2012 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION SUMMIT: A CALL TO ACTION
Global mobility in higher education—the exchange of students and scholars—is an economic engine that fuels the economy of both home and host countries, keeps our universities vibrant and competitive, and prepares the future workforce to meet global challenges. International education is a multi-billion dollar industry that is a major service-sector "export" which boosts skills development. At the same time, it fosters innovation and growth and strengthens commercial, cultural and diplomatic ties between nations.
On May 2nd and 3rd, 2012, the Institute of International Education convened the 2012 International Education Summit in Washington, DC. This annual higher education summit, inaugurated in Paris in May 2011, was a gathering of representatives from the major national exchange organizations and government agencies involved in international academic mobility and cooperation. The two-day meeting served as a platform for countries to share national priorities, discuss potential areas of collaboration, and promote global academic mobility, with the goal of raising awareness of the economic impact of international education among G8 leaders and the global community.
The 16 delegations involved in this year’s summit represented Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Qatar, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Based on the deliberations of the 16 delegations, the Institute of International Education calls for international education to be a pillar of all future bilateral strategic dialogues between world leaders, and a priority in multilateral diplomatic engagements.
We urge world leaders to do this for the following reasons:
- International education is a critical contributor to workforce development for the knowledge economy and thereby enhances growth and productivity, as well as entrepreneurship and innovation.
- An international education increases individuals' skills and employability, producing graduates that are globally competent and culturally fluent.
- International education generates revenue, and is a leading service sector export in many countries and an engine of economic development in others.
- International education facilitates multilateral research, which is needed to solve global problems.
- Education that has an international component helps to transform students into better informed, productive, creative, and culturally competent citizens.
- Finally, in increasingly complex times, educational mobility and educational exchanges promote diplomatic ties and mutual understanding between countries, which in turn promote peace and prosperity by fostering greater trust and increased trade.
We call for the inclusion of international education as a part of all bilateral agreements as well as multilateral economic dialogues, such as the G8, G20, APEC, and ASEAN. Through multilateral cooperation, we believe that countries can better address the urgent challenges facing the world, which transcend borders. Our greatest challenges today are global. Meeting the world’s energy and water needs, tackling epidemic diseases, cybercrime and violent extremism, and developing the skills and capacity of the workforce are challenges that cannot be solved by or within a single country. Research to address these issues demands transnational collaboration. Educational needs are no longer simply national or bilateral in nature, but require multiple perspectives and collaborative solutions.