Global Transformation in IARU Member Strategies
This initiative intends to establish a new institutional learning activity on relations with emerging and developing countries in the context of globalisation.
Academic institutions worldwide are being profoundly affected by globalization and the rapid economic development in many countries, especially in emerging economies and developing countries.
The global university functions as a global web of knowledge, talent, and assets, and becomes a point of differentiation for its home base …. These universities think and act globally, and they deliver both locally and globally. Not all global universities are evolving from the pool of historically great research institutions. New entrants in higher education, responding to unmet demand for education and knowledge in the world, are attempting to leapfrog to the global arena by leveraging mobility and connectivity.
Jean-Luc Chameau, former president of Caltech, now president of KAUST, Saudi Arabia
IARU member universities can be considered global universities as defined by Chameau. So far, no institution from a developing country is represented in IARU. In the past historically great research institutions built their international relations on the paradigm of a bipolar world which at the academic level frequently led to two types of international relations: peer-to-peer relations with similar universities in the “Global North”, and largely asymmetric partnerships with institutions in emerging and developing countries. Such collaboration has often been triggered by humanitarian motives and incentives of the development cooperation sector.
Under the influence of globalization, the focus of partnerships with universities in emerging and developing countries is shifting. As developing countries are investing into strengthening their academic institutions, the number of potential partners – and at the same time - competing institutions is growing.
Chameau argues that such partnerships can bring benefits to both sides:
- Established universities bring experience and reputation while emerging universities bring the energy of a 'start-up' along with resources.
- Established universities can accelerate their discoveries through expanded resources and emerging universities gain the experience and credibility of the network.
IARU is an alliance of global universities. In view of the increasing importance and dynamic shifts in weight between different world regions, IARU member universities formed an institutional learning activity to share their experiences and strategic considerations on their interaction with partners in emerging and developing countries, at the institutional level as well as with respect to research alliances and capacity building.
The proposal foresees a meeting of Emerging and Developing Country Relations Officers from the partner universities for exchange of experience and mutual learning on the role and relevance of developing countries in the strategic thinking of the IARU universities. As a follow-up of the workshop, two options for further action are envisaged: to establish a working group for the elaboration of guidelines or principles on relations with emerging and developing countries, or a Standing Panel for continuous exchange and potential advisory services.