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Blog Category:

East Asia and The Pacific

  • Civic Values and Narrative Imagination: The Role of International Higher Education

    By: on Tuesday, November 17, 2015

    When the seeds of modern democratic governance were first taking root in the world, a story was circulated about an individual who approached Benjamin Franklin in 1787 outside of Independence Hall at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention. She asked Franklin whether he and his colleagues had created a monarchy or a republic. In reply he told her that the United States would be a “republic, if you can keep it.”

  • Asia's Stake in 21st-Century Higher Education

    By: on Thursday, August 20, 2015

    In most higher education discourse today it is not unusual to hear the claim that the world’s center of gravity is shifting toward the East. Indeed, no region has undergone as profound a transformation as Asia during the past half-century, from the 1970s to the present. Unprecedented economic growth has driven major social and demographic change and institutional reform and, in most countries, has brought about greater stability. The advent of a large middle class, coupled with openness and market reforms driven by economic imperatives, has contributed to greater interconnectedness among Asian states and between them and the rest of the world.

  • Myanmar: What a Difference 2 Years Can Make

    By: on Tuesday, June 2, 2015

    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.

  • Understanding Southeast Asia: A Primer for Successful Engagement

    By: on Thursday, March 19, 2015

    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.

  • Bringing U.S. and Myanmar Higher Education Together: Htoo Htoo Wah’s Reflections

    By: on Wednesday, September 24, 2014

    Htoo Htoo Wah is the head of the English Department at the Myanmar Institute of Theology, a leading Christian higher education institution in Myanmar. After spending four intense weeks as a visiting scholar at Northern Arizona University, he had a moment to reflect on his experience of U.S. higher education.

  • A Tale of Three Cities

    By: on Monday, March 24, 2014

    "The way to create a really great city is to establish a university. Then wait several hundred years."

    It was Mark Twain, I think, who had this important insight. Neither cities nor universities get built overnight. But having returned from visiting universities in three very major and rapidly growing cities, I had a chance to reflect on what it is taking to build world class institutions of higher education in an age of globalization.

  • About Those Brands

    By: on Monday, March 3, 2014

    It was the Mickey and Minnie Mouse red and pink rolling suitcases that first caught my eye as what seemed like the entire population of Beijing headed to baggage claim. Then I saw the two children that were accompanying the bags and their parents. As we waited for the trains to the exit hall, I had a chance to notice a bit more about what the parents were rolling.

  • Looking to the Future: Technology and Online Education

    By: on Tuesday, February 25, 2014

    Advances in technology and global connectivity have raised exciting possibilities and serious challenges for higher education. In January the Open University of Hong Kong invited educators from around the globe to examine these issues at the inaugural International Conference on Open and Flexible Education. I was fortunate to attend the conference as part of IIE's traveling fellowship, and I was eager to learn about the ways in which technology will impact the future of education and international exchange programs.

  • How IIE launched New Course in Myanmar with a Little Help From Count Basie and "Silicon Valley"

    By: on Wednesday, December 11, 2013

    It’s 8:55 am and we’re on the finishing touches. The U.S Embassy is letting us use Count Basie Hall—or the CBH—at the American Center in Yangon to launch IIE’s new pilot course, Connecting with the World: International Relations at Higher Education Institutions, and the cavernous cube of a space is finally starting to look like a classroom. Joanna Regulska (Rutgers University), Mandy Hansen (Northern Arizona University), Katherine Punteney (Monterey Institute of International Studies) and Ron Feng (Knowledge Platform), IIE’s curriculum development partners throughout the past four months, are showing their true team spirit by ferrying desks, chairs, tables, and boxes of books around the CBH while the industrial air conditioner attempts to bring the muggy 35⁰C room down to a manageable 23. Five minutes until the time we had suggested participants arrive at the workshop. Who knows who will show up?

  • Too Soon To Tell? Thoughts From CACIE in Beijing

    By: on Wednesday, November 6, 2013

    It was my privilege to be one of the keynote speakers at the China Annual Conference for International Education in Beijing. The other was a former foreign minister. As it turned out, we both never had the opportunity to study abroad. Although our jobs later gave us the chance to travel— in Minister Li's case to 183 countries—we both spoke about the opportunity we wished we had.

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About Opening Minds

For more than nine decades, the Institute of International Education has been at the forefront of international education. The Opening Minds blog is IIE’s take on how this field continues to change. Here the Institute’s leaders will explore international educational exchange, global student mobility, institutional partnerships, international development, and other topics and trends that are shaping higher education around the world.


IIE Opening Minds Blog
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