Universities around the World Sign Joint Statement to Promote Mobility in Higher Education

IE University President Santiago Iñiguez opened the event, commenting that higher education, since it’s very inception, has held international mobility at its core.

This week, IE University hosted a virtual conference focused on the importance of mobility in higher education as a catalyst for resilience and renewal. At the center of the event was the joint statement, which has thus far been signed by 33 universities around the world and focuses on the preservation and fostering of cross-border knowledge sharing and mobility amongst higher education institutions.

IE University President Santiago Iñiguez opened the event, commenting that higher education, since it’s very inception, has held international mobility at its core. “The leading figures of academia in as early as the 12th and 13th centuries, for example, moved from location to location, from Paris to Bologna to Oxford, teaching and delivering their research in Latin. They had a similar vision for transforming the world that we all share today.”

“These days, international mobility has become even more important to research and learning, not just because of the corona virus threatening the cross border mobility of students, faculty, and ideas, but also because of the rampant spread of populism and nationalism that is affecting many of our societies,” continued President Iñiguez. “And this is why I believe universities can play a key role in changing our environment. If we mobilize our strengths, we can greatly improve society on a global level.”

The event included a panel discussion on the topic of mobility in higher education moderated by Fabrice Rousselot, editor of The Conversation France. Panelists included:

  • Julio Frenk, President, University of Miami, United States.
  • Fadlo R. Khuri, President, American University of Beirut, Lebanon.
  • Lily Kong, President, Singapore Management University, Singapore.
  • Peter Mathieson, President, The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
  • Ignacio Sánchez Díaz, Rector, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC), Chile.

A conversation amongst participants followed, with commentary from the presidents, rectors, and representatives of the University of British Columbia (Canada), Universidad del Desarrollo (Chile), Hitotsubashi University (Japan), King's College London and The London School of Economics & Political Science (UK), Koç University (Turkey), Luiss University (Italy), Universidade NOVA de Lisboa (Portugal), Universidad de San Andrés (Argentina), Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador), Sciences Po (France), Tecnológico de Monterrey (México).

The joint statement serves as the beginning of an action plan in which the participating universities commit to the following shared vision:

  • Ensured cross border collaboration and nurturing of diverse and globally-minded talent with a special focus on sustainability.
  • The maintenance and furtherance of cross border knowledge-sharing for the collective wellbeing of society.
  • Leveraging technology in higher education to enable maximum levels of interconnectedness and exploring more environmentally sustainable and equitable ways to connect across borders.
  • Collaborative efforts within the higher education ecosystem to streamline cross border flows of talent and knowledge.
  • Global collaboration to identify effective health related protocols that guarantee safe university campuses and at the same time facilitate international mobility.
  • Strongly embedded and upheld policies, actions and activities of diversity and inclusion across our educational institutions. Through unwavering example we will foster and promote much-needed tolerance, respect, and equality across our academic communities and the higher education sector as a whole.

In closing the event, President Iñiguez remarked, “This is just the beginning of the journey. The advantage is that we share a vision and passion for education, and for transforming the world. The future is ours so long as we work hard together to promote international mobility of students, faculty, and talent and build a more inclusive world, one that is diverse and tolerant and more respectful of sustainability.”

This week’s mobility event was a result of the network fostered by IE University’s Reinventing Higher Education annual symposium, which was launched in 2010 in collaboration with the IE Foundation, and IE University’s International Relations Department, with the overarching aim to provide a platform where university administrators, policy makers, entrepreneurs and top managers, academics, student representatives and media experts can meet to discuss the current status and future evolution of higher education.