IIE Network - Spring 2014 - (Page 18)

INTERVIEW SERIES An Interview with Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, Minister of Education and Research, Government of Norway Conducted by Daniel Obst TORBJØRN RØE ISAKSEN assumed office as the Norwegian Minister of Education and Research in October 2013. Prior to his appointment he was an elected Member of Parliament, serving in the Employment and Social Committee. Mr. Røe Isaksen holds a MA in Political Science from the University of Oslo and spent one year in the United States as a student at Carl Junction High School in Missouri. The Ministry is currently funding a partnership program for cooperation in higher education with the United States and Canada. IIE Deputy Vice President Daniel Obst recently spoke to Minister Røe Isaksen about Norway's higher education initiatives at the annual Transatlantic Science Week organized by the Royal Norwegian Embassy. Obst: How did your high school study abroad experience in Missouri impact how you see U.S.-Norway university cooperation? Minister: It was a great experience. I learned many things in school, but I also learned from being part of a different country and seeing things from a different perspective. There are so many advantages to going to school abroad. It gives you an opportunity to attend an institution with a different perspective and to have a cultural experience, which I think is becoming more and more important. Studying in the United States is interesting because, in most cases, you will study not just with Americans. The United States, like many other places, is a very international country, and higher education is very internationalized. Obst: What is the Ministry of Higher Education and Research doing to internationalize higher education in Norway? What is your hope and vision for what universities in Norway will look like in the next five years, or so? Minister: I will start off more broadly by answering the second question first. Norway has a long coastline, and we have always been a very international country, even if it is not necessarily a very wellknown country in the rest of the world. Sometimes I will joke and say that it first became international when the Vikings went to plunder in Ireland and Britain. But the truth is that Norway has always been built on trade and openness towards the world. For a time, the second greatest percentage of migrants entering the United States came from Norway, after Ireland. We have churches all over the world and are the Scandinavian country with the most embassies. So, we are a very international country, and I think that higher education in Norway is very international as well. But, we have tended to think of internationalization as our favor to the world-as part of Norway's altruistic policies. Also, as an interesting side note, the Norwegian Association for Students Abroad was founded in 1956 with one specific purpose: to stop students from studying abroad. It was considered a disgrace that people had to leave Norway to study. My point is that this has all changed now. Today we 18 Torbjørn Røe Isaksen Minister of Education and Research in Norway, at Transatlantic Science Week in Washington, DC. see that, as an open and competitive economy, we are dependent on internationalized higher education institutions-and not just because Norway has something to offer to the world. We are dependent on it in order to be an open, wealthy economy and to continue developing. We want more Norwegian students to go abroad. To accomplish this, we have set up a very good student-financing scheme-perhaps the best in the world. We have given them every financial incentive to do it. Six or seven years ago the financial incentives were almost as good as they are today, but still only a thousand students studied in America. We need to do something more to encourage other students to go abroad. So far we have had a special focus on the United States and Canada. I think the next step is to concentrate on other places as well. Asia is also important for Norway. Asian countries are significant trading partners, and politically they are interesting. So that might be the next step. Obst: IIE recently set a target to double the number of American students studying abroad by the end of the decade. Looking at the relatively low number of students going to Norway, we would like to also see this number double. What are your thoughts of increasing the number of Americans going to Norway? Minister: We could approach this in different ways. First, I think we should utilize the fact that five million Americans have Norwegian heritage and even more have Scandinavian heritage. This connection might make people more interested to come to Norway. I think we should also look at our comparative advantages. Northern areas in the world are drawing attention and becoming more important www.iie.org/iienetworker http://www.iie.org/iienetworker

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Network - Spring 2014

A Message from Allan E. Goodman
News
2014 IIE Andrew Heiskell Awards for Innovation in International Education
An Interview with Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, Minister of Education and Research, Government of Norway
Introduction to the Globalization of International Education
Internationalization as Acquisitions, Mergers, and Synergy: A Value-Based Framework of Internationalization
Globalized Internationalization: Implications for Policy and Practice
Advocating the Value of Experiential Learning in the Age of Globalization
The Translocal Urban Nexus in International Education: Trinity College in China and Southeast Asia
Mission Apt: Evolving Strategies for Global Student Recruitment
Global Research Networks: Experiments in Internationalization
Two Models of Global Learning
Advertisers Index
Final Thought: Fostering Global Research Capacity Through Multilateral Partnerships: The Global Innovation Initiative

IIE Network - Spring 2014

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