World in brief – 26 March 2015

March 26, 2015

Source: Rex

United States
UAE critic is now persona non grata

A New York University lecturer has been barred from travelling to the United Arab Emirates to visit the university’s campus there because he has criticised the exploitation of migrant construction workers in the country, The New York Times reported. Andrew Ross, a professor of social and cultural analysis, learned while he was trying to board a plane from the US to Abu Dhabi, where there is an NYU branch, that he had been barred by UAE authorities. He had hoped to spend his spring break at the campus, continuing his research on labour conditions.

Give graduate job hunters longer, says business leader

Foreign graduates should be given longer than six months to find a job after leaving university in Sweden, a senior business leader has argued. Maria Rankka, chief executive of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, said that the new export strategy the government is developing must relax post-study visa rules to help the country retain international researchers and entrepreneurs, thereby using “the global talents already residing here in Sweden”. Writing on The Local, an English language news website, Ms Rankka said that the six months allowed to find a graduate job was shorter than the time allowed in the Netherlands (12 months) and Germany (18 months).

A little something to keep us in mind

Japan’s government will spend more than $15 million (£10 million) to fund Japan studies at nine US universities in what is billed as a “soft power” push to counter the growing influence of China and South Korea. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Georgetown University will receive $5 million each from the foreign ministry from April under the government’s new budget. There is also funding for Japan studies at Columbia University, along with support from the Japan Foundation for six yet-to-be selected institutions, the Reuters news agency said.

Neighbourly exchanges

A new programme to increase the educational exchange opportunities between Mexico and the US has been launched. The US-Mexico Intern Program will offer new academic exchanges and internships for university students and recent graduates from both countries. It is part of a wider set of initiatives launched by US President Barack Obama and his Mexican counterpart Enrique Peña Nieto in May 2013 to promote economic dialogue between the neighbouring countries.

A holy educational trinity

The Catholic University of America and the Australian Catholic University have embarked on a “three-continent endeavour” to create a shared Rome Centre just a mile from the Vatican. Although the ACU already has an offshoot in Rome, the new project represents “two universities embedding themselves as universities in the heart of the Church, and I think that’s never been done before”, ACU vice-chancellor Greg Craven said at a launch event. The centre, due to open in September, will incorporate a wing for graduate students, apartments for visiting faculty, a chapel and a garden.

Bill to uncap fees foiled again

Plans to uncap tuition fees in Australia have been defeated in the country’s upper house for the second time in four months. The defeat came despite a last-minute offer by education minister Christopher Pyne to move plans for a 20 per cent cut to teaching funding into a different bill. Mr Pyne vowed to launch a third attempt to pass the bill later in the year, while Universities Australia called for a “national discussion on a long-term, sustainable and predictable funding model for university education and research”.

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