Press Release

VIDEO | Webinar on “The geopolitics of Higher Education” is now available

The video recording of the international conference “The geopolitics of Higher Education” held on Wednesday, 12 June 2024, is now publicly available for viewing on the COMECE YouTube channel. Click here to watch the video


Organised by the Commission of the Bishops’ Conference of the European Union (COMECE) and by the International Federation of Catholic Universitiess (FIUC), the one-day event gathered experts, stakeholders and representatives of the European Commission. Together, they explored how the changing geopolitical order is affecting the higher education sector at global scale.

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.

The video recording is now publicly available for viewing on the COMECE YouTube channel.