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IHES Virtual Conference 2021
Showcasing examples of good practice around the world 
Internationalisation in Higher Education for Society (IHES)
8-9 December 2021

Key panelists

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Caroline Benton

"The UN’s SDGs highlight the critical issues facing humanity today. IHES activities will build collaboration amongst global stakeholders, including researchers, students and industrial partners, that is essential for creating the knowledge and human resources for their resolution."

Caroline Benton was appointed Vice President of Global Affairs in 2013 and Executive Director of the University of Tsukuba in 2015, after serving as chair of the university’s MBA Program in International Business. Her responsibilities include building global partnerships in research and education and promoting the internationalization of the internal environment of the university.

She is also Director General of the university’s Bureau of Global Initiatives and serves on various committees including the Japanese Association of National Universities’ International Exchange Committee as an expert member, the International Olympic Committee’s Education Commission, and the Research Organization for Information and Systems Education and Research Council. 

Her research interests lie in knowledge management, global leadership, and subjective well-being; her research projects include a 12-country study on the learning mechanism of global leadership competencies, a comparative study on global-mindedness in youth, and most recently a Japanese government-funded study on well-being and happiness in corporations. 

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Verity Firth


"Covid19 comes alongside a set of pressing societal challenges including the impending crises of global warming and the unresolved ‘wicked issues’ associated with global inequality.  Universities have an important role to play as anchor institutions that support communities in transition.  Rather than undertaking knowledge work on behalf of society, they must undertake it in collaboration with society.  The SDGs speak directly to this work, but none more so than SDG 17 – ‘Partnerships for the Goals’."

The Hon. Verity Firth is the Executive Director, Social Justice at the Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion, University of Technology Sydney. The Centre acts as a gateway for UTS to respond to community need, building connections for community groups, not-for-profits and government agencies to access the university’s resources and collaborate on social justice issues. It also runs the university’s widening participation programs, focusing on increased access to university for students from low socio-economic status backgrounds.  The Centre is responsible for the university community engaged student programs and co-edits the Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement with Albion College.

Ms Firth has spent fifteen years working to address educational disadvantage in Australia, as Minister for Education and Training from 2008-2011 and as the Chief Executive of the Public Education Foundation from 2011-2015.

As Minister for Education and Training she focussed on equity in education, and how to best address educational disadvantage in low socio economic communities, including rural and remote Indigenous communities.  As CEO of the Public Education Foundation she led the Foundation's transformation from a fledgling organisation into a major provider of financial and advocacy support to public education.

Ms Firth is on the Board of Engagement Australia and chair of the National Advisory Committee for the Network for Community Engagement and Carnegie Classification – Australia. 


Robin Helms


"The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the interconnectedness of our world – both positive and negative aspects – and magnified deep inequalities that persist in our global society.  Through internationalization and global partnerships, higher education has a critical role to play in amplifying the positive aspects of global interconnectedness to advance the SDGs, promote equity, and ultimately enhance the quality of life worldwide."

Robin Matross Helms is Assistant Vice President for Programs and Global Initiatives at the American Council on Education (ACE). Her portfolio includes the Internationalization Laboratory and Learner Success Lab, professional learning program development, and ACE's international research agenda.

Helms's previous experience includes program management for the Institute of International Education, EF Education, and CET Academic Programs, and faculty development program management at the University of Minnesota. She has also worked as a consultant to a number of organizations in the international and higher education fields, including the World Bank, the Institute for Higher Education Policy, the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, and the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Helms holds an AB degree in East Asian Studies from Princeton University and an MBA and PhD in higher education administration from Boston College. ​​

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Jamil Salmi

"SDGs are important for internationalization because they represent a purpose and framework to organize internationalization activities that do not happen for their own sakeThey give meaning to what universities seek to achieve when they work with foreign partners: to provide an educational experience and conduct research that have a positive impact on the life of students, academics, and the communities served by universities."

Jamil Salmi is a global tertiary education expert providing policy advice to governments, universities, and development agencies.  Until January 2012, he was the World Bank’s tertiary education coordinator. In the past twenty-six years, Dr. Salmi has provided advice on tertiary education development in more than 100 countries. Dr. Salmi is Emeritus Professor of higher education policy at Diego Portales University in Chile and Research Fellow at Boston College’s Centre for International Higher Education. His latest book, “Tertiary Education and the Sustainable Development Goals”, was published in August 2017.


Uwe Brandenburg


"Internationalisation in Higher Education for Society (IHES) relates to many of the SDGs. Predominantly, I think we need to look at those referring to the environment, education and poverty because those are the key problems to which IHES can contribute some solutions. Sustainable and green internationalisation is one of the key pillars of IHES." 

Uwe Brandenburg is the Director of the Global Impact Institute and Assoc. Prof. at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili.

He has worked in internationalisation for more than 20 years and published widely on impact, measuring and strategy. He developed the idea of IHES and elaborated it together with Hans de Wit, Betty Leask and Elspeth Jones in two major UWN blogs in 2019. Uwe currently leads a study on IHES commissioned by the German DAAD and conducted an experimental design together with a lecturer from Swansea University on teaching the public on terrorism and media.




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