IIE Convenes Hybrid International Education Leadership Summit

Group of global leaders in education and student exchange from nine countries released common statement focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and what’s ahead for international education and student mobility

NEW YORK, October 26, 2021 — The Institute of International Education (IIE), the world leader in international educational exchange and scholar rescue, hosted the 2021 International Education Leadership Summit on Monday, October 25, 2021. The hybrid virtual and in-person summit welcomed representatives from international education organizations representing nine countries, including Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The discussion centered on the theme of: What’s Ahead: Building a More Equitable, Sustainable, Peaceful World through International Exchange in a Post-Pandemic World. Following the summit, the group released the below Common Statement in Support of International Education and Mobility.

Participating organizations:
Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE)
Campus France
German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
Nuffic (Netherlands)
Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills
British Council
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs U.S. Department of State
Institute of International Education

2021 International Higher Education Summit Common Statement:
International academic exchange and mobility are essential to our world’s recovery from the economic and geopolitical disruption of the coronavirus pandemic. While this unprecedented global challenge has again laid bare the disparities of wealth and well-being among nations, it has at the same time demonstrated the fundamental interdependence and shared vulnerabilities of all people. As our planet begins to reopen and reengage, assuring that academic bridges remain in place to facilitate collaboration among scholars, researchers and students is central to not just rebuilding, but realizing a better world.

Determining what our post-pandemic world will be is a common project in which all nations and cultures can take part.  The collective challenges we face cross borders and transcend politics, as do the most effective responses and remedies. Addressing our planet’s climate crisis, constructing a sustainable world, achieving societies built on access, equity and inclusion, and strengthening democracies that value all voices require international collaboration and cooperation. Throughout history, the world’s progress in technology, commerce and peace have depended on the exchange of individuals and ideas and expanding the global networks through which knowledge can be further shared for the benefit of all.

We all must also work hard to assure that pandemic-driven fears regarding travel and nationalistic rhetoric around immigration do not inhibit the free exchange of students and scholars or put at risk the necessary public and private investments in higher education and research around the globe.

One thing the nations of the world are learning from our battle with COVID-19 is that we thrive or fail as one people. This is an opportunity to come together, and as national organizations dedicated to promoting international academic exchange, we are united in our commitment to enhance the mobility of students and scholars, which should occur in an academically safe environment.

We call on leaders at every level to support measures to allow more students around the world to spend part of their education in other countries and to keep our own academic doors open to incoming students from abroad. We urge a wide and rapid response to the needs of refugees displaced by the pandemic, oppression, violence and wars, and urge higher education institutions to participate in programs to host student and scholar refugees. Such actions will not only speed our planet’s recovery, protect lives and preserve knowledge, but also enrich each host country’s classrooms and build a safer, healthier future for us all.

Our organizations pledge to follow-up on this commitment in our daily work, as well as our international and national networks, cooperation and partnerships.

Additional Information:

Each participating organization also published an essay looking at what’s ahead in international education from their national perspectives. They are available here.

About the Institute of International Education

Established in 1919, IIE is a global not-for-profit that creates and implements international education programs, conducts research and provides life-changing opportunities for students and scholars worldwide. IIE collaborates with a range of corporate, government and foundation partners across the globe to lead the world’s major scholarship, leadership development and scholar rescue programs. 108 of its directors, grantees and alumni of programs administered by IIE are recipients of Nobel Prizes and through its range of emergency support programs, IIE is able to help displaced students and scholars regain access to education. IIE has a network of 17 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,450 member institutions. Visit iie.org for more information.


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