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Brussels, 16 May 2008

Exporting education: Europe's role in transnational education


Transnational education (TNE) has enjoyed widespread growth in the recent decade, particularly amongst UK, US, and Australian institutions. From the vast sector of online learning to the establishment of offshore campuses and courses, such education may take a variety of forms, bolstering an institution’s international profile, offering an alternative source of income, or supporting the building of research cooperation links. But where do European countries stand in TNE offer vis-à-vis the main competitors? What are the main forms such engagement takes, and why? What are the perceived – and real – advantages and risks associated with such cross-border education?

This European Policy Seminar presented the main findings of an ACA study on transnational education and shed light into these questions through a number of practical case examples, drawing thus widely on experiences of European higher education institutions engaged in exporting their education outside of Europe. There were also opportunities for active engagement of the audience in debating the role and importance of TNE within the European context.


Thursday 15 May 2008

19:30         Welcome dinner @ Il Pasticcio

Friday 16 May 2008 



Registrations and coffee


Welcome and introduction
Bernd Wächter, ACA, Brussels


European actors in transnational education – trends and approaches
Maria Kelo, ACA, Brussels


Coffee break


National level support for TNE: motivations and results
Christian Thimme, DAAD, Bonn 


Case example – German Jordanian University
Andreas Geiger, Fachhochschule Magdeburg-Stendal  


An institutional strategy for export of education: options, choices, risks and benefits
Maurits van Rooijen, University of Westminster, London


Discussion and Q&A




Key concerns in borderless higher education: recognition, quality, equity
Line Verbik, CIRIUS, Copenhagen


Case example – Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)
Ramon Wyss, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm




Transnational education in a global context: European engagement in comparison to the US, Australia and the rest of the world
Robert Coelen, University of Leiden


Discussion and Q&A


Panel discussion: Transnational education – what is in it for Europe?
Chair: Christian Bode, DAAD, Bonn
All speakers


Thanks and goodbye


Maria Kelo

Maria Kelo is Senior Officer at the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA). In this role, which she has held since 2003, she is responsible for the acquisition, development and implementation of ACA projects, the organisation of ACA conferences and seminars, as well as ACA’s public relations activities including representing the association at international fora. Recently she completed a large-scale study on services and preparatory programmes for international students in higher education, and is currently managing a project on transnational education. Before her appointment at ACA Maria Kelo worked as a researcher for Eurydice (the Information Network on Education in Europe). She has also worked as an intern at the DG for Education and Culture of the European Commission. Maria has a MSc in Philosophy, Policy, and Social Value from the London School of Economics.

Maria Kelo is the author of Support for International Students in Higher Education. Practice and Principles (2006), the co-author of Brain Drain and Brain Gain – migration in the European Union after Enlargement (Kelo and Wächter, 2004) and The Admission of International Students into Higher Education (Muche, Kelo and Wächter, 2004). She is the co-editor of EURODATA – Student mobility in European higher education (Kelo, Teichler, Wächter, eds., 2006) and the editor of The Future of the University. Translating Lisbon into Practice (2006).

Christian Thimme

Christian Thimme is head of Division “Internationalisation of Higher Education at the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Before he joined the DAAD in 2001, Christian Thimme worked for the European Bureau for Project Support in Bonn, where he was the coordinator of the European programme Youthstart, a strand of the European wide Employment Initiative which supports innovative projects in all EU member states. Prior to this he was a DAAD lector for German language and geography in the French university Blaise Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand. Christian Thimme studied History and Sociology as well as German as a foreign language, and he holds a PhD in German as a Foreign Language.

Andreas Geiger

Andreas Geiger graduated in Social Sciences after studying in Munich, Berlin and Göttingen in 1973 and served as Research fellow at the University of Applied Sciences Hildesheim/Holzminden (1978-1979) and Braunschweig/Wolfenbüttel (1979-1984). In 1984 he became Research Fellow and deputy business manager at the Scientific Institute of the German Medical Association (WIAD) located in Bonn.

Andreas Geiger served as Founding Dean of the Department of Social Sciences and Public Health at the University of Applied Sciences Magdeburg from 1992 until 1998 and was named Rector of the University of Applied Science Magdeburg-Stendal in 1998. He also serves as Professor for Behavioural Medicine and Social Sciences. Mr. Geiger became Vice President of the Germans Rector Conference (HRK) in 2004 and Spokesman of the Universities of Applied Science in the HRK in 2006. He has been Project Director of the DAAD Project German-Jordanian University (GJU) since 2006.

Maurits van Rooijen

Dr Maurits van Rooijen has executive responsibility for international and institutional development at the University of Westminster, London, which includes the development of the Westminster International University Tashkent.

He is president of the Compostela Group of Universities, with almost 80 members the largest consortium of its kind. He is executive vice-president of WACE, the Boston based organisation dedicated to promoting work-integrated learning and vice-president of EAN, the only international organisation solely dedicated to the promotion of higher education to underrepresented groups.

Dr Van Rooijen’s academic background is in ‘green town planning’. He worked at his alma mater, Utrecht University and the Erasmus University before moving to the University of Westminster in 1993. He combined his London position with a vice-president position at Victoria University Melbourne (1998, sabbatical) and Leiden University (1999-2005; part-time secondment).

Line Verbik

Following an undergraduate degree in History and Russian at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark and an MA in History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, Line worked as Information and Recruitment Officer at Imperial College London. In 2003, Line joined the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education where she was Deputy Director until 2007 where she joined Hobsons as Research Manager. In the beginning of 2008, Line returned to Denmark to take up a position as Head of Section with CIRIUS, part of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.  

Ramon Wyss

Ramon Wyss is a professor in theoretical nuclear physics at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden. He was the vice president of KTH in charge of international education from 2002 to 2007 after which he became advisor to the KTH-President in 2008. He has been since 2004 a member of the management board of CESAER (a network of 60 universities in science and technology) and since 2006 the Secretary General for CLUSTER (a network of 12 European universities in science and technology). Ramon Wyss is the KTH project leader to develop the Swedish University of Science and Technology in Pakistan, and has also developed joint educational and research programmes with China and India.

Robert Coelen

Dr Robert John Coelen is Vice-President International at Leiden University in the Netherlands. He has worked for about 12 years in the field of international education. He returned to work in Europe after an absence of 30 years. Most of these 30 years were spent in Australia: First as an international student, fresh out of the Netherlands, next as a researcher and academic, and finally as Director International at two universities in Queensland. He spent part of the time working on developmental projects in Indonesia.

Mr Coelen is a member of Club33, a global think tank on internationalisation, a member of the International Ranking Experts Group, which produced the Berlin Principles on Ranking in Higher Education, member of the executive board, Steering and Editorial Committees of the European Association of International Education. He has recently become a member of advisory boards on the EU Network of European Promoters and Transnational Education Projects within the context of the Erasmus Mundus Global Promotion.

Robert Coelen is a regular speaker at international and national conferences on issues related to internationalisation of higher education. In particular ranking, international positioning, the services to international students and admission are amongst the topics he addresses. He is also the organiser of the Leiden University Global Ranking Symposium Series. He is the initiator of Euroscholars, a new study abroad education project in collaboration with 12 continental LERU universities.

Mr Coelen is committed to the ideals of an internationalised higher education as the result of first-hand experience as an international student, followed by observing the development of his international students in undergraduate programmes, as well as his international Ph.D. students. The beneficial personal transformation that ensues from academic development in cultures other than one’s own is something he believes all students should experience at some time in their lives.

Christian Bode

Dr Christian Bode is the Secretary General of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), which is the largest scholarship organisation globally, with more than 200 programmes out of and into Germany, and over 60,000 scholarships per year.  It also runs many initiatives to internationalise German higher education, and to increase its global attractiveness. Christian Bode was educated in law, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Bonn in 1971. Between 1972 and 1982, he held different senior positions in the Federal Ministry of Education and Science.  From 1982 until 1990 he was the Secretary General of the German Rectors’ Conference (then called Westdeutsche Rektorenkonferenz). 

Christian Bode is one of the founders of the Academic Cooperation Association, of which he has been a vice-president twice. He has been awarded several honorary degrees from universities all over the world (e.g. UK, Vietnam, Sudan). Recent awards include the „Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite“ (France), the „Officer of the Order of the British Empire“ and the Cassandra Pyle Award (USA).

Bernd Wächter

Bernd Wächter is the Director of the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA), a consortium of European and global agencies which support international cooperation in higher education. ACA is a think-tank which promotes innovation and internationalisation in higher education. Bernd was born in Giessen (Germany) and studied at the universities of Hull (UK), Giessen and Marburg (Germany).  He lives in Brussels (Belgium) and is married to Thora Magnusdottir, a delightful lady from Iceland.

Bernd’s career has been focused on international higher education. In his first post, at the University of Kassel (Germany), he devised international degree programmes in cooperation with universities abroad. He later joined the British Council, before becoming the Director of the international office of the Fachhochschule Darmstadt. Moving on to Germany’s internationalisation agency DAAD, he became the head of this organisation’s European section. He subsequently became Director of Higher Education in the Brussels Socrates Office, with overall responsibility for the Erasmus Programme in Europe. In 1998, he took up his present post as the director of ACA. Bernd has published widely on international matters in higher education, and he is a frequent speaker at European and international education conferences. He is the editor of the ACA Papers on International Cooperation in Higher Education and.  He also works, as an expert advisor, for many international organisations. 


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