NEW YORK, May 4, 2015—U.S. and Norwegian educators are planning innovative partnerships and activities following a visit last week to Norway. The Institute of International Education (IIE) and Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU) led a delegation of high-level officials representing twelve U.S. higher education institutions to Norway in mid-April, to meet with potential partner campuses and learn about Norwegian higher education.
The IIE delegation traveled to Oslo, Tromsø, Trondheim and Bergen to visit higher education institutions, including the University of Oslo, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, University of Tromsø, Fram – High North Research Centre for Climate and the Environment, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Bergen University College, Bergen Academy of Art & Design, and the University of Bergen’s Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research.Representatives from 18 additional Norwegian institutions attended two round table discussions to engage further with the U.S. delegation. The group also visited a Statoil facility in Trondheim to explore opportunities for public-private research and academic partnerships.
The study tour was part of IIE’s International Academic Partnership Program (IAPP) for Norway, which seeks to help universities in the U.S. formulate a plan for strategic and sustainable partnerships with institutions in Norway. Norway is also a commitment partner of IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative, a five year campaign to double the number of U.S. college students studying abroad. As part of Norway’s commitment to Generation Study Abroad, the Government of Norway contributed funding forthe week-long study tour to Norway to foster relationships between Norwegian and U.S. higher education representatives, paving the way for increased and sustainable student mobility between Norway and the United States.
The U.S. Embassy held a reception in honor of the delegation at Villa Otium, the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence in Oslo. The reception was hosted by Acting Ambassador, Charge d’affaires Julie Furuta-Toy. Remarks were provided by Ms. Furuta-Toy as well as Deputy Assistant Secretary Meghann Curtis, Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research State Secretary Bjørn Haugstad, and IIE President & CEO Allan Goodman.
“Higher education is an area where the U.S. and Norway can build strong institutional relations and promote collaboration among our universities to solve key global problems. The delegation offered a unique opportunity to expand U.S. and Norwegian higher education cooperation,” says Dr. Allan Goodman, President of IIE.
“The links between our two countries are strong and the U.S. has always been an attractive destination for Norwegian students. Through our cooperation on the IAPP, we hope to achieve more balanced mobility flows and also to encourage stronger institutional ties and academic partnerships among our institutions of higher education to secure long-term commitment and results,” says Alf Rasmussen, Director General of SIU.
The delegation identified important issues and opportunities that will guide potential new partnerships and collaboration:
- There are numerous areas of mutual interests relating to the Artic, spanning both the hard and social sciences, which have relevance to all areas of the U.S. This is of particular importance with the new U.S. chairmanship of the Arctic Council.
- The Norwegian Centres of Excellence represent highly supported and focused areas for potential research collaboration.
- Norwegian Institutions are well equipped to accept, house, and support U.S. study abroad students, which presents a mutually beneficial opportunity for both countries to expand student mobility.
- Relationships at the faculty level are critical to any broader engagement with universities in Norway considering the strong Norwegian emphasis on a bottom-up approach to partnership building.
- There is a need to raise awareness amongst American students and institutions about the academic opportunities in Norway.
- Significant funding opportunities are available through the Norwegian government and SIU to support international engagement with Norwegian institutions, including the recently released SIU RFP for funding to support research projects between Norwegian and North American institutions.
- The Norwegian higher education system is currently undergoing a systematic reorganization that includes the merging of many universities and university colleges. The delegation recommends that U.S. higher education partners stay informed on new developments.
One of the main challenges identified during the tour was that Norwegian institutions do not have a tradition of a summer academic term where students and faculty are active on campus. This poses an obstacle for U.S. study abroad students who favor short term, summer programs.
In the next phase of the IAPP initiative, U.S. delegates will work to expand on some of these outcomes as they develop concrete plans for engagement with Norwegian higher education. Representatives of the twelve U.S. institutions participating in the Norway study tour will now return to their campuses to begin Phase II of the International Academic Partnership Program, building on the in-depth knowledge gained during the recent study tour. Each of the Norwegian host institutions received a complimentary one-year membership to the IIENetwork, which will provide resources, contacts, and information to aid in their internationalization efforts and connect them to over 1,200 other institutions around the world.
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, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has network of 19 offices worldwide and over 1,300 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.
About the Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU)
SIU is Norway’s national agency for international education, under the auspices of the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. SIU promotes internationalization, intercultural dialogue, and international mobility at all levels of education through international programs and measures, research and analysis, advisory services and information. SIU is also responsible for promoting Norway as an attractive study destination.