Dubai, where the Going Global conference is taking place. Photo: Suzanne Schumacher
Jo Beall, Director Education and Society at the British Council, previews the big questions up for debate in Dubai at Going Global, the world’s largest conference on international higher education, taking place 4-6 March.
Our work in education never sleeps. This is a particularly busy week with more than 1,000 education leaders and experts from over 80 countries coming to Dubai to debate global issues in higher education. We’re here for Going Global, the world’s largest and only open conference for global leaders of international education.
Young people today must be equipped to work in an increasingly competitive and global marketplace. Providing high-quality educational opportunities and training that prepares students for employment is the most important challenge we currently face. Higher education – that is, education after secondary school at universities and other institutions – is essential in producing skilled workers and leaders for a globalised world.
International higher education provides opportunities for students, academics and researchers to exchange ideas, participate in a global community and gain unique skills and expertise to boost personal, community and national prosperity.
Going Global is the conference for international higher education experts, and the British Council is proud to host it. This year, the conference will focus on how higher education systems can produce excellent research and skilled knowledge workers for a globalised world.
It will showcase the latest thinking in creating knowledge-based economies for the 21st century by bringing together higher education leaders, researchers and practitioners to discuss three themes: the role of international collaboration in research and innovation; how to develop skilled knowledge workers through international collaboration; and how to internationalise education structures and systems.
The UK is a global leader in higher education, and we are ready to be at the centre of the new global knowledge economy. A truly effective knowledge economy that produces innovation, growth and social well-being must be international.
How can the UK compete in this new landscape? We must shift from being simply a destination of choice for ambitious students to the partner of choice for ambitious governments, transnational businesses and research institutions. Going Global offers opportunities for the UK – and other countries around the world – to exchange ideas and learn how research and international collaboration can support knowledge-based economies.
My time at Going Global will be extremely busy, meeting with education leaders, attending conference events and catching up with colleagues from around the world. There is much to look forward to. If you’re not able to attend in person, you can watch the sessions online live or recorded, and you can follow Twitter updates using #goingglobal.
Here are a few session highlights to look out for:
‘Global education: knowledge-based economies for 21st century nations,’ the opening plenary session, will examine how higher education roles and systems are being internationalised and what impact they have on the wealth, prosperity and well-being of nations, communities and cultures. Representatives from the UK, Qatar, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates will identify trends and speak about the challenges and opportunities in creating knowledge-based economies.
‘Soft power: higher education and cultural diplomacy’ examines how education is often used by governments to gain international influence. Participants from around the world, including the British Council’s CEO Martin Davidson, will debate the benefits and compromises this brings for institutions, students, and international collaboration.
‘Intercultural skills at work’ will launch the results of a major new global study on employer perspectives of intercultural skills. The research examines the expectations and needs of employers for culturally astute employees, which has implications for employers, job seekers, education providers and policy makers.
‘21st century nations: no place for the humanities?’ asks whether the humanities have a role in the higher education, given the shifting priorities towards science, engineering, technology and professional skills. Participants, including myself, will debate whether the humanities have outlived their usefulness or if they still have an important role to play in educating graduates for their future careers.
I look forward to hearing your comments and feedback about this very exciting event. For those of you attending Going Global, I will see you in Dubai!
Read more about our work in education.