President Eden Woon was the feature speaker at an international webinar organized by AIT on the topic of Internationalization in the Post-COVID-19 Era. The virtual event on June 16 was the fourth part of the “Thriving after Massive Global Disruption: A Global Thought Leadership Series” hosted by the University of Strathclyde in the United Kingdom.
Dr. Denis Simon, Executive Vice Chancellor of Duke Kunshan University, China, and Prof. Ian Rowlands, Professor, School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability (and formerly Associate Vice-President, International), University of Waterloo, Canada, joined Dr. Woon
as panelists for a robust 90-minute session of reflections and insights.
Dr. Phil Considine, Director of Executive Development, University of Strathclyde, moderated the online event. In his opening remarks, Dr. Considine noted that the AIT webinar had attracted the most diverse international audience to date in the series, with 260 students, academicians and attendees registering from all continents.
Of the many deep impacts that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on higher education globally, one of the most critical has been to universities’ internationalization, Dr. Woon told the internet audience. “There is no more business as usual” he stressed, as he called on university administrators to consider new and innovative modes of international cooperation, such as the Pipeline Partnership Program (PPP), which he introduced as a new strategic internationalization effort developed by AIT.
In response to questions, Dr. Simon suggested that the post-COVID era will be marked by “ambiguity and uncertainty” for universities and society at-large. To cope with this, Dr. Simon emphasized that the need for students to cultivate an “agile mindset” to succeed amid the rapidly changing forces shaping a future world.
In his remarks, Prof. Rowlands examined the importance of rethinking and redefining the meaning of internationalization through the context of key drivers such as teaching and learning, and research and development. University alliances and networks can provide opportunities in the new environment, he said, in particular through the changing relationships between higher education institutions in the developed world and the developing world and the increasing linkages to address the sustainable development goals (SDGs).