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.
Last month I met with Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, the new Minister of Education and Research in Norway, who was in Washington, DC, for the annual Transatlantic Science Week organized by the Royal Norwegian Embassy. We spoke about higher education internationalization in Norway and the priorities for academic collaboration with the United States. Mr. Røe Isaksen, who holds a MA in Political Science from the University of Oslo, also spent one year in the United States as a student at Carl Junction High School in Missouri.
It is estimated that 1.7 billion people in the world live in absolute poverty. Close to 40 percent of the world’s population lives without access to improved sanitation, with the vast majority in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. And when it comes to education, only 10 percent of the world has access to a secondary education, and this proportion plummets to 1 percent for a higher education.
Last week, IIE co-hosted one of our occasional “IIENetwork National Conference Calls,” which bring together colleagues from around the world to discuss key topics that affect international higher education. The call was developed by IIE in partnership with JP Morgan and focused on “Models for Expanding U.S. Universities' Global Presence: Strategic and Financial Issues.” More than 160 senior financial and administrative leaders and Chief International Officers from colleges and universities across the United States dialed in for this call.