Feature

How International Education Can Help Advance Social Justice

An excerpt from the recently released Social Justice and International Education connects the goals of international education with the pursuit of social justice.
International education’s goals of promoting cultural exchange, mutual understanding, and peace are directly connected to the social justice aims of addressing systemic oppression and inequality.Illustration: Shutterstock
 
David Wick, EdD
Tasha Willis, EdD

The recently released Social Justice and International Education: Research, Practice, and Perspectives brings together scholars, practitioners, and community activists and educators to discuss the ways in which the field of international education can use social justice theories, questions, and strategies to confront and address the structural barriers, institutional biases, and power imbalances inherent in international exchange and higher education.

The book comes out at an important moment for the field. As we face two crises—the COVID-19 pandemic and systemic racism—as well as an economic recession that has severely limited student mobility, international educators have had their own reckoning with the ways in which the field needs to examine its own systems and practices as we work toward creating more just and equitable approaches to internationalization.

The chapter excerpted below, by David Wick, EdD, and Tasha Willis, EdD, is titled “International Education’s Potential for Advancing Social Justice” and appears in the “Research” section of Social Justice and International Education. Wick and Willis argue that international education’s goals of promoting cultural exchange, mutual understanding, and peace are directly connected to the social justice aims of addressing systemic oppression and inequality.

Wick and Willis provide a historical and theoretical framework for thinking about the relationship between social justice and international education, in addition to using specific examples of what this framework has looked like in their own work. Drawing from their own experience designing and leading education abroad programs, Wick and Willis analyze issues such as addressing neocolonialism in program administration

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