Webinar – Internationalization of Higher Education

On July 1, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (TSU) held a webinar to assess the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on internationalization of higher education. Rector of TSU, Dr. George Sharvashidze, Prof. Hans de Wit, Director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, Prof. Elspeth Jones, Emerita Professor of the Internationalization of Higher Education at Leeds Beckett University and Alexander Hasgall, Head of the EUA Council for Doctoral Education were among the panelists of the webinar “Internationalization of Higher Education.” 
The panelists noted that along with negative consequences, the coronavirus pandemic had a positive effect on internationalization of higher education. 
Rector Sharvashidze said that the universities managed to do within three weeks what they failed to do over the past 10 years, clarifying that open educational resources were created and universities opened their own libraries to broader public. Moreover, legislative amendments were made regarding online learning, and dissertations were also defended online. 
Prof. Hans de Wit, Director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, said that the COVID-19 crisis highlighted the need for collaboration. He noted that prior to the crisis internationalization was much related to the competition – competition for rankings, competition for funding, and not to collaboration. The crisis showed that there are no borders, and global society and collaboration were needed to solve the problem, he added. 
The participants of the webinar discussed a number of issues, among others definition of internationalization and its importance today; ensuring internationalization of higher education amid restricted international mobility; ensuring internationalization of curricula generally and under the pandemic; moving to result-oriented internationalization of higher education; ensuring internationalization of doctoral education as well as ensuring internationalization for the entire university community. 
A Q&A session was held by the end of the webinar, where the panelists responded to the questions received via Zoom and Facebook Live. 

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