EAS), where he oversaw U.S. policy development in those forums, as well as director for international economics on the National Security Council staff with responsibility for the G-20, G-8, and other international forums. Speakers included: Mark Darby, Australian Education International, Australia; Claire A. Poulin, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada; Siti Hamisah Tapsir, Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia; and Martin Davidson, British Council, United Kingdom.

Key takeaways include:

  • International education has significant long-term impact in terms of job creation and workforce development, global business relationships, and supporting innovation, growth and productivity.
  • International education is becoming more critical for all nations striving for success in the global knowledge economy.
  • Education has become a top service export for many nations, and promoting international educational exchange among countries is an efficient way to promote economic engagement among developed and developing nations.
  • The economic impact is different for emerging economies than it is for wealthier nations, and the cost of tuition can be an obstacle to collaboration, but there are common goals.
  • For educators, being able to better measure the economic impact of international education has a substantial impact on the perception among legislatures and policymakers. The revenue brought in by international students is very important to some host countries, and is increasingly recognized as an economic benefit. However, there are many other longer term economic benefits deriving from international educational exchange for the host and sending institutions and nations.
  • There is a growing emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) within the international education community and a growing recognition that research teams working on pressing global issues and creating real economic outputs and scientific advances are increasingly multinational.
  • International education plays an important role in the advancement of diplomatic relations and is an effective tool to create trust among individuals and nations, which leads to improved trade relations.

Policy Theme Two: Academic Mobility

Policymakers examined Management Models of National Scholarship and Fellowship Programs, looking closely at the goals and successes of some of the most effective programs in place today, and discussed how best to meet future needs. Session chair Xavier Prats Monné, Deputy Director General for Education and Culture of the European Commission, urged participants to look beyond the individual exchange of students and examine the systemic benefits and obstacles involved in institutional cooperation, programs and linkages, to reflect on the potential for further international collaborative efforts, as well as the role of countries in ensuring the quality of higher education. Speakers for this session included Euclides Mesquita Neto, University of Campinas, Brazil; Meng Li, China Scholarship Council, China; Sebastian Fohrbeck, German Academic Exchange Service, Germany; Triyogi Yuwono, Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology, Indonesia; and Edie Cecil, Institute of International Education, USA.

Key takeaways include: 

  • Countries need to work more closely together to address barriers at the institutional and policy levels that hinder international academic mobility. There should be a more global effort to set common regulatory frameworks, including for quality assurance, credit systems, validation and recognition, and to seek agreement on learning goals and outcomes.
  • Major government or private sector initiatives can have a tremendous impact in both home and host countries, and can be adapted to meet changing national needs and goals of bi-lateral relationships. Examples of these range from the 60-year old Fulbright Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, and Brazil's recently-launched Science Without Borders Program, and include Germany's DAAD Study Scholarship and Research Grant program, the CSC's Chinese Government Scholarship program, and Indonesia’s DIKTI scholarship and Darmasiswa program, among others. Example of a multi-lateral exchange initiative is the 25-year old Erasmus programme that next year will have reached about 3 million exchanges of students and staff within the European Union.
  • In managing national and multi-national scholarship programs, it is important to look at best practices and lessons learned and work with policymakers to ensure that the programs are flexible, effective, and transparent. The programs should be managed in a way that maximizes the systemic impact, while meeting the needs of the individual students and institutions.
  • Governments and scholarship agencies need to constantly work to ensure that they focus their funding and support for scholarship in a strategic way to meet policy priorities, and they are not just giving scholarships to benefit individuals.
  • Academic mobility is becoming more of a challenge for institutions and governments, as students are becoming more sophisticated and “demanding” about the types of opportunities that are available. At the same time, the challenge of increasing the diversity of international students is a constant issue for all countries.
  • Academic mobility is often most advantageous if it is part of long-term linkages between higher education institutions, because it benefits the whole institution beyond just the numbers of individual students exchanged.
  • Academic mobility can serve as an instrument for modernizing higher education systems. In addition to student exchange, there needs to be more international exchange of university staff and educators.
  • Funding for scholarship and grants are limited, so educators should also pay more attention to the role of open educational resources and technology as part of their internationalization strategy.
  • Countries and institutions need to address the challenge of balancing inbound and outbound mobility.
  •  A key motivator to expand policies around outbound mobility is to create a globally competent, internationally trained workforce.
  • Many countries say they need a more skill-focused education system. The U.S. community college model is in high demand among industrializing countries, particularly those facing limits to capacity in their universities and growing needs for skilled workers to fill newly created technical jobs.

Policy Theme Three: Institutional Cooperation

In this session, delegates explored specific international academic linkages as a key factor in building successful strategic institutional relationships, addressing the role of curriculum integration, joint and dual degree programs, twinning arrangements, and diploma recognition programs in developing these partnerships. U.S. delegation representative Beverly Tatum, President of Spelman College, and a member of IIE's Board of Trustees, served as chair. Speakers included: Béatrice Khaiat, CampusFrance, France; Hitoshi Nara, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan; Cecilia Jaber, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mexico; David Prior, Hamad bin Khalifa University, Qatar; Tatiana Marinina, Ministry of Education and Science, Russian Federation.

Key takeaways include:

  • Partnerships between institutions can be a more effective to engage in educational exchange than institutions working directly with individuals, and should be explored further. Many countries shared strategies for internationalization that included development of innovative joint degrees to advance specific goals.
  • Greater institutional cooperation holds the promise of engaging different institutions’ thought leaders in addressing the world’s most critical challenges in ways never before seen.
  • Institutional leadership should focus more on trilateral or multilateral cooperation, going beyond one-on-one linkages with specific countries.
  • Governments and national exchange agencies can play a substantive role in helping educators put in place a framework that will facilitate expanded levels of cooperation. They need to address, encourage, and oversee mechanisms for recognition of degrees and improved credit transfer/recognition, and increase quality assurance in transnational programs.
  • Europe’s Bologna process can serve as model for other regional or international multilateral cooperation in higher education. Universities do not need to harmonize their curricula, but they do need to find ways to make them comparable and compatible in order to recognize credits and degrees from other countries.

About the Summit

The International Education Summit is convened annually in the G8 host country to provide a platform for top-level policymakers and practitioners to meet and exchange experience and expertise. The 2012 International Education Summit was organized and convened by the Institute of International Education. The G8 Summit, a separate event hosted by the White House, will take place at Camp David on May 18 and 19, addressing a range of economic, political and security issues. This second annual International Education Summit follows a successful inaugural meeting in Paris in May 2011 hosted by Campus France. With the G8 Summit for 2013 scheduled to be held in the UK, the British Council has begun plans for an event to be held in the UK next year.

About the Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1919, IIE has network of 17 offices worldwide and over 1,000 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.