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May 15, 2012 Special IIE.Interactive
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The Institute of International Education (IIE) organized and convened the 2012 International Education Summit on the Occasion of the G8, entitled "International Education: A Global Economic Engine" on May 2 and 3 in Washington, DC. The Summit brought together 50 high-level delegates from 15 countries and the European Union, representing the major national exchange organizations and government agencies involved in international academic mobility.

The Summit brought the education policy leaders from countries and regions that host 80 percent of the world’s 3.4 million globally mobile students to look at how we can best collaborate to meet future needs.

For more information about the Summit outcomes, a "Call to Action," statements from each delegation on "Priorities for International Education," and video highlights of the event, please visit: www.iie.org/g8meeting.

Summit Outcomes
Summit participants concluded that international education has significant long-term impact on job creation, workforce development, and global business relationships. Several nations are placing greater emphasis on educational exchanges in teaching STEM skills as part of an employment and economic development strategy. Summit participants also agreed that countries need to work more closely together to address barriers at the institutional and policy levels that hinder international academic mobility. There should be a more global effort to set common regulatory frameworks, including for quality assurance, credit systems, validation and recognition, and to seek agreement on learning goals and outcomes.

Call to Action
Based on the deliberations of the 16 delegations, IIE issued a Call to Action, calling for international education, especially educational mobility through scholarships and fellowships, to be a higher priority in economic or public policy dialogues among nations, and a priority in multilateral diplomatic engagements. In it, IIE urges world leaders to make international education a higher priority for the following reasons:

  • International education is a critical contributor to workforce development for the knowledge economy and thereby enhances growth and productivity, as well as entrepreneurship and innovation.
  • An international education increases individuals' skills and employability, producing graduates that are globally competent and culturally fluent.
  • International education generates revenue, and is a leading service sector export in many countries and an engine of economic development in others.
  • International education facilitates multilateral research, which is needed to solve global problems.
  • Education that has an international component helps transform students into better informed, productive, creative, and culturally competent citizens.
  • Finally, in increasingly complex times, educational mobility and educational exchanges promote diplomatic ties and mutual understanding between countries, which in turn promote peace and prosperity by fostering greater trust and increased trade.

This Call to Action is particularly timely with the G8 Summit at Camp David beginning this week (May 18-19th). And a new regional educational cooperation network is currently being explored by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation's 21 member-economies, with the host of the 2012 APEC Summit, Russia, advancing cross-border higher education as a key link to economic integration. This is likely to be a topic of the APEC education ministers meeting in Korea on May 21-23.

Resources and Background Materials
Please visit the International Education Summit event website to access the following detailed materials: 

  • Call to Action
  • Summary and key takeaways from the Summit
  • The complete Summit Program book including agenda, speakers list, and biographies
  • Statements from each delegation on "National Priorities in the Promotion of Internationalization of Higher Education: Recent Trends and Future Developments"
  • Extensive video highlights of the event, including presentations on priorities by each participating delegation
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