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Brussels, 30 March 2017

The future of internationalisation in a world of populism, isolationism, and increased tension


Registrations are finally open for ACA’s second European Policy Seminar in 2017. The event will be devoted to the impact of Donald Trump, of the Brexit and of the rise of populism  and isolationism  more generally on internationalisation of higher education. Will the rise of populism and isolationism reduce the degree of international mobility and cooperation reached over the past decades? If not the volumes, will it change the forms and the face of internationalisation? Will the UK still be able to participate in the Erasmus+ and the Horizon 2020 programmes? Will the US continue to attract the best talent and the best researchers and scientists from around the globe? Which importance will the – apparently rather unintellectual – Trump Administration accord to higher education at all, let alone to internationalisation?

These are only some of many questions that the seminar "the future of internationalisation in a world of populism, isolationism, and increased tension" will address. The one-day event will be held in Brussels on 30 March 2017. Most of our well-known and internationally renowned speakers from the EU and the UK, from the US and from elsewhere in the world have already been confirmed.


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

18:00 Guided tour of Brussels 

19:30 Seminar dinner

Thursday, 30 March 2017


8:30 Registrations
9:00 Introduction
9:15 Welcome. What this seminar is about
Bernd Wächter, Director ACA, Brussels
9:30 Opening keynote
Populism: a threat to higher education and internationalisation?
Sijbolt Noorda, President, ACA, Brussels
10:15 Coffee break
10:45 The Trump effects
Challenges and opportunities for U.S. higher education internationalisation:
Is the U.S still a magnet for international scholars and students?
Chris Medalis, International Education Expert, New York
11:25 Future prospects for academic exchanges under a Trump administration
Erica Lutes, Director Fulbright Belgium
12:05 Will partnerships with U.S. universities become less attractive for
European Higher education institutions under Trump?
Richard Harvey, Director of Admissions (University of East Anglia), UK
12:45 Lunch break
13:45 The Brexit
European education and research programmes after Brexit: without the UK?
Anne Corbett, Senior Associate, LSE Entreprise, London School of Economics & Political Science, UK
14:25 The impact of Brexit on UK higher education
Vivienne Stern, Director, Universities UK International (UUKI)
15:05 Coffee break
15:25 Weakened links of EU universities with their U.K. counterparts?
Thomas Jørgensen, Senior Policy Coordinator, European University Association (EUA), Brussels
16:05 Brexit effects beyond the EU: the case of Sweden
Carl Jeding, Director, Growth Analysis, Stockholm, Sweden
16:45 Wrap up and good bye


Bernd Wächter

Bernd Wächter is the Director of the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA). He studied at the universities of Hull (UK), Giessen and Marburg (Germany). His career has been focused on international higher education. He worked for the University of Kassel, the British Council, and the Fachhochschule Darmstadt, before joining The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) as the head of their EU division. He subsequently became the director for Higher Education (Erasmus) in the Brussels Socrates Office. In 1998, he took up his present post as ACA Director. Bernd Wächter has published and lectured widely on international higher education. He is the editor of the ACA Papers on International Cooperation in Education. He has been the team leader of ACA’s research projects and speaks frequently at major governmental and stakeholder conferences, in Europe and beyond, on the issue of mobility and internationalisation. Bernd Wächter has two children. He is married to Thora Magnusdottir, a delightful lady from Iceland.

Sijbolt Noorda

Sijbolt Noorda is president of Magna Charta Observatory, Bologna and of Academic Cooperation Association, Brussels. He is a former president of the Dutch Association of Research Universities, president emeritus of Universiteit van Amsterdam and a former Board member of the European University Association. Dr Noorda writes and lectures on teaching and learning in Higher Education, about ideals and practices of internationalization, on open science, core values and on governance issues in HEIs. He regularly reviews and gives advice to individual universities and national systems in the European Higher Education Area. 

Chris Medalis

Christopher Medalis is an international education global programs and strategy expert based in New York City.  He has more than 25 years of experience leading strategic international education initiatives, designing outreach and promotion campaigns, and managing international scholarship programs and academic exchanges on behalf of governments, foundations, universities, and corporationsHis career in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East has included representing the Institute of International Education (IIE), a U.S.-based global non-governmental organization, and the U.S. State Department’s EducationUSA network.  His most recent position was as Regional Director (REAC) for EducationUSA, in Istanbul and Bratislava.  Previously, he served as Director of Global Scholarship Programs at IIE in New York and directed IIE’s Europe Office in Budapest from 1998-2007. He holds a PhD in History from Columbia University (2009), where his dissertation focused on the role of the Fulbright Program in higher education transformation in Central and Eastern Europe.

Erica Lutes

Erica Lutes is Executive Director of the Commission for Educational Exchange Between the United States and Belgium, the only Fulbright office that covers three separate countries and/or regions. She is a lecturer in intercultural communications at the University College of Brussels. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College with a degree in international relations and spent her junior year at Yale University. Earlier in her career she worked on the European Sales desk for the Equity Department at Goldman Sachs. She holds three master’s degrees from the University of Leuven (Belgium) in political economy, conflict and peace studies, and international business.  Earlier jobs included a stint as staff aide to the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium. She previously served as the EducationUSA adviser and Fulbright Belgium-EU program officer for the Commission. She is a specialist in both European and U.S. higher education and an advocate for international and intercultural educational opportunities. Erica is the president of the Mount Holyoke Club of Belgium, a board member of the Centre for American Studies, and sat on a subcommittee on internationalization for the city of Leuven. She is a regular presenter at major international education conferences and events. She has recently been appointed to the Board of Governors of the British School of Brussels .

Richard Harvey

Richard Harvey trained as an electrical engineer and completed his PhD in the application of statistical estimation theory to problems in underwater acoustics.  He worked as a defence scientist before joining UEA in 1993 where he is a Professor of computer science and runs a group of scientists conducting research in computer vision.  He has authored over 100 publications in the areas of signal processing, computer vision and artificial intelligence.  His current project involves teaching a computer to lip-read humans in multiple languages. He is Academic Director of Admissions and Academic Director of Internationalisation at UEA in which roles he is responsible for the admission of all UEA’s students and for developing policy in that area.  In internationalisation he is behind the new UEA internationalisation strategy which attempts to refocus the institution to be more outward-facing and to better promote existing best practice.

Anne Corbett

Dr Anne Corbett is a political scientist, Senior Associate at LSE Enterprise and a former Visiting Fellow of the European Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science LSE. Her work on European policy, politics and higher education is published widely. Her current research interests are centered on Brexit, higher education and research. Her professional career started in journalism, writing about education for much of the British weekly press in the 1970s and 1980s before moving to France for 20 years. There she wrote widely about French society in English and French and taught at the Sorbonne. On her return she turned to work on a PhD with the simple question: When and why did the European Community become interested in higher education – finding the evidence going back to 1957 (Universities and the Europe of Knowledge, Palgrave 2005).  She is an Officier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques.

Vivienne Stern

Vivienne is the Director of Universities UK International (UUKi). Universities UK International helps UK universities and higher education institutions engage with international partners, and represents their distinctive strengths and interests overseas. Prior to her role in UUKi, Vivienne was Head of Political Affairs at Universities UK where she was responsible for developing and implementing the political strategy for the membership body representing 134 UK Universities. She previously worked at the UK Parliament for the Chair of the Education and Skills Select Committee. She is a graduate in English Literature from the University of Cambridge. 

Thomas Jørgensen

Thomas Ekman Jørgensen is Senior Policy Coordinator at EUA. His responsibilities include ensuring coherent policies for universities as well as overall policy development and managing cross-cutting issues with policy relevance. Dr Jørgensen worked with EUA as Head of the Council for Doctoral Education for a number of years. He studied History and German Studies at the University of Copenhagen and the Free University Berlin. He received his PhD in History and Civilisation from the European University Institute in Florence in 2004 and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Copenhagen and at the Université libre de Bruxelles before coming to EUA. As a historian, he has worked on students and left-wing movements around 1968. He has also published on youth movements during World War I. 

Carl Jeding

Dr Jeding is Head of Europe Analysis at the Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis. In that capacity he analyses and reports to the Swedish Government on issues relating to innovation and research policy in a number of European countries. Previous postings include heading the Office of Science and Innovation at the Embassy of Sweden in Beijing, where he analysed and built links to Chinese research, innovation, and higher education. Originally trained as an historian at the universities of Uppsala, Exeter, and Oxford, he has been working in the Swedish Civil Service for the last 20 years.”


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