A speaker at conference speaking from the podium.

“Our major challenges as a world community – global warming, sustainable energy, plastic waste, infectious disease, terrorism – these know no national boundaries. We can meet them and defeat them only by working together. Universities have always drawn ideas from far and wide and they have always had an impact through their physical presence and through the activities of their alumni within their local context and their international context.“ Professor Dame Janet Beer, a Trustee of the British Council and President of Universities UK, the body representing UK universities.

The conference took place 2-4 May 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and was attended by over 1000 delegates (leaders in higher education, business and government) from around the world.

Some 61 countries were represented by delegates, including vice-chancellors, pro vice-chancellors, and government ministers.

2018 theme

Global connections, local impact: Creating 21st century skills, knowledge and impact for society-wide good

Tertiary institutions in the 21st century are both globally connected and locally engaged, playing an important role in communities. They help to develop globally minded citizens, acting as conduits to international partnerships, creating the conditions for industry collaboration and social innovation. They also act as agents of social change, inclusion and mobility.

This year's conference will seek to answer these questions:

  • Against the backdrop of financial, environmental and political challenges how can leaders and policymakers develop a well-understood role for institutions in terms of their social obligation and knowledge economy impact?
  • What are the priorities in ensuring national tertiary education is fit to shape societies of the future, meet the future needs of students, employers and communities?
  • How can global tertiary networks contribute to their achievement?

Session highlights

Going Global 2018 held 36 sessions with presentations from some of the world's leading academics, industry leaders and policy influencers. 

We've picked some of the key takeaways from our packed three day schedule: 

  • New research was presented showing that the ASEAN region is becoming more open for international engagement, and that there is an ASEAN-centric approach to international higher education that is distinctive to the region despite the diversity of policies adopted by different countries. 
  • Professor Noor Azizi Bin Ismail, Deputy General of Higher Education, Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia told delegates that the country’s education blueprint aimed to position it as one of the key higher education hubs in the world because of the importance of education to social and economic development. The 2015-2025 education blue-print included key emphasis on entrepreneurship education including funding and support for women entrepreneurs and rural communities.
  • Internationalisation is changing from outward to inward looking. Instead of sending students out across the world, the new internationalisation is bringing them back through joint ventures, franchises, articulation and accreditation agreements, said John Bramwell, the Interim Director for Education Policy at the British Council. Increasingly national strategies are sitting alongside institutional objectives and international policies are focussing on specific subjects or education levels, most frequently post-graduate, said John Bramwell.
  • The provisional findings of research for the British Council were presented into refugees in Lebanon and Jordan, aiming at getting their voice heard by understanding their needs and attitudes to the different education services offered to them.
  • The question of knowledge diplomacy in the 21st century and what part universities can – or should – play in it was debated at a session chaired by Jo Beall, the British Council’s Director of Education and Society and hosted with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). 

Session resources

If you are interested in any session resource, audio file or video, please get in touch with our team.

Take a look at the 2018 conference programme to get an overview of all the speakers, sessions, sponsors and other activities.