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Internationalisation in higher education –an internationalist perspective

Michael Byram (Education, Durham University, Durham, UK)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 10 August 2018

Issue publication date: 22 October 2018




This paper aims to argue for the significance of internationalism for the internationalisation of higher education. It analyses some conceptualisations and definitions of internationalisation before explaining the concept of internationalism, and variations of it, to demonstrate that internationalism has a moral dimension which could, and the author argues, provide a normative value base for the processes of internationalisation.


This paper is a cross-disciplinary, conceptual exploration.


The argument concludes with a listing of principles which should give a moral direction to internationalisation.

Research limitations/implications

The approach proposed is the basis for evaluations of different aspects of internationalisation such as the design and implementation of curricula.

Practical implications

The approach taken here, if implemented, would lead to changes in curricula and processes of internationalisation.

Social implications

The impact of internationalisation, and particularly of student mobility as an aspect of it, is already significant, and the perspective presented here would lead to more coherent interactions in mobility situations.


Using the neglected concept of internationalism brings a new perspective and challenge to internationalisation.



Byram, M. (2018), "Internationalisation in higher education –an internationalist perspective", On the Horizon, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 148-156.



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Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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