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Scholars Are Optimistic About The Future of the BRICS Network University

The BRICS Network University might better serve the needs of the BRICS countries than national initiatives, but members should improve coordination and mutual understanding, say experts from Brazil and Russia.

A special issue of the Hermes — La Revue, CNRS Editions, issued in November 2017, is devoted to the multidisciplinary analysis of the BRICS initiatives. A panel of specialists in communication, sociology, economics and internationational relations investigate a process that emerged less than ten years ago, with fve countries launching a sustained efort, driven by a clear politcal will, to achieve recogniton, transformaton and the constructon of common spheres of interest.

Professor Maxim Khomyakov from the Higher School of Economics, Russia, considers collaboration between the BRICS countries in higher education. The author explains the two main approaches that the BRICS countries could adopt to address the current challenges of globalization and massification of education: projects of excellence (such as the Russian Project 5-100) and the creation of trans-university networks (such as the BRICS university network project). The first approach aims to create elite establishments and promote better integration into the world academic sphere, while the second addresses urgent questions for society in the BRICS countries. According to professor Khomyakov, the network approach is providing responses that are better suited to current needs in the BRICS countries.

Professor Tom Dwyer from the University of Campinas, Brazil, in his article «Eight Years of BRICS studies» provides some ethnographic details of the meetings held to set up the BRICS university, and mentions various challenges regarding coordination, continuity, and dialogue. He analyzes the major cognitive challenges that has arisen since the start of the project in 2016 and reflects on how to improve mutual understanding and inter-BRICS dialogue.

Both authors have participated in the creation of the BRICS NU and have been serving as national coordinators from Brazil and Russia respectively since the start of the project.