Edition 50 - June 2005

Outcomes of the ACA conference: "The other side of mobility"

ACA’s latest international conference took place in Stockholm on 12-14 June. The event was hosted by the Royal Institute of Technology and was organised in cooperation with ACA’s three Swedish members: the International Programme Office for Education and Training (IPK), the National Agency for Higher Education (HSV), and the Swedish Institute (SI). The event was supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers through a grant.

Background and aims of the conference: The conference gathered around 230 participants from all over Europe – and beyond. The participants were practitioners and experts of mobility and internationalisation of higher education, academics, and higher education policy makers. 

The aim of the conference was to identify some of the impacts that mobility has on the mobile person and his or her wider environment through the various sub-themes: identity building, development cooperation, knowledge transfer, and intercultural competences. Real-life experiences complemented the picture. The event was opened by a famous Swedish author Henning Mankell, who offered the participants an outstanding “journey” through his stories. The speech set a tone to the whole conference and Mankell’s insights gave a new perspective to thinking about learning through mobility.

Outcomes: Prior to the ACA conference this “other side” of mobility, which should arguably be the first concern of all international educators, had been astonishingly rarely addressed. There is little empirical evidence thus far on the long term impacts that mobility of students, teachers, and young professionals has. While the conference raised many new questions, it provided new impetus to the importance of thinking about – and researching – the unexpected as well as the often expected but currently under-researched impacts. The common conclusions were:

  • A firm belief that mobility is constructive and that it has numerous positive outcomes and impacts.
  • Not all the potential is exploited to the fullest and new ways of ensuring and maximising the positive impacts both at individual and institutional level should be explored.
  • Believing in the positive impacts of mobility is not enough: addressing the issue through targeted research is necessary to support mobility now and in future.

ACA would like to take this opportunity to warmly thank the co-organisers, the Nordic Council of Ministers, the speakers, and of course all the conference participants for their presence and contributions.

The next ACA conference ‘The future of the university’ will take place in Vienna, from 30 November to 2 December. ACA will keep you up to date about registration opportunities. We hope to see you there!

ACA conference : "The other side of mobility"

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