EVENT | International conference “The geopolitics of Higher Education”

The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) is delighted to invite you to participate in the international conference “The geopolitics of Higher Education” to take place at the COMECE Secretariat, Brussels, on Wednesday, 12 June 2024 from 9:30 to 17:00 (CET). Register now by clicking here | Download the Programme

Scientific and academic diplomacy has long been a significant instrument of soft power in the hands of States, and therefore an important part of their foreign policy. This has been particularly true since the end of the Cold War, as the rise of globalisation facilitated the circulation of capital, goods and people across the planet. Universities deployed internationalisation strategies that promoted study abroad programs, the transborder movement of scholars, and broad-based international research partnerships involving multiple institutions around the world.

This international environment began to change a few years ago with the emergence of new geopolitical tensions. First, illiberal trends developing in established democracies began to question the value of globalisation, internationalisation, and the principle of boundless academic collaboration.

Second and even more significantly, the rise of China as a global power on a path to overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy produced relations of competitive rivalry between the two countries, and later an atmosphere of enmity that extended to their respective allies.

Russia’s war against Ukraine has reinforced this trend towards a fragmentation of the global order, and the perception of a return to great-power competition. This changing international landscape is having a profound impact on higher education around the world, regarding both student and faculty mobility, and transborder collaboration in research.

To explore how the changing geopolitical order is affecting the higher education sector at global scale, COMECE and the International Federation of Catholic Universitiess (FIUC) are hosting this one-day event with the participation of experts, stakeholders and representatives of the European Commission.

The event will tale place at the COMECE Secretariat (Square de Meeus, 19 – Bruxelles, Belgium) on Wednesday, 12 June 2024 from 9:30 to 17:00 (CET). Registration is mandatory. Register now by clicking here. The programme of the conference is available here.