From Internationalism to Internationalisation: the Illusion of a Global Community in Higher Education

  • Graham Pike


Both global education and international education are movements designed to promote the concepts of internationalism and global community in national education systems, but with different histories. While the former, a grassroots K-12 movement, has struggled to make headway against the forces of neoliberalism, the latter has thrived in a market-driven era in which revenue from international student mobility has offset declining public funding of higher education in many developed countries. Current trends in the internationalisation of higher education have resulted in increasing commercialisation and intensive competition for international students, fuelled by world rankings of elite universities. Tensions exist between these trends and the more altruistic goals of international education proclaimed in institutional mission statements and government policies. An analytical matrix is offered as a tool with which higher education institutions can map their internationalisation activities and assess the extent to which they match their stated policies and missions. While the rhetoric of international education purports to promote the concept of a global community, the article suggests this claim may be illusory.

Author Biography

Graham Pike

Dean, Faculty of International Education

Vancouver Island University