Scotland's universities embody internationalism

Written by Professor Richard A Williams on 3 July 2017 in Comment

ASSOCIATE FEATURE: Heriot Watt University principal Richard Williams hails the internationalism of Scotland's universities

Studying and working in Scotland is more than just potentially coming to an overseas country; it is about coming to a country that is a global exemplar of excellence in its education.

We have in Scotland some of the most highly-rated scientific, arts and performing arts institutions in the world, thus studying in Scotland gives students access to world-class facilities and multiple centres of excellence.

Across Scotland our staff also embody our internationalism.


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It is extraordinary to think that over 7,500 academic and research staff have chosen to make their career in Scotland’s universities and to make Scotland their home. We are proud of the partnerships this brings world-wide through continued building of mutual understanding and trust.

Internationalism is the heartbeat of all world-class universities, and it is in Heriot-Watt’s very DNA. We are an established, globally-integrated Univer­sity, proud of our 32,000 students who come from 123 different countries and are able to study in Scotland, Dubai or Malaysia. We are international by default.

My role as a Vice-Chancellor is to enable all our students to become lead­ers in ideas and solutions in their chosen field, and to promote the innovative research and collaborations we achieve. Equally, I believe that in a Post-Brexit world it is my role, alongside my fellow Vice-Chancellors, to embrace collab­orative partnerships on a global scale with fellow academics, governments and industry, in order to attract students to our highly successful Scottish education.

Last week at one of our graduation ceremonies a student tweeted that he had spent his four years studying across three different campuses, achieving a Scottish degree. It is this ethos which will cement our place in the world as leading educationalists. Let us do all we can to shout out that Scotland Welcomes the World.

Professor Richard A Williams is principal and vice-chancellor of Heriot-Watt University and chair of the International Committee for Universities Scotland

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