Monash VC Gardner on a great tradition

Monash University was part of the creation of Australian international education and those events half century past connect it to the eternal ideals of higher education, Margaret Gardner, explains in her Sir Zelman Cowan Oration for the Australian Institute of International Affairs-Victoria, this week.

“While a university may have been established to serve a nation or a region, its ability to do so depended in significant part on borderless exchange of knowledge and scholars,” theMonash VC Gardner on a great tradition  said in her speech on the great tradition of Australian international education, “from the Colombo Plan to the Asian Century.”

It is a tradition, and continuing practise, that extends far beyond students from overseas on campuses here, encompassing Australians teaching and studying abroad and the free flow of academics across the world. “There is a richer story of internationalisation, than is generally understood. … This story is rarely seen at this scale nor so widespread across all the public universities in a system.” Professor Gardner said.

And it is the result of governments with vision and universities with courage. “We got to this point because at key moments federal government policy opened the door and Australian universities stepped firmly through.”

The future of higher education in Australia depends on it continuing to connect the borderless scholars of the Middle Ages to our world.

“There is no international education or research that is separate from domestic education and research. There is no high quality domestic higher education or research, or high quality Australian university, unless it is also international.  True excellence in university education and research cannot be realised without some depth of global engagement and understanding,” she said.


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