In times that walls are being pulled up and borders are being closed down, higher education systems should be considered as open systems.
Geopolitical events intensify populist tendencies, promoting a turn away from internationalism and an open society. Support for open borders, multilateral trade and cooperation are being weakened, globalisation is criticised, and nationalism is looming.
Brexit, the prospect of a disintegrating Europe Union and the US turning its back on the world create waves of uncertainty in higher education. There are potential threats regarding international cooperation, the free movement of students, academics, research funding, scientific knowledge and ideas.
At the same time China is launching new global initiatives such as the One Belt One Road project, which could potentially span and integrate major parts of the world across the Eurasian continent, but likely on new and different conditions.
These changes require a critical review of our assumptions regarding globalisation and the international development of higher education. Should we revise our expectations? And what can we learn from reviewing our previous scenarios in order to improve our understanding of what will determine the course these processes seem to be taking? And what does this imply for the higher education system?
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