Facing outward: 2018 Conference Conversation Starter

Facing outward: 2018 Conference Conversation Starter Geneva 2018

As we come together in Geneva to celebrate 30 years of the EAIE Conference and Exhibition, there’s no better time to reflect on the evolution of the internationalisation of higher education than now. Based on this year’s conference theme, ‘facing outward’, the seven essays in the Conference Conversation Starter explore trends and challenges impacting our field.

From mental health issues to employability to critical global citizenship, the authors dive into hot topics with the intent of encouraging all of us to think deeply about important and timely issues. Conference participants are encouraged to read the slim volume before arriving in Geneva to actively participate in critical dialogue during the conference. The publication is organised into three subthemes:

Taking stock

This special section highlights one essay authored by the current EAIE President and the Executive Director, who offer their thoughts on how the EAIE adapts, aligns and leads international higher education in a changing world. As the EAIE Annual Conference turns 30 years old, it offers an opportunity to reflect on how the EAIE has responded to recent world events and participated in global conversations and initiatives effecting international higher education. At the same time, the authors highlight how the EAIE proactively acts to drive responsible internationalisation into the future.

Looking inward to face outward

In order to face outward, it’s important to first focus in on practices that are both outward-looking and supportive of international students. In these three essays, the authors explore the topics of mental health, disability and employability, offering recommendations for creating a more inclusive support structure. How can institutions offer a more culturally sensitive approach to counselling services for international students with mental health issues? What do practitioners need to consider when designing internationalisation efforts that welcome students with disabilities? How can institutions create rich opportunities and provide tools for students to reflect on and transform their international experiences into desirable employability traits?

Dancing with politics

The final subtheme considers the wider geopolitical challenges and opportunities that shape the internationalisation of higher education. How can we empower students to tackle current and future global challenges by adopting a more critical approach to internationalisation at home? What lessons can we learn from the Swiss case when considering how political relationships between the European Union and European countries shape international higher education engagement? How do national debates surrounding English as the lingua franca impact internationalisation efforts?

This week’s blog post series will highlight a few of the essays in the 2018 Conference Conversation Starter, encouraging you to reflect, discuss and act.

Face outward

Keen to learn more about facing outward amidst the day’s challenges to international higher education? Download the free introduction, or become a member for full access to the Conference Conversation Starter and the rest of the EAIE resource library.

Leasa Weimer
EAIE, the NetherlandsLeasa is Senior Adviser for Knowledge Initiatives for the EAIE.