Beyond bilateralism

August 13, 2009

We do not recognise the recommendations of our UK/US Study Group report as described in your article ("Anglo-American report 'imperialistic', say critics", 6 August).

We have no qualms about highlighting the strong higher education links between our countries. Our report shows that we have more students and staff exchanges than any other bilateral relationship, and more joint research is conducted by UK and US researchers than by any other partnership.

Far from being "imperialist", our purpose was to explore how this relationship can be internationalised further through new forms of partnerships with other countries on an equal basis. The essence of the Study Group report is to push beyond bilateralism - it cannot be grasped if that basic point is missed.

Nowhere in our "proposals for action" is there a recommendation for "mergers between UK and US universities", nor is there an attempt to undermine the Bologna Process.

How we shape the course of internationalisation in higher education is one of the most important policy agendas for our countries. We believe our report is an ambitious and practical contribution to this debate. UK and US universities will benefit hugely if our efforts to internationalise can proceed collaboratively with others.

Rick Trainor, principal, King's College London, President, Universities UK (2007-09); John Sexton, president, New York University.

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