Universities and other educational institutions increasingly claim to be engaged in a process of becoming 'internationalised' and yet, to-date, there has been little research into how this term is interpreted or realised in practical ways. The principal aim of this ESRC funded research project is to evaluate 'internationalising' strategies by considering two institutions, one academic (Durham University) and one professional (The International Association of Schools of Social Work IASSW) as case study examples. These institutions share common ground as both have established international links with people and organisations in Sri Lanka in response to the 2004 tsunami.
The success of both Durham University Project Sri Lanka and IASSW's interventions are being evaluated through a research methodology that considers a variety of individual viewpoints and perceptions. Research participants include various nationalities of academics and students, members of government and non-governmental and civil organisations, as well as people living in the villages where each 'model' is active. Our research examines the sustainability of these initiatives and undertake an evaluation of each 'model' by engaging with the perceptions of success as defined by each of our research participants.
At the end of this three year project, our research findings will be disseminated to a wide audience that will provide other institutions, spread across the globe, guidelines for future engagement in international and intercultural contexts. Such research dissemination strategies will enable other institutions and professions to examine their own style of working in the international arena and compare them to those that the respondents in this research highlighted as empowering forms of internationalising practice.