Internationalization has become an agenda of key strategic importance to higher education institutions across the world, in response to increasing geopolitical and economic imperatives. In recent years, there has been a mounting concern regarding the effects of predominantly neoliberal drivers for internationalization and a growing interest in rethinking and reconceptualising internationalization in higher education.
The papers in this special issue ‘Internationalization of Higher Education: drivers, rationales, priorities, values and impacts’ published in the European Journal of Higher Education aim to contribute to a critically reflective interdisciplinary discussion on the phenomena of internationalization. They provide insights into the challenges and implications for higher education policy makers, leaders and practitioners to adopt more ethical and values-driven internationalisation strategies and practices. They argue the need for systemic change in the ways we conceptualise ‘excellent’ and ‘world class’ knowledge, research and teaching in both national and institutional contexts. Our intention is to contribute towards rethinking what the process of internationalising the university can entail, and reflect the need for a deep-reaching systemic change in the core missions of higher education to enable the generation, adaptation and diffusion of knowledge and to enhance the quality of interpersonal relationships in cross-cultural encounters. The papers propose new methods and approaches to research and practice that explore higher education internationalisation as a multidimensional, dynamic and potentially transformative process.