Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Is International Education an Agent of Democratization?


One of the first papers I wrote in my doctoral program in Comparative and Interntional Education was entitled International Education as an Agent of Democratization. I did alright on the paper and in the class. It wasn't ground breaking research nor was it spectacular writing but it laid the foundation for my current reseach interests on this topic as well as on soft power, public/citizen/cultural diplomacy which I have blogged about from time to time on IHEC Blog.

For this post I thought I would put forth a short (and purposefully vague) question with the hope that IHEC Blog readers will leave a comment in response

Question: Is international education an agent of democratization?
Update: I've heard from a few people that it would be helpful if I provide a definintion/more information and I'm happy to do that. This IHEC Blog post is guided by Aaron Benavot’s (1999) question “What are the specific mechanisms and processes linking higher education and increasing levels of democracy in the recent period?” Benavot suggests that one research approach should focus on “students studying abroad, particularly those in North American or Western European universities, where foreign students often receive firsthand exposure to democratic institutions and practices.”

Reference:
Benavot, A. (1999). Education and political democratization: Cross-national and longitudinal findings. In N.F. McGinn, & E.H. Epstein (Eds.), Comparative Perspectives on the Role of Education in Democratization (pp. 45-79). Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Peter Lang GmbH.

I'd love to hear what you think so please leave a comment. Thanks ~ David

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