Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions

Living Edition
| Editors: Pedro Teixeira (Editor-in-Chief), Jung Cheol Shin (Editor-in-Chief)

Internationalization of Higher Education, Historical Perspective

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-9553-1_222-1



The intentional process of integrating an international, intercultural or global dimension into the purpose, functions and delivery of postsecondary education, in order to enhance the quality of education and research for all students and staff and to make a meaningful contribution to society.


One can argue that higher education by its nature always has been international, either in the concept of universal knowledge or in the movement of students and scholars. Altbach (1998) refers to the university as an institution that is global by nature and history. Kerr (1994) states that universities are essentially international but at the same time acknowledge that “they have been living, increasingly, in a world of nation-states that have designs on them” (p. 6). As de Wit and Merkx (2012, p. 43, see also de Wit 2002, pp. 3–18) remark, references to the global nature of universities...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for International Higher EducationBoston CollegeBostonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Hans De Wit
    • 1
  • Laura Rumbley
    • 2
  • Fiona Hunter
    • 3
  • Lisa Unangst
    • 4
  • Edward Choi
    • 5
  1. 1.Center for International Higher EducationBoston CollegeBostonUSA
  2. 2.Center for International Higher EducationBoston CollegeChestnut HillUSA
  3. 3.Centre for Higher Education InternationalisationUniversità Cattolica del Sacro CuoreMilanoItaly
  4. 4.Center for International Higher EducationBoston CollegeChestnut HillUSA
  5. 5.Center for International Higher EducationBoston CollegeChestnut HillUSA