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Challenging conceptions of 'Western' higher education and promoting graduates as global citizens

Clifford, Valerie; Montgomery, Catherine


Valerie Clifford

Catherine Montgomery


Recently there has been a shift in the discourses of university policy from internationalisation towards the contested concept of global citizenship. This paper explores ways of challenging the current interpretation of international education policy through the concept of global citizenship drawing on the discussion forums of two cohorts of participants in an online course. The participants’ responses illustrate ways they are rethinking the purpose of international higher education and the relevance of the concept of global citizenship. Whilst most participants whole-heartedly endorsed a more holistic view of higher education, several issues were raised, especially the fit of the ideal of global citizenship with a capitalist society and the Western heritage of the concept, which were perceived to be troublesome issues. Resistance to the inclusion of education for global citizenship was anticipated from institutions and disciplines, both heavily invested in the status quo. The academics’ personal beliefs about higher education, and their willingness and potential to design and deliver curriculum for global citizenship were also prominent. Although universities are beginning to include the term global citizen in their policy documents the extent to which this might influence the goals and curricula of higher education is yet to be realised.


Clifford, V., & Montgomery, C. (2014). Challenging conceptions of 'Western' higher education and promoting graduates as global citizens. Higher Education Quarterly, 68(1), 28-45.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 1, 2013
Online Publication Date Jan 15, 2014
Publication Date 2014-01
Deposit Date Mar 11, 2016
Publicly Available Date Mar 11, 2016
Journal Higher education quarterly
Print ISSN 0951-5224
Electronic ISSN 1468-2273
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 68
Issue 1
Pages 28-45
Keywords Internationalisation; Global citizenship
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Author's accepted manuscript of article: Clifford, V. and Montgomery, C. (2014), Challenging Conceptions of Western Higher Education and Promoting Graduates as Global Citizens. Higher Education Quarterly, 68: 28–45. doi: 10.1111/hequ.12029


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