Trinidad and Tobago is a Caribbean nation of contrasts. A thriving oil industry and recent investments in natural gas production ensure that the twin island nation doesn't depend on sun, sand, and sea tourism to maintain its status as a developed nation. Yet, despite great wealth, significant poverty exists, with recent reports revealing that more than 20 percent of the population is living below the poverty line.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
The following blog entries comprise the 11 Big Ideas from the IIE Green paper, “What will it take to Double Study Abroad?” We invite you to add to the discussion by commenting on one or more of the 11 blog entries in this series.
We stand now at approximately 500 days from the initial target date for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals set in 1990. These goals represent the most ambitious shared aspirations of humanity the modern world ever assembled. As we take measure now of the successes and shortfalls of this global effort, redouble our efforts for real, sustained progress in these final 500 days, and establish the framework for beyond 2015, I am inspired by what has been achieved and worried about what comes next.
The HER girls, participants of IIE’s Higher Education Readiness (HER) program, have been busy over the past few months with tutoring, meeting with their mentors, and the important year-end exams. This summer they are attending entrepreneurship and English language training workshops.
In an op-ed in the New York Times about the ‘world’s coolest places,’ columnist Nick Kristof writes that "travel can also be an education, a step toward empathy and international understanding." At IIE, we couldn't agree more. In fact, this was one of the most important factors that led to the establishment of IIE in 1919.
Launched in 2012, IIE’s research center is now changing its name to the IIE Center for Academic Mobility Research and Impact. Why are we doing this and why now? It is not just a matter of semantics. Instead, it reflects the evolving nature of our work and of the emphasis the Institute places on measuring the impact of what we do. While IIE continues to be at the forefront of applied research on international student mobility through Open Doors and Project Atlas, our Center’s work has expanded rapidly to studying the impact of international higher education programs—including scholarships and fellowships—on individuals, institutions, and communities. This shift in our work reflects a growing awareness within the broader field of international education about the importance of assessing and documenting the profound and sustained influence that international education exchange can have.
Last month, the President of Brazil announced that the Federal Government would provide an additional 100,000 scholarships for Brazilian undergraduates to participate in the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program, which enables them to study during their junior year in the United States and other countries. Currently over 80,000 students are participating in the program. The announcement means that by 2018, some 200,000 will have had the chance to learn another language and study and intern in relevant fields for the country's employment needs.
“Thank God we’re alive, but we are dying an intellectual death.”
Wearing a colorful headscarf and a seemingly permanent look of sorrow, an intense and charismatic professor I’ll call Noora shared with me her tragic story of fleeing Syria and becoming a refugee. I was in Reyhanlı, a dusty border town in Turkey’s southernmost province, to meet with Syrians whose university education and academic work had been interrupted indefinitely due to the conflict in their homeland. Among the more than three million Syrian refugees, including an estimated one million in Turkey, there are tens of thousands of university students and professors.
Jam-packed and intense—these are two adjectives I would use to describe the four-day-long Price Babson Symposium for Entrepreneurship Educators (SEE), which I had the privilege of participating in this past May. The symposium, which is one of the leading training programs for entrepreneurship educators, had already graduated 33 classes, comprising more than 3200 individuals from over 650 institutions worldwide. As a participant in SEE 34, I had the pleasure to collaborate, brainstorm, and learn from and with 59 other educators from 13 different countries (from the United States and Canada to Thailand, Bahrain, Brazil, and Argentina). Moreover, I spent a significant part of the training in a group.
With the Millennium Development Goals nearing their deadline, the development sector has been rife with speculation about what the post-2015 development agenda will look like and what role, if any, higher education should play in this future outlook. So it is only appropriate that the United Nations is asking whether Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)—with their focus on offering tertiary-level courses for mass consumption—are a panacea for increasing access to tertiary education in the developing world, or whether they will instead widen the gap between those with access to higher education and those without.