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Online, 6 May 2021

ACA Strategic Summit 2021 - Strategic perspectives on  international higher education post COVID-19


In a rapidly changing higher education context, organisational leaders need to continuously enhance their capacity to foster organisational performance and deliver sustainable change and value. High-level peer exchange is a compelling way not only to support top leaders in these tasks, but also to foster coordination and synergies at different levels.  

The leadership of ACA members and like organisations often face similar challenges, while supporting the cause of international higher education, as they have to stay abreast of evolving regulatory frameworks and policy priorities at different levels and engage with multiple stakeholders. The established network of ACA members provides a unique platform for a high-level strategic exchange of insights, experience and knowledge in support of ‘what works’ in institutional development and best practice in common priority areas.   

In response to these considerations, in 2021 ACA is starting a new series of high-level, by invitation only events – the ACA Strategic Summits. The aim of these distinct gatherings is to connect the top leadership of the member organisations and selected guests on an annual basis, around key topics for international higher education. The theme of the 2021 ACA Strategic Summit is Strategic perspectives on international higher education post COVID-19  

The event is meant as a response to the unprecedented challenges and changes in international higher education we have been lately addressing, due to the protracted Covid-19 pandemic and rising nationalism, on the one hand, and to the growing importance of international strategic collaborations globally, on the other 

The programme focuses on the role of international higher education in the post-pandemic world in terms of its impact both on the evolution the higher education sector and on the recovery and resilience of society in general. The discussion will also focus on how ACA members and like organisations need to change themselves in order to support these wider processes of change. While taking stock of impact to date, the Summit exchanges will facilitate the joint crafting of some clear paths forward, exiting the emergency response stage, moving post pandemic, and reflecting the wider strategic implications and role of funding agencies in shaping the future of internationalisation in higher education. 

Though the Summits are invitation-only events, we are happy to share major takeaways and discuss related opportunities. If you are interested in learning more, please contact the ACA Secretariat: 

Videos from the Summit, 6 May 2021

1. What was (and possibly is still) the biggest challenge your organisation faced during the past year (Covid-19-related or not)?

2. What are you most proud of, despite the challenges of the last year?

3. What one word comes to mind when you think of the future of internationalisation of higher education?

Keynote Speeches:

International higher education in the post-pandemic world, Ulrich Grothus, President, ACA

A different future, Cristina Riesen, Co-CEO at Taskbase and Founder of Educreators Foundation



  10:30 – 10:40

   Welcome words
, Ulrich GrothusACA President and Irina FerenczACA Director 

  10:40 – 11:45 

   Virtual tour
– guest introductions  

   Moderator: Dana PetrovaDirector, Czech National Agency for International Education and  Research (DZS) and                                 ACA Vice-President 

  11:45 – 12:00

   Health break

  12:00 –12:15      

   Keynote speech “International higher education in the post-pandemic world”

   Ulrich GrothusACA President 

 12:15 – 13:15 

   Role of IHE in the post-pandemic world – implications for future strategy development and 
organisational change  

   Moderator: Grażyna ŻebrowskaDirector, Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA) 


   Plenary inputs 

  • ChallengesJakob CaliceExecutive Director, Austria’s Agency for Education and Internationalisation (OeAD) 
  • OpportunitiesHeli Aru-ChabilanDirector of Internationalisation, Education and Youth Board (HARNO) 
  • Paths forwardHarald E. NybøletDirector General, Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and                        Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (Diku) 


   Discussions – Strategic implications for organisational development 


  • Ragnhild Solvi BergSenior Adviser, Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement                    in Higher Education (Diku) and ACA Treasurer 
  • Stephan GeifesDirector Erasmus+ national agency for higher education, German Academic Exchange Service              (DAAD) and member of the ACA Administrative Council 
  • Alenka FlanderDirector, Centre of the Republic of Slovenia for Mobility and European Educational and                                     Training Programmes (CMEPIUS) and member of the ACA Administrative Council  

  13:15 – 13:45

   Lunch break

 13:45 – 14:15

   Networking in the

 14:15 – 14:45 

   Leading through uncertainty

   Allan E. GoodmanPresident and CEO, Institute of International Education (IIE) 

  14:45 – 15:00

   Health break

  15:00 – 15:50 

   Future directions in
internationalisation of higher education

   Moderator: Prof. Michael KoutsilierisPresident of the Board, State Scholarship Foundation  (IKY) 

   Thematic discussions – moderators:  

  • Digital futures –Amanda CrameriHead of Higher Education, Movetia – Swiss National Agency for Exchange                       and Mobility 
  • Sustainable internationalisation – Sébastien Thierry, Deputy Director, Agence Erasmus+ France 
  • Inclusion imperatives – Rúna GuðmarsdóttirDirector Erasmus+ National Agency, Icelandic Centre for                        Research (Rannís) and member of the ACA Administrative Council 

  15:50 – 16:20 

   A different future

  Cristina RiesenCo-CEO at Taskbase, Founder Educreators Foundation         

   #edtech #adaptivelearning #educationinnovation  

  16:20 – 16:30 

   Summit takeaways

   Irina Ferencz, ACA Director