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EU – Brazil: Internationalisation without Borders

The European Union – Brazil Forum on Internationalisation of Higher Education took place in Brussels on 24 February 2014. The Forum represents a follow-up action agreed at the October 2013 Policy Dialogue in Brasilia and builds upon the current, successful cooperation and dialogue in higher education. 

State officials, higher education rectors, vice-rectors and other academic staff from both regions exchanged information on the implementation of their respective mobility programmes: EU’s Erasmus+ programme, which offers more EU-Brazil cooperation opportunities, including the opening of the Erasmus programme to students and university staff all over the world, and Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions, which continue to be internationally oriented. Brazilian authorities presented the current state of play and the future plans for their successful Science without Borders programme, emphasising that the European Union was a very popular destination for young Brazilian students and researchers.

The following are the main conclusions of the Forum:

  • Government officials and academic participants from both sides underlined the importance of the relationship between the EU and Brazil within their respective internationalisation strategies.

  • Higher education representatives stressed the importance of autonomy of management of their institutions. This autonomy will be built into the future EU and Brazilian mobility programmes, including the modalities of credit recognition. Academic participants expressed their commitment to mutual dialogue, inside or outside fora organised by the Brazilian Government or the EU.

  • Forum participants underlined that internationalisation is wider than student mobility and must encompass holistic cooperation incorporating innovation, entrepreneurship and research. Entrepreneurship must be crosscutting and should be seen as independent of academic discipline, it was underlined.

  • Internationalisation at home is crucial to any comprehensive internationalisation strategy in terms of transferring career-enhancing benefits to non-mobile students who form the vast majority in both Brazil and the EU.