The Greening of Comprehensive Internationalization (Part I)
by Scott G. Blair, PhD
Paris-based Consultant, International Higher Education Assessment and Sustainability
August 3, 2019
Leading and managing the internationalization process has been the fundamental charge of the Senior International Officer (SIO) for the past 20-30 years. If we conceive 21st century globalization as the movement of people, ideas, goods, capital, services, pollution and diseases across borders, then internationalization is higher education’s response to that reality. At the level of each college or university, it’s up to the SIO to articulate and coordinate that response in ways that reflect institutional priorities, culture and resources.
But let’s ask what we might actually mean by a “more globally oriented” and “internationally connected” college or university? What policies, programs and initiatives would reflect such a “global orientation” and “international connectedness”? Also, what educational policy responses to the new global realty should the SIO enunciate to position his or her college or university more competitively? The answer to such questions is disarmingly simple: Those that address the most critical global challenge students will face in their future. And what is that challenge? It’s to preserve the natural environment that provides for us all here on planet Earth—an environment currently under stress.
In other words, if it’s to have real meaning and value, internationalization must address the global environmental crisis and the
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