EAIE Summer Forum: Bracing for Brexit

EAIE Summer Forum: Bracing for Brexit EAIE Forum

Whether the looming 29 March deadline will mark a ‘hard’ Brexit, a ‘soft’ Brexit or something else entirely remains to be seen. What does seem clear, however, is that Brexit will have a multitude of implications for the international higher education community. EAIE’s Summer 2019 issue of Forum magazine will examine the topic of Brexit in depth. What can you add to the conversation?

The European Union has been through its share of crises, of course, but none quite compares to the tumult brought on by Brexit. Strong emotions, dizzying political machinations and intense speculation about an uncertain future have dominated much of the discussion about the road ahead since the referendum vote in mid-2016. As the deadline for the UK’s departure now looms large, however, a consideration of concrete options for action seems most urgent.

The future is always unknown, of course – although uncertainty about what’s to come can feel more acute in some instances than in others. Still, here we are: forced to move ahead into the post-Brexit unknown. How is the international higher education community – in the UK, in the EU, and elsewhere – making sense of this situation and taking steps to move forward? These are the big questions that the Summer 2019 issue of Forum magazine will seek to explore.

A matter of perspective

The prognosis for a ‘new normal’ after Brexit may very much depend on where you sit. Forum’s Brexit issue aims to bring forward a multitude of perspectives in order to explore the diversity of viewpoints that can and do frame this discussion.

For example, we’re keen to understand what’s happening at the institutional level – in the UK and in the EU – when it comes to planning for engagement where there has traditionally been heavy reliance on EU programme funding and related mechanisms. Equally, we’re very interested in providing readers with insights into what kinds of national-level actions may be envisioned or currently deployed, which are designed to respond to Brexit developments and their knock-on effects.

An enormous amount of attention has been paid to how higher education institutions and national governments are dealing with Brexit matters, but what about student perceptions and realities? Our exploration of this topic will be immensely richer if it can effectively highlight what students in the EU and the UK appear to make of Brexit developments and their implications for the future of young people in Europe.

Moving forward with purpose

The need for immediate solutions for the UK’s imminent ‘divorce’ from Europe is crucial. However, making sense of bigger-picture aspects and longer-term implications of Brexit demands our attention as well. To consider this part of the Brexit story, Forum is also interested in showcasing wide-angle considerations about the future that are grounded in honest analysis, concrete action and notions of good practice.

For example, we are actively looking for submissions that consider what Brexit might mean for the daily work of international education practitioners in the UK and EU. What changes will need to be made in relation to professional practice in our field, and how may practitioners at all levels be affected?

Meanwhile, we note that the work of international higher education practitioners is grounded in an array of ideals, which tend to view internationalisation as an inherently good thing. From this perspective, Brexit is seen as an unmitigated disaster. But – from where you sit – is Brexit really ‘all bad’? Are there silver linings to be found in this scenario? We welcome the opportunity to consider submissions that suggest ways that this unexpected turn of events actually delivers dividends or presents new opportunities to British and European higher education institutions or other stakeholders.

No answers required

Brexit is an extraordinarily complicated moving target. None of us knows what the future will really bring and therefore writing for this issue of Forum does not require a crystal ball! Rather, our aim is to put forward an array of thoughtful considerations about what we are doing with the best information we have at hand, in order to respond as effectively as possible to a complex situation with potentially extensive implications for the period to come.

We would be happy to consider your thoughts on the uncharted territory that is Brexit. Do consider submitting a piece by 15 April for Summer 2019 Forum!

Laura E. Rumbley
EAIE, the NetherlandsLaura is Associate Director of Knowledge Development and Research at the EAIE.