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Brussels, 18 March 2011

Brazil, Russia, India, China. Key points on the European higher education compass?


In 2001, Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs is credited with having coined the term “BRICs” to refer collectively to the “larger emerging market economies” of Brazil, Russia, India and China. In the intervening years, an enormous amount of attention has been paid to both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of how these countries have been growing and changing. In close conjunction with issues of economic development and competitiveness, higher education has been considered a policy area of some significance in each of these countries, albeit in distinct ways and to differing extents. National and institutional actors from around the world have been working (and in some cases investing heavily) to understand the opportunities for engagement—economic and educational—presented by countries like the BRICs and to develop inroads into these contexts. Where do things stand now?

This one-day seminar is designed to provide participants with a clear picture of the key trends in higher education currently in play in Brazil, Russia, India and China and what these can (and do) mean for European higher education. The agenda will include overviews of the higher education sector in these four countries, addressing the most important developments, challenges, and opportunities in each context. Insight will also be provided into what is happening at the European level, in terms of strategic thinking and orientations towards these emerging economies. A number of specific “case studies” will also be presented, providing concrete examples of European cooperation at national and institutional levels with the BRICs.

We invite you to join us for a day of exploration and analysis of higher education in these highly dynamic countries, and the ways in which connections with European counterparts have and may evolve over time.


Thursday 17 March 2011


Seminar dinner

Friday 18 March 2011



Registrations and coffee


Introduction: why the “BRICs”? Why now?
Queenie Lam, Project Officer, ACA


Getting the “lay of the land”, Part I: Brazil and Russia.
Maria Yudkevich, Associate Professor and Director for academic development, Higher School of Economics, Russia
Christian Müller, Director, DAAD, Brazil




Getting the “lay of the land”, Part II: India and China.
Neil Kemp, Visiting Fellow, Institute of Education, University of London
Jing Men, InBev-Baillet-Latour Chair of European Union-China Relations, College of Europe


Engaging the “BRICs”: the EU’s external strategy for higher education.
Claire Morel, Deputy Head of Unit – Cooperation and International programmes, European Commission, Directorate-General for Education and Culture


Sandwich lunch


Encouraging Dutch-Indian “brain circulation”.
Krista Knopper, Strategic Advisor India and Coordinator, Maastricht University India Institute


Reaching out to “multipliers”: Chinese students in Germany.
Achim Meyer auf der Heyde
, Secretary General, Deutches Studentenwerk and Vice President, European Council for Student Affairs (ECStA)


Collaborating across borders: Finnish-Russian joint degrees
Liisa Tahvanainen, Cross-Border University, Finland


Panel discussion: Four very distinct points on the compass. Which path(s) to follow?
Chair: Laura Rumbley, Deputy Director, ACA
Panellist: Neil Kemp, Maria Yudkevich, Christian Müller, Queenie Lam


Closing remarks
Queenie Lam
, Project Officer, ACA


End of seminar


Queenie Lam

Kwan Heung (Queenie) Lam joined ACA as a Project Officer in October 2010. Her immediate past position is that of research assistant at the International Center for Higher Education Research (INCHER) and the International Study Center (ISC) of the University of Kassel, where she was involved in research activities, partnership development and student services for international study programmes. Queenie holds a Master in Communication from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and is due to complete an International Master’s degree in INCHER, Kassel in 2011 with a thesis looking at the “web-presentation” of universities. She also studied at Georgetown University in the United States as an exchange student. For four years, Queenie was Executive Officer within the Personnel Office of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where she assisted with the international recruitment of academic staff, and later the Office of Academic Links where she supported the development of international academic partnerships and became interested in the growing ties between Chinese and European higher education institutions.

Maria Yudkevich

Maria Yudkevich is an associate professor within the economics department of the National Research University – Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow, Russia. At HSE she also serves as a director for academic development. Additionally, Maria directs the Laboratory for Institutional Analysis (LIA) at HSE, a research center for young scholars who focus on both theoretical and applied economic analysis of institutions. Her research activities are mainly focused in the areas of contract theory (particularly as relates to faculty contracts), university governance and markets for higher education.

Maria received a diploma in mathematics from Moscow State University (1996) and a PhD in economics (2003) from HSE. She is the author of several books on institutional economics and many academic papers on institutional economics and the economics of education. Currently, Maria serves as co-organiser of an international project “International Comparison of Academic Salaries in 30 Countries”. This is a joint effort of the Laboratory for Institutional Analysis (LIA) of HSE, and the Boston College Center for International Higher Education (CIHE) in the United States, with the collaboration of international experts from 30 countries around the world.

Christian Müller

Christian Müller is Director DAAD Brazil since 2009, heading the DAAD branch office in Rio de Janeiro with a second unit in São Paulo. Prior to this appointment, he was head of the Division “Communication and Marketing” at the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Bonn. In this function, he was responsible for the secretariat of the consortium GATE-Germany and for the secretariat of the joint initiative “International Marketing for Education and Research”. In former years, he worked for the DAAD in Portugal (Aveiro) and Brazil (Campinas, Rio de Janeiro) as university lecturer for German Language and Literature as well as in the training of experts in development cooperation (German Foundation for International Development). His academic background is in Social Sciences and German Studies at the Universities of Göttingen and Bonn.

Neil Kemp

Neil Kemp has contributed to a range of education and training projects in over twenty countries and has lived and worked for long periods in South and East Asia including eight years each in Indonesia and India. His career has involved several posts with the British Council: Country Director in Indonesia and Sri Lanka and in the UK as, Director of Science and Technology and Director of Education UK Marketing.

Neil is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Education, University of London, and his research interests include national and institutional policies relating to the internationalisation of higher education; the role of the independent sector in higher education, particularly in developing countries; and international student mobility. He also manages his own international education consultancy and his clients have included UK and foreign universities, UK government, the Education UK Partnership; CIRIUS Denmark; the Swedish Institute; Arengufund, Estonia; UK-India Education and Research Initiative; UK HE International; and Education New Zealand.

He has a number of part-time posts including as a Member of the Advisory Board, London School of Commerce, the Council for Education in the Commonwealth and Board Director of Open University Worldwide. Over recent years he has been a member of the UK government’s Education and Training Export Group, the Higher Level Steering Group for the PMI, the Education UK Board and was a Trustee of the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex.

Jing Men

Prof. Dr. Jing Men is InBev-Baillet-Latour Chair of European Union-China Relations at the College of Europe, Bruges. She also works for Vesalius College, Brussels. She graduated from Nankai University in Tianjin, China, with a BA (1990) and an MA (1993) in English Language and Literature. She obtained a post-graduate diploma in Management (2002) and a PhD in Political Science (2004) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She has widely published on EU-China relations, European integration as well as Chinese foreign policy and external relations. 

Claire Morel

Claire Morel has worked for the past 15 years in the field of international cooperation in education and training. Before joining the European Commission, she worked at the European Training Foundation, an agency of the EU based in Turin, on the modernisation of vocational education and training systems in the Eastern neighbouring countries. She then moved to DG Education and Culture (DG EAC) and started to work for the Tempus programme (for higher education modernisation) dealing mainly with the Central Asian region, and on improving the programme’s external communication. She is now deputy head of the international cooperation unit in DG EAC and her work concentrates on international policy dialogue in higher education, with a special focus on the relations with the Neighbouring countries.

Krista Knopper

Krista Knopper joined Maastricht University (UM) in October 1998 and currently works for the Executive Board at the Maastricht University Office (MUO), Marketing & Communications Department as the Strategic Advisor India and coordinates activities around the virtual Maastricht University India Institute. Her fields of expertise are entry strategies and strategic (academic/business) partnership building for international cooperation in higher education, policy development as well as intercultural communication. Krista was trained in the field of Education and Training, Education Management, Intercultural Communication and Asian Studies. Her degrees are from Teacher Training College, the University of Utrecht (The Netherlands) and Edinburgh University (U.K.). She worked in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Vietnam and India in higher education policy development, strategic partnership building, teaching and management for capacity building as well as on curriculum development and teacher training projects. She has hands-on experience of the UM teaching approach PBL (problem based learning). At Maastricht and abroad she trained university staff, undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as high level professionals in the business and industry world.

Achim Meyer auf der Heyde

Since October 2003, Achim Meyer auf der Heyde has been working as Secretary General of Deutsches Studentenwerk (German National Association for Student Affairs). He holds degrees in Business Administration, Economics and Education. Throughout his career, he has held positions on various levels including Head of the Directorate General “Vocational Training, Vocational Schools and Further Education” of the Ministry of Education in the federal state of Hamburg, as Managing Director of the BBJ Enterprises group for consultancy and as Managing Director of the “Vocational Training Company Berlin Kreuzberg”. In his current position, he represents the Deutsches Studentenwerk in various committees on national and international level, among them the Bologna-Follow Up Group of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Between October 2004 and February 2009, he has been President of the European Council for Student Affairs (ECStA), a European umbrella organization aiming to promote the social and economic framework conditions at higher education institutions in Europe. Since February 2009, he continues this work as elected Vice-President of the ECStA.

Liisa Tahvanainen

Professor Liisa Tahvanainen, Doctor in Science (Forestry), is Director of International Relations at the University of Eastern Finland since 2008 ( Currently she is mainly focusing on developing diverse education export and the Finnish-Russian Cross-Border University (CBU) activities ( She has worked as Director or the Finnish-Russian Cross-Border University, a consortium of four Finnish and six Russian universities, since 2006, and as Secretary General of The KOLI Forum ( since 2010.

She has more than 20 yrs experience in forestry, bioenergy and rural development related research (biomass production, markets and policy, nature protection and wood energy use, rural development, survey studies, international forestry education). She has also been involved in developing and implementing international MSc programmes in forestry. She is holding Docentur (Adjunct Professur) in Energy wood production at the School of Forest Sciences, UEF.

Laura Rumbley

Laura E. Rumbley came to ACA in April 2010 from the Boston College Center for International Higher Education (CIHE) in the United States. At CIHE, Laura led the Center’s Podcast Initiative and was Managing Director of the International Network for Higher Education in Africa (INHEA). She also served as an adjunct faculty member at Boston College, teaching a graduate course on “International Policy and Practice in American Higher Education.”

Laura holds degrees from Georgetown University (bachelor’s), the SIT Graduate Institute (master’s) and Boston College (PhD), all in the areas of international relations and international education. In the early part of her career, she served as an administrator of various international education programs at Boston University in the United States. More recently, her work has been focused on research and assessment activities. She has authored and co-authored a number of publications on topics ranging from academic salaries in comparative perspective, U.S. study abroad, and internationalization in Spanish higher education. Most notably, she co-authored (with Philip G. Altbach and Liz Reisberg) the foundational document for the 2009 UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education, Trends in Global Higher Education: Tracking an Academic Revolution. Laura is a former U.S. Foreign Service Officer, a former Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar, and a Salzburg Seminar alumna.


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