Universities are playing a critical role in keeping lines of communication open in a world of growing political disagreements between governments, the director of education at the British Council, Maddalaine Ansell, told this year’s Going Global conference.

The virtual conference brought together leaders of international education from 15-17 June to reimagine global tertiary education for a post-pandemic world, and heard from Ansell that “knowledge diplomacy” was not simply “soft power”, which she described as a neo-colonial approach to getting what you want.

“Instead, you might end up with something different, but better, and have more success and influence through generous and disinterested behaviour,” she suggested.

Examples given to the conference session on “Can knowledge diplomacy survive geopolitics?”, chaired by Phil Baty, chief knowledge officer at Times Higher Education, UK, included pressing…

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