Dutch Embassy, US, hosts Embassies on Education Internationalisation
A panel discussion about internationalization of higher education was organised by the Dutch Embassy at Ambassador Birgitta Tazelaar’s residence. Participants gathered to exchange perspectives on higher education in their respective nations. The Panelists were from Ghana, Aruba, Colombia, and New Zealand.
It was organised October 26th, 2023 by Howard University as part of its ‘Prioritise and Lead Symposium on Internationalisation’ campaign. The theme of the discussion at the conference surrounded how Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) can improve internationalisation in their curricula.
In her opening speech, Ambassador Tazelaar emphasized the importance of education and exposure, especially on an international level. “Education is not just a key; it is the very gate to a prosperous future,” she said.
The discussion was hosted by broadcast journalist Maureen Bunyan in the presence of HBCU teachers and staff, Department of State officials, and organisations that support foreign education. Delegates from participating countries discussed their experiences with internationalisation in higher education and emphasised the use of international curriculum integration, virtual exchange, and faculty and student mobility as strategies.
They included Minister Plenipotentiary Joselin Croes of Aruba; Ambassador Luis Gilberto Murillo of Colombia; Minister Plenipotentiary of Economic and Diaspora Affairs of the Embassy of Ghana Ninette Danquah Ivo; and Education Counsellor Amy Rutherford of New Zealand.
“Students and staff in higher education should reflect the diversity of both countries involved in educational mobility. Therefore, it is important to look beyond the “usual suspects” to universities and colleges outside of the well-known cities,” said Ambassador Murillo expressing the need to increase diversity in HBCUs.
“Consequently, different regions are better represented and are better connected to international educational programs.”
While all panelists acknowledged the advantages of internationalisation, such as greater diversity, they also discussed its drawbacks. The delegates of Ghana, Colombia, and Aruba talked about brain drain, which is the phenomenon of students studying abroad and not returning home to work after their studies. This subject highlights how closely education and the economy are related.
As a counterweight to brain drain, Ghana mentioned that it majorly encourages student mobility when they are centred on subjects important to the country’s economy. According to Mrs. Ivo, Ghana aims to enable student-exchanges to business and political-focused universities so that returning students can bring business home.
In her speech, Arubavian Ms. Croes emphasised how critical it is to link education to the job market. She also mentioned how her nation uses virtual learning to become more globally connected. Students can gain from internationalisation within their own country by having the option to study virtually at foreign institutions and colleges in Aruba, according to Ms. Croes.
Willemijn Keizer of the Netherlands-America Foundation (NAF) also shared her perspectives during the event. Ms. Keizer talked about the initiatives that the NAF plans to help with student exchange via internships.
The countries represented on the panel also considered the relevance of diversity. In their discussion, students could better grasp various perspectives by interacting with students, staff, and researchers from different backgrounds.
In order for New Zealand to promote diversity, Ms. Rutherford talked about how her country tries to diversify the programming offered in colleges and universities. The cultural diversity of New Zealand is enormous, as Ms. Rutherford demonstrated. She mentioned that it is crucial to provide incoming students with an education led by indigenous people in order to represent the diversity of the nation. She concluded that diversity is therefore essential to both foreign and local students and staff.
Source: Ghana Embassy DC
Photo: Ambassador Luis Gilberto Murillo of Colombia – 3rd left, Ambassador Birgitta Tazelaar – 3rd right, Minister Plenipotentiary of Economic and Diaspora Affairs of the Embassy of Ghana Ninette Danquah Ivo – 2nd right, Maureen Bunyan – far left, Minister Plenipotentiary Joselin Croes of Aruba – 2nd left, and Education Counsellor Amy Rutherford of New Zealand to the far right.