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International academic collaboration

Jul 12,2018 - Last updated at Jul 12,2018

My concern in this opinion article is the way(s) in which universities can collaborate and build bridges instead of walls to internationalise their campuses, ways that may include, but by no means are they limited to, the following, as examples: Student exchanges and recruitment programmes, faculty exchanges and hosting, joint conferences and workshops, joint academic publishing in varied areas of specialisation, establishing multi-cultural and study abroad programmes to promote global awareness, administrative staff exchanges, recruitment, and hosting and joint degrees and collaborative study programmes.

Be this opinion as it may, problematical questions along this path, such as the following, arise: What does it really mean to be "educated"?  And what is the end role of institutions of higher education? Are our universities institutions of vocational training, whose sole purpose is to have students trained for jobs? Or are they institutions whose role and purpose is nobler? Whatever the answers may be like, the academy worldwide is experiencing rapid transformation in higher education, across demanding magnitudes of purpose, meaning and objective. Technology, for instance, together with social change and the ever-increasing costs have left us with several perplexing unanswered questions and challenges, a fact which forces many of us to be highly ground-breaking in an educational milieu that seems to be cautious of change.

While the common intellectual primary concern may be more focused on the broader values of higher education and the cerebral opportunities for cross cultural education, the dialogue, which is about time we need to begin, yields great promise as we further strengthen the conceptual links which may guide collaborative research projects and studies to solidify academic and cultural ties between diverse institutions and nations. Mutual intellectual dialogue, in turn, wholly supports readiness to assist in developing more inclusive international outreach programmes.

Collaborative ideas about the values of global and outreach studies, as an included feature of common research could become something of value to the international intellectual community. Likewise, such collective efforts would certainly be an educated venue in which the scholarship of universities could be made readily accessible to the world beyond the mazes of esoteric, impenetrable scholarly papers. A constructive academic, public dialogue would, without doubt, allow people to abandon the stereotypical preconceptions that render mutual cultural and social understanding so difficult sometimes.

Scholarly insights, as an included feature of intellectualism, shall be of immense value to the entire international community, where a dialogue, academic and otherwise, could be made accessible to all the people beyond ethnic, cultural and race barriers. Mutual understanding between societies and nations is a vital matter. Not only will it eliminate barriers between and misunderstanding among, but nations will benefit from the experiences of each other as well.

Students willing to pursue graduate work in different academic specialisations and disciplines can also be testimony to the effectiveness at engaging in cross-cultural dialogues. A dialogue such as this not only strengthens faculty interaction, but it ultimately provides new opportunities for an ever-progressing institutional cooperation.

As a final word, we need to expand our understanding of new potential avenues for continued academic cooperation and read from the same page, eventually to do a lot more with less! For in starting a dialogue such as this, we not only see new potential avenues for common understanding, but for a complex-in-demands exchange of ideas as well that shall put universities on the international academic map. 

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