Glocal Development for Sustainable Social Change

  • Fay PatelEmail author
Living reference work entry


Several contested concepts are introduced and critically reviewed to explore the role of glocal (local and global) communities as partners in promoting sustainable social change. In order for Glocal Development (GD) and Glocalization of Learning to contribute to sustainable social change as outlined in the 2030 sustainable development goals (SDGs), it is necessary for international higher education to mobilize as a social responsibility community engagement agent. To this end, it is proposed that a Higher Education Social Responsibility (HESR) Strategy be implemented within and across glocal higher education institutions to generate HESR funds that will enable adoption of one or several of the 2030 SDGs (relevant to their strengths and to their stakeholder community needs).

Glocal Development and the Glocal Engagement Framework encourage the building of glocal communities through the respectful co-construction of knowledge from indigenous, local, and global community knowledge perspectives. The GEF provides international higher education opportunity to adopt the 2030 Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) in an effort to focus on Glocal Development.

The author asserts that international higher education can play a significant role in the delivery of the 2030 Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) if it adopts the Glocal Engagement Framework to promote the glocalization of learning. In subscribing to the critical paradigm, the author challenges the “old development communication paradigm” which dichotomized glocal community needs and aspirations in the early decades of the last century.


Glocal development Glocalization of learning Higher education social responsibility Sustainable development 

List of Abbreviations


Glocal Development


Glocal Engagement Dimensions


Glocal Engagement Framework


Glocalization of Learning


Principles of Glocal Engagement


Sustainability Development Goals

In September 2015, when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) to enhance the quality of life of future generations, there was also an acknowledgement that the nations of the world failed in their mission to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goals. In adopting the 17 SDGs, it was noted that the SDGs “seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what they did not achieve” (General Assembly Resolution 2015, p. 1). Although the Preamble to the Resolution has traces of the previous rhetoric such as eradicating poverty and strengthening universal peace, more importantly the 2015 Resolutions emphasized that the SDGs were not only “to realize the human rights of all” including gender equality of women but also the SGDs “are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social, and environmental” as a “new universal agenda.” It is within this universal agenda context that international higher education has a critical role in leading Glocal Development and driving sustainable social change. The author reiterates her assertion that “higher education is a catalyst for social change” (Patel 2017a, p. 1) and that “international higher education institutions have an obligation to embrace and communicate a social change agenda to transform their policy, practice and structures to remain current” (Patel 2017a, p. 2). The United Nations General Assembly has identified that social change agenda, so international higher education and universities in particular, have a responsibility to commit and deliver on the 2030 SDGs “new universal agenda.” With the 2030 SDGs Resolution already 3 years old, it is time to take stock of policies, practices, and structures in international higher education that have been implemented to demonstrate their commitment to the universal agenda. It is also necessary to identify how and what international higher education institutions can contribute to the 2030 SDGs moving forward.

Alternate concepts are introduced, defined, and examined in context, as they emerge, through a critical paradigm lens in order to raise pertinent questions about the socioeconomic and political inequities that emerge around the role of social change agency role of higher education institutions internationally.

Glocal Development (GD), which focuses on the enhancement of quality of life of both local and global (glocal) communities as a partnership from their combined perspectives as one humanity, is introduced as an alternative to Development Communication and International Development. Glocalization of Learning, which advocates for the implementation of the Glocal Engagement Framework (GEF), is posited as a glocal community engagement guideline. The GEF promotes equity, diversity, and inclusivity to bridge the divide between glocal communities with a future-oriented international higher education framework for implementation. There are two components in the GEF which include Glocal Engagement Dimensions (GED) to develop and demonstrate desirable attributes for effective social change agency at an individual and team level and the Principles of Glocal Engagement (PGE) that articulate the considerations in and conditions of successful glocal engagement.

The author invites the readership to question inequities in society and demand that international higher education reinstates a values-based education agenda with human-centered priorities that align with the 2030 SDGs. It is through organized collaborative and partner efforts at glocal community engagement and through commitment to higher education social responsibility agendas that the 2030 SDGs will be met on target. As we move toward 2030, the corporate economic agenda should become replaced with a sustainability development agenda at greater speed. International higher education has, unfortunately, become subsumed by the economic or corporate agenda. Cavanagh and Mander (2004, p. 33) note that “Modern globalization is not an expression of evolution. It was designed by human beings with a specific goal: to give primacy to economic-that is, corporate- values above all other values and to aggressively install and codify these values globally.”

In the next section, the old paradigm of development communication that rationalized the export of machinery and technology as modernity standards from the West to other nations is discussed. It is presented as an overview on past and present trends in international communication development that continues to impact the political economy of glocal communities.

Overview and Discussion of Development Communication

Development Communication, Modernity, and Corporate Globalization

The “old development communication paradigm” dichotomized local and global (glocal) community needs and aspirations about their quality of life. Similarities between the historical origins of the old development communication paradigm of the 1950s and 1960s (Schramm 1964; Lerner 1958) and the current trends are noted: (a) in the export of new communication technologies (e.g., learning management systems, smartphones, multiple options for online learning, chats, collaboration), over the last decade from the West to developing communities in other regions, and (b) in replicating the underlying “economic globalization” or the corporate globalization agenda (Cavanagh and Mander 2004, pp. 34, 38); and (c) which is carefully “design[ed] for corporate rule” (Cavanagh and Mander 2004, pp. 32–54). The ebb and flow of current economic trends globally are monitored by the “three major global institutions (World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization) (p. 55) that create and express the rules of economic globalization” referred to as the “unholy trinity” and which facilitate the ideal of modernity and modernization in international development as a desirable outcome for developing communities.

At the present time, the push toward technological advancement of disadvantaged communities in the “Third World” to adopt the new communication technologies as a modernity standard (McMichael 2004;Thussu 2000; Stevenson 1988) repeats history as McMichael (2004, p. 23) asserts, “development/modernity became the standard by which other societies were judged,” following President Truman’s proclamation in 1949. In the present day, the breadth and depth of one’s consumption and possession of technology gadgets have become measures by which development/modernity is also judged. “Technology has become the tool of a cult of success implying the dwelling on growth and progress in line with the modernization ideology” (Servaes 2014, p. xiv). Servaes (2014, p. xiv) further maintains that “the technological deterministic approach played a significant role in the so-called modernization perspectives (Servaes 1999). It saw technology as value -free and a politically neutral asset that can be used in every society and historical context as a driving force of social change.”

Technologization and Consumption

Those unfamiliar with the origins of the field of mass communication and communication studies may not be aware of the hegemonic presence of the West and Western ideal in the assumptions made in the manufacturing and management of the old world order in which development communication dichotomized the needs of the so-called First World and Third World communities when it came to the export of industrial and agricultural machinery and experiments from the Western nations to other “Third World” nations. The current technological revolution in newly emerging communication media in general, in their various generations, and, in particular, the mass export of education communication commodities in international higher education continues to resemble the export market economy of the 1950s and 1960s.Technology consumption is not a new phenomenon as it was a focus of concern decades ago (Lancaster 1966) and continues to be of interest at the present time when the sophistication of technology and consumption of technology have grown considerably (Raven 2013). However, what is of concern is that five decades later, technologization and the consumption of technology are also being regarded as standards of modernity, and judgements of modernity continue to be measured according to the quantity, brand name, and most recent technology device one has acquired. Raven maintains that technology consumption in 1999 was at “6 h of average daily intake,” whereas in 2009 it had increased to “10 h and 45 min.” In an age where the higher education providers, educators, and their education seeking publics continue to consume technology at an alarming rate (Lancaster 1966; Raven 2013; Servaes 2014) in their daily dose (or overdose?) of technology, it becomes necessary to contest these similar behaviors that resemble the old development paradigm under guise of innovation. In interrogating the observed behaviors, and through critical self-reflection and ongoing research, international higher education stakeholders are expected to action change as they reconstruct their destinies as a sustainable community at harmony with their people, planet, and environment. “Sustainable development is impossible without a change in the way of thinking that mankind can steward nature by using technology” (Servaes 2014, p. xvii).

International Development Communication, Injustice of Modernity, and “Bonded Development”

It is evident through a historical glance over the literature in international communication and development of the last century that hegemonic economic agenda of the West is a well-orchestrated corporate globalization strategy that has successfully ensured that the “Third World,” “the remaining half of humanity…regarded as impoverished in standard comparative economic terms” (McMichael 2004, p. 22) remain in a state of “bonded development” (Patel et al. 2012, p. 12) which “refers to a form of existence where developing communities (the poor and the starving populations of the world) remain in bondage to their masters in one form or another.” The 2030 SDGs are an opportunity to redress “the injustices of modernity” which “requires the revitalization of a social consciousness that invokes socially just frameworks to uplift the quality of life for developing communities within and across developed [First/Second World] and developing world [Third World] contexts” (Patel et al. 2012, p. 13). The 2030 SDGs have set the agenda for pursuing a values-driven humanistic agenda built on partnership, collaboration, and community engagement.

In the section that follows, the author introduces and elaborates on the notion of Glocal Development (GD) as a future-oriented, sustainable development paradigm of development as an alternative to the old development communication paradigm. Next, the 2030 SDGs are examined regarding their strengths and challenges. The examination extends to a discussion about the proposed adoption of the Glocalization of Learning perspective in international higher education which is embedded within a holistic Glocal Engagement Framework (GEF), as an alternative to the internationalization of higher education model (Patel 2017b, UWN, September 2017). The author maintains that in a Glocal Development context and within the Glocal Engagement Framework, international higher education can adopt all of the 2030 SDGs, thereby endorsing these 17 goals as the priority agenda through commitment to a Higher Education Social Responsibility (HESR) Strategy that attracts a social responsibility fund, from among internal and external stakeholders, for social development projects that action change. Finally, propositions are submitted for embedding the 2030 SDGs within a proactive international higher education agenda through the development of policy, practice, and structures that celebrate the diversity, equity, and inclusivity attributes of both the GD and GEF.

In challenging the old development communication paradigm of the 1950s and 1960s as a dominant world order that aspired mainly to uphold Western ideals and which continues to maintain the balance of the current political economy in favor of the West, the author introduces the term Glocal Development as an inclusive, equitable, and diversity embracing paradigm.

Glocal Development

Glocal Development (GD) refers to the simultaneous development of both local and global communities as a partnership in human endeavor rather than as an economic venture where one partner is subordinate to the other. In this way, GD builds glocal communities based on equity, inclusivity, and diversity principles and subscribes to the “third culture” (Lee) building perspective in which “cultural wealth” (Patel) is the “transactional currency”. As an alternative to the old development communication paradigm of the last century which continues to divide local and global community resources and threatens the sustainability of their collective futures, GD connects the local and global community development needs as a social change imperative. In GD, there is an imperative for the empowerment of local and global communities who take responsibility for their collective sustainable futures through collaboration, partnerships, and co-construction of knowledge, policy, practice, and structures that will benefit them as a single humanity. Various labels (international development, development communication, international development communication, modernity) have been used to describe the hegemonic influence of Western agendas of the “First World” on the “Third World” (Chomsky 2003; Thussu 2000). For example, Thussu (2000, p. 19) contends that in the 1950s, the world became divided between the First World countries that upheld capitalism led by the United States with the Second World that was made up by communist countries led by Russia. The label Third World emerged referring to those countries that were outside the capitalist and communist divide; other scholars (Chomsky 2003; McMichael 2004) have proffered similar explanations. The author introduced the term “developing communities” as an alternative reference to Third World and developed communities as an alternative to First/Second World (Patel et al. 2012). Within the context of this chapter, the terms are used interchangeably as they appear in international literature. The author also notes that in the last two decades (1998–2018), due to the mass migration of developing communities in search of better quality of life, job security, and human-centered sustainable futures while escaping the atrocities of war and conflict and tyrannical rulers in the different regions of the world, there is a blurry line between developing and developed communities. Many migrants from Third World nations live amidst of First/Second World and are hungry, homeless, and poor. At the same time, among the First/Second World populations, the local indigenous communities also are hungry, homeless, and poor.

Glocal Development is an equalizer of sorts as it attempts to remove the divisional references among the communities from the three worlds and to encourage partnership and collaboration among the developed communities and the developing communities (as noted in Patel 2012, which were referred in the early decades of the twentieth century as the First, Second, and Third World, respectively).

Within the Glocal Development paradigm, there is a linkage between the local, indigenous communities and the global, international communities based on their partnership as a single humanity that aims at building sustainable futures to benefit all people.

It is the partnership, collaborative, and integrated vision of Glocal Development that responds unconditionally to the 2030 SDGs “goals and targets” to “stimulate action over the next 15 years in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet” (United Nations Resolution, p. 1). Within the Glocal Development paradigm, as with Lee’s third culture theoretical approach, one community is not subjugated by the other, and community engagement and dialogue occur in an open, mutually respectful space in which the well-being and prosperity of both the local and global communities are intrinsically interwoven so that, as noted in the 2030 SDGs Resolution, their combined efforts will ensure that among them, they will honor the Resolution (pp. 1–2) so that people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership will remain the beacons to move forward as a glocal community.

The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals Universal Agenda

In upholding the 2030 SDGs as fundamental higher education goals that will benefit glocal communities as one humanity, Glocal Development and the Glocalization of Learning Framework will redirect international higher education to its ultimate responsibility as a catalyst for sustainable social change, imbibing human values as critical elements for the future generations.

The 2030 SDGs are listed below (from General Assembly Resolution, 25 September 2015 to demonstrate the depth and breadth of the 17 SDGs, followed by a discussion of how the international higher education community can work within the integrated and interlinked community model envisaged by the United Nations General Assembly.

Adopting and Implementing the 2030 SDGs Universal Agenda

The author explores and highlights the challenges for international higher education of pursuing and implementing the SDGs within a Glocal Development paradigm and the Glocal Engagement Framework through the HESR strategy. The 2030 SDGs (all 17 goals) advocate human values necessary for sustainable living as an integrated community through community engagement to combat poverty, hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water, life on land, peace, justice and strong institutions, and partnerships for the goals.

The international higher education (IHE) community has vast human resources and a combination of skills and competencies to respond fully to all 17 SDGs through a mutually respectful agenda setting process for community engagement and partnership within and across regions. The community needs to have the will to change (Patel 2011, p. 57) and to adopt the Glocal Engagement Framework with necessary adaptation to local contexts and needs, as relevant, and to be steadfast in implementing the agenda with firm timelines to coincide with the 2030 SDG deadline. The author contends that the 2030 SDGs provide opportunities for creative thought and context-based innovative solutions (Patel 2014) and acknowledges that in some instances it may be acceptable to identify and “follow” best practices. The agenda requires monitoring of progress toward the desired transformation and an ongoing continuous improvement process to evaluate desired progress with the remit to halt abuse of resources and exploitation of glocal communities in the name of the 2030 SGD transformation goals and to redirect misdirected goals.

Glocalization of Learning, Glocal Engagement Framework, and Higher Education Social Responsibility (HESR) Strategy

The author asserts that the adoption of the glocalization of learning perspective requires a mainstream embedded approach for it to be successful in upholding the international higher education institution’s commitment to the 2030 SDGs. This means that the institution is expected to adopt the Glocal Engagement Framework and the Higher Education Social Responsibility (HESR) Strategy as a policy and practice with established structures for swift and effective implementation of the 2030 Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs).

The Glocal Engagement Framework has been articulated in greater detail in a previous paper on the deconstruction of internationalization (Patel 2017b). The Framework is briefly explained, and the Figures (Figs. 1, 2, and 3) are reproduced with the permission of the journal editor. The Glocalization Engagement Framework is illustrated in Fig. 1 as a holistic approach in international higher education consisting of two critical components (Glocal Engagement Dimensions and Principles of Glocal Engagement). Both components are required for the effective design and delivery of glocalization of learning to be promoted as an equitable, diverse, and inclusive framework of learning in international higher education.
Fig. 1

The Glocal Engagement Framework (GEF) (Permission has been granted by the International Journal of Global Studies Editor Ray Scupin for use in the chapter)

Fig. 2

The Global Engagement Dimensions (GED) (Permission has been granted by the International Journal of Global Studies Editor Ray Scupin for use in the chapter)

Fig. 3

The Principles of Glocal Engagement (PGE) illustrates the adaptation of Klyukanov’s intercultural principles

The first component is the Glocal Engagement Dimensions illustrated in Fig. 2 which are a combination of intellect, emotion, morality, and action which are critical in the development of compassionate human beings. The hope is that they will engage from a value-driven perspective with local and global communities and respond appropriately to the needs of glocal communities affected by natural and/or human disasters and strife.

The second component is the Principles of Glocal Engagement which are an adaptation of Klyukanov’s ten principles of intercultural communication. For an appropriate full response to the 2030 SDGs, glocal community stakeholders would have to be familiar with and informed about the Principles of Glocal Engagement together with the Glocal Engagement Dimensions because all four dimensions (intellect, emotion, morality, and action) are required in efforts to drive social change through mutually acceptable and respectful community engagement.

In adopting the Glocalization Engagement Framework as a holistic mainstream policy, practice, and structure, international higher education will prepare its stakeholders (leadership, learners, professionals, administrators, communities, and industry partners) to imbibe a human spirit that transcends all physical and virtual barriers to achieve the 2030 SDGs.

In addition to the GE Framework, the international higher education community is encouraged to adopt the Higher Education Social Responsibility Strategy (HESR) which requires that the institution and all its faculties, schools, and colleges, along with other independent departments and units, contribute a portion of their budgets toward a social responsibility fund that will support research, teaching, and learning within an integrated and interconnected institution-community engagement approach. The Higher Education Social Responsibility Strategy budget is not the same as the Corporate Social Responsibility budget distributed by large and small corporations as a social responsibility contribution to less advantaged communities. HESR budgets are integral to the overall mission and vision of the higher education institution in delivering a transformative higher education agenda that is aligned with the 2030 SGDs. HESR budgets are developed within the institution and distributed equitably across stakeholder groups to deliver on their chosen 2030 SDGs through research, teaching and learning programs, projects, and agendas that impact sustainable social change within local and global (glocal) communities. The Higher Education Social Responsibility Strategy will lead and oversee the gathering of the social responsibility funds and the implementation of social development projects that will benefit the local, regional, national, and international communities to improve their quality of life.

Propositions for Sustainable Social Change

The author subscribes to “context-based innovative solutions” and encourages the seeking of “creative solutions” instead of indiscriminate adoption of “best practices” (Patel 2012, p. 474) and expects guidelines to be adapted to suit the needs of diverse communities so that meaningful, sustainable development is part of actioned social change. In this way, glocal communities will respond meaningfully to the 2030 SDGs and find a myriad context-based innovative solution through community engagement as a partnership in Glocal Development.

So how would international higher education institutions organize themselves around the HESR and the GEF to champion the 2030 SDGs? There are multiple options, opportunities, and permutations that can be explored to creatively design organizational models for glocal community engagement. Glocal communities can adopt the GEF and HESR Strategy as perceived through the author’s lens, or they may want to modify existing policies or develop new policies, practices, and structures that are context-based innovative solutions.

Glocal Development and Glocalization of Learning perspectives within which the Glocal Engagement Framework is embedded along with the Higher Education Social Responsibility Strategy are expansive concepts that provide “open spaces for glo[c]al engagement” (Patel et al. 2014). Stakeholder communities are encouraged to explore creative and innovative responses that will in effect be integrated and interlinked among local and global community groups as partnerships to achieve each of the 17 SDGs in ways that have yet to be imagined.

However, the author also submits propositions or critical thought throughout the chapter. As noted in the preceding section, the guidelines must be critically assessed and modified for relevance to the glocal context in which action for change is necessary. In this way, the 2030 SDGs are transformed into the desirable, appropriate innovative solutions among the glocal communities that are affected by any one or more of the 17 SDGs. It is through the glocal efforts of all stakeholders that the 2030 SDGs will become transformed into sustainable living conditions for all.

Within national boundaries, implementation of the 2030 SDGs will require meticulous organization and leadership of 2030 SDG Working Groups (translated into regional indigenous forms of agency for change and transformation) so that the Working Groups work in harmony with indigenous groups to design the level, degree, and area of transformation required in their region. In other words, the GEF and the HESR Strategy ensure that the fundamental mobilization of community, resources, collaborators, and partners is in tandem with the 17 SDGs. The stakeholder groups will decide in a transparent, accountable, and responsible manner and in accordance with principles of equity, diversity, and inclusivity, which SDG/SDGs they will adopt and how they will achieve the 2030 SDG goals, one goal at a time. They will pledge their commitment to the universal agenda so that by 2030, each stakeholder group will achieve some goals through local partnerships building a sustainable community by co-constructing their collective futures together. At the same time, the local partnerships will explore extended mutually respectful partnerships with their global communities to achieve other goals. The 2030 SDG agenda can be set in motion in various ways. However, all variations of agenda setting require strict monitoring measures to assist internal and external quality assurance teams to ensure that (a) the quality of life of all communities meets the highest standard to ensure sustainable growth in their economic prosperity; (b) harmony exists among diverse communities; (c) equity of access and opportunity is paramount in the transformation of the community; and (d) inclusivity is respected of all nationalities, ethnicities, and communities as one human race.

The author highlights creative and innovative context-based solutions that have resulted in the development of policy and practice to support the 2030 SDGs in one country (Malaysia) and in one region of the world (Asia-Pacific Region). The following examples of collaborative partnerships are cited from the Openlearning Conference Keynote Presentation by the first woman vice-chancellor of a Malaysian University (Professor Asma Ismail, November 2017).

The efforts of higher education institutions in Malaysia to adopt the 2030 SDG agenda as a progressive sustainable development agenda may be categorized as Glocal Development in a region of the world where local and global communities are forming partnerships to develop sustainable quality of education to enhance quality of life. Notable exemplars of policy, practice, and structure that resemble variations of the author’s proposed Glocal Development, Glocalization of Learning, and Higher Education Social Responsibility Strategy guidelines are presented below through the exemplars from Malaysian Higher Education and the Asia-Pacific Region to support the author’s contention throughout the chapter that international higher education institutions have the privilege, authority, and capacity to lead sustainable social change. Malaysia has demonstrated through the Education Blueprints, the CEO Faculty Program, and the various community engagement programs including ACUPEN that learning can be glocalized by beginning with local indigenous knowledge perspectives and becoming harmoniously combined with global community perspectives in areas such as disaster relief and industry engagement to ensure glocal (local and global) impact. The Malaysian model can be modified to other local and global (glocal) community contexts, as relevant to their needs. The Higher Education Social Responsibility Strategy can also be creatively designed utilizing the Malaysian and Asia-Pacific Region projects and programs as a model. These can be further expanded to include mainstream integration within an international education transformation and the 2030 SDGs agenda. In adapting, modifying, and expanding the Malaysian and Asia-Pacific Region initiatives and adopting the 2030 SDGs, Glocal Development for sustainable social change will significantly impact lives among local and global communities.
  • Malaysia: Asia-Pacific Region

    At a recent conference (OpenLearning Conference, November 2017), keynote speaker Professor Asma Ismail (Vice Chancellor, USM) presented an overview of the progress made with the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013–2025 for preschool to post-secondary schools and the 2015–2025 Malaysia Education Blueprint for universities as a framework for implementing community engagement, collaboration, and a values-based education. The focus was on preparing our society for engagement in a “collaborative economy” in which the collaborative network is key. More importantly, it was stressed that “a collaborative economy is based on trust and trustworthiness without which there is no sharing of information and best practice.” Collaborative networking is about building and maintaining trust, so this is an example of the significant impact of a values-based education that is an imperative in the present and future sustainable development goals. The “digital divide” was noted as another area of social inequity, exclusion of those who have no access to technology. Other collaborative community engagement networks (ACUPEN and the CEO and Faculty partnership) were also highlighted as Malaysia’s and the Asia-Pacific Region’s remarkable capacity to respond creatively and innovatively to the 2030 SDGs through community engagement among national, regional, and international stakeholders.

  • ACUPEN: Asia-Pacific Community Engagement Network

    Professor Asma Ismail also highlighted that ACUPEN (Asia-Pacific University Community Engagement Network) was another community engagement initiative among 19 countries and 92 institutions in the region since 2011. From an International Education and a Glocal Development perspective, ACUPEN is an example of a partnership of local communities in the Asia-Pacific Region with global communities in Australia and Germany, for example, that focus on common goals for sustainable social change. The objectives include the promotion of community engagement among staff and students, capacity building, dissemination of information, and collaborative project development.

  • CEO and Faculty Program

    In this innovative university-industry partnership (that impact 90,000 staff and students), CEO’s tutor selected lecturers for 1500 h over 200 sessions. The CEO Faculty Program is an innovative partnership between industry and faculty in higher education institutions to promote industry participation and integration and exchange of knowledge and expertise among industry experts, university research communities, and students.

The Malaysian and Asia-Pacific collaborative partnership initiatives provide adequate evidence that when glocal communities and institutions of international higher education, in particular, have a will to action change, they make a wide impact on communities near and far. The collective efforts of Malaysia and the relevant stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific Region have collectively begun the rewarding and challenging task of addressing the 2030 SDGs:
  1. 1.

    (Poverty [from an International Education perspective, the region reviews technology access issues within the region, the ACUPEN, and internationally to address issues of access to technology to narrow the divide]).

  2. 2.

    (Good health and well-being [e.g., promoted through a values-based education, student community engagement, and volunteerism in disaster relief programs]).

  3. 3.

    (Quality education [through quality assurance processes to raise standards of education design and delivery to meet international education standards also noted in the 2013–2025 and 2015–2025 Malaysian Education Blueprints].

  4. 4.

    Gender equality [visible efforts are noted to meet international gender equity status, e.g., Professor Asma is the first vice-chancellor of a university, and she was the first woman in a senior leadership position in the Ministry of Education].

  5. 5.

    Decent work and economic growth [in line with international education endeavors, various industry partnerships are forged, and the CEO Faculty Program is an example of enhancing prospects for decent work and economic growth].

  6. 6.

    Innovation and infrastructure [e.g., the CEO Faculty Program is an innovative program to encourage partnerships, capacity building, and industry engagement among staff and students].

  7. 7.

    Reduced inequalities [e.g., the education blueprints are evidence of commitment to education transformation with the intent to bring Malaysian education into the international education arena through knowledge, research, and community engagement programs].

  8. 8.

    Peace, justice, and strong institution [demonstrated through ACUPEN partnerships with countries in the Asia-Pacific Region such as Laos, Bangladesh, and Nepal and multilevel collaborative initiatives, locally, regionally, and internationally with Australia and Germany].


The Malaysian programs and projects to enhance Malaysian higher education, industry partnerships, and community engagement attest Malaysian commitment to the 2030 SDGs to bring Malaysia on par with the international education endeavors, and the Asia-Pacific Region network (ACUPEN) cited above demonstrates both Malaysia’s and the Asia-Pacific Region’s commitment to enhance higher education to international standards. The blueprints and various community engagement initiatives within Malaysia and the Asia-Pacific Region are evidence of organized efforts to begin a journey of trust, respect, and compassion. As articulated by the Minister of Higher Education 2017 Dato Seri Idris Jusoh, “higher education requires humanizing and that technology should be centered on humanity and public interest” (cited in the Openlearning Conference Keynote Presentation, Professor Asma Ismail, November 2017).


The chapter explored challenges in achieving the 2030 SDGs and recommended that the SDGs be embedded in the Higher Education Social Responsibility Strategy in international higher education within a Glocal Development context. In upholding the 2030 SDGs as fundamental international higher education goals to benefit glocal communities as one humanity, the Glocal Engagement Framework and the Higher Education Social Responsibility Strategy will redirect “international higher education as a catalyst for sustainable social change.”

Both Glocal Development and the Glocal Engagement Framework face challenges because change of heart, soul, and spirit is an imperative for success. This is a challenge in the face of adverse reactions from those who wish to maintain their dominance of the corporate globalization agenda. The ultimate goal of GD and GEF is to eradicate the socioeconomic and political inequities facing local and global communities, including those who are local, indigenous communities, and migrant communities crossing through their different worlds (First, Second, and Third Worlds as defined in the communication development literature in the 1950s). Further, GD and GEF, as emerging discourses that aim for equity, also challenge the status quo in international higher education in an era that is fraught with an imbalance of socioeconomic and political power, inadequate visionary leadership, and a lack of commitment to human values. Compassionate human communication is necessary for building glocal communities committed to Glocal Development for sustainable social change.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Higher Education SolutionsSydneyAustralia

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