The future of soft diplomacy in the post-pandemic world: how do we reshape international education?

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Introduction: Australian education is world-renowned for its integrity and quality and is underpinned by robust regulatory frameworks. Historically, Australian education has played an important part in the capability development within our region through initiatives such as the Colombo Plan and more recently the New Colombo Plan. Australian International education export ranks among the top three exports for our nation. The vast majority of this export is generated through students traveling to Australia to study in public and private education institutions.
Context/ Background: COVID-19 has fundamentally disrupted the international education sector through travel bans and closed borders making it increasingly difficult for prospective international students coming into Australia for their education. More recently, the pandemic has contributed to a growing sense of protectionism among nations leading to trade and geopolitical tensions in our region, and therefore, it is more important than ever to leverage our strength in transnational education for soft diplomacy.
Points of debate: Post pandemic, the Asia Pacific region is also likely to witness rapid economic growth and present enormous opportunities for our sector. These include:
• contribute to the acute skills shortages in our region
• learn and share knowledge through research collaborations to combat complex social and business problems
• building Australia’s soft power through education and our future prosperity is maintained through trade and investment.
The presentation will discuss:
• How does the international education sector look post-pandemic?
• What are the emerging opportunities?
• How prepared are we to leverage these opportunities?
• What policy framework is required to realise the post-pandemic opportunities?
• What support do we need as a sector from governments and regulators to leverage this opportunity sustainably?
Intended outcome: A shared understanding in the higher education sector among academics and policymakers to realise opportunities
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2022


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