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On 7 November 2011, the American Council on Education (ACE) unveiled the long awaited final report from its Blue Ribbon Panel on Global Engagement (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, October 2010). Strength through Global Leadership and Engagement provides an overview of the factors influencing the crucial need for American higher education to consider the evolving global context as “much more than just a phenomenon” and to understand it as a clarion call for a “wholly new way of thinking and working”. At its essence, the report argues that new approaches to global engagement must square meaningfully with a sound understanding by each institution of its own “core principles and practices”. Equally, careful attention should be paid by American colleges and universities in the process of developing strategies for global engagement to issues of “balance” – notably, idealism versus pragmatism and local versus global interests.
In addition to articulating a broad vision for global engagement, the report lays out a set of priorities for the work it believes should be undertaken by ACE itself, in its role as “the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions”. As such, the report marks an important new development in the commitment of this leading US higher education association to the internationalisation agenda. Already well-known for its publications and initiatives in this area, ACE has announced with the report’s publication the establishment of a new Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement (CIGE). CIGE is now called upon to advance for ACE an ambitious agenda focused on five key areas: