Towards a common higher education space in Southeast Asia
We have been seeking the internationalisation of higher education for decades, if not centuries. Initially this was because of curiosity and an early interest in cultural borrowing, then because of a drive for global intellectual solidarity and international understanding, and now due to a need for global and regional economic and social integration.
The previous softer driving forces might provide a less powerful case for governments and higher education institutions to take action. However, the social and economic consequences of not having a harmonised regional higher education space are more tangible and harder to ignore.
It is in UNESCO’s DNA to promote the internationalisation of higher education as this can contribute to its ultimate mission of building a culture of peace in the minds of men and women.
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Wang is secretary of the Tokyo Convention and chief of the section for educational innovation and skills development at UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in Bangkok, Thailand. This is an edited version of a keynote speech delivered at the EU-SHARE Policy Dialogue 15 on Envisioning the Future of a Higher Education Common Space in Southeast Asia, held from 27-28 July 2022 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam.