Internationalization and Global Tension: Lessons from History

Increasing political and military tension in several parts of the world will inevitably affect international higher education. Nationalist, religious, and ideological conflicts challenge the original ideas of international cooperation and exchange in higher education as promoters of peace and mutual understanding and of global engagement. Since the end of the Cold War, we have not seen this type of tension and turmoil on such a scale. What lessons can we learn from the past in how to act and react in this new environment? In the 20th century, politics and international ideological struggles dominated the world. Academic cooperation and exchange have been critical in maintaining connections between nations and have paved the way for further contacts. Even though we should be realistic that international cooperation and exchange are not a guarantee of peace and mutual understanding, they certainly keep communication open and dialogue active. Will the increasingly widespread conflicts in the world today, based on religious fundamentalism, resurgent nationalism, and other challenges, harm the impressive strides that have been made in international higher education cooperation?

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