Making the Case for Internationalization


​​​This page is designed to help you create strong arguments for internationalization on your campus. In some cases, you may be looking for new arguments to make to your stakeholders; in other cases, you may be interested in strengthening existing arguments with better evidence and examples. Some of you may want to create a separate, formal statement on the value of internationalization, which we call a case statement. Others may want to integrate these arguments into other documents and resources, such as a strategic plan. This page is designed to help you with all of these tasks.

Why Create a Case Statement on Internationalization? 

A strong set of arguments for internationalization can be an effective tool for building political support and for mobilizing resources. The process of developing these arguments can be a valuable end in itself. Here is a summary of the benefits of developing a case statement:

  • It energizes and focuses the team that leads internationalization on your campus.
  • It serves as the basis for public statements by campus leaders, and encourages a more consistent message.
  • It prepares key stakeholders for organizational change and a shift in campus priorities.
  • It helps to identify stakeholders who will support and oppose internationalization.
  • It serves as a catalyst for setting priorities and direction.
  • It opens lines of communication with key internal and external constituencies.

For many campuses, developing the case statement will be part of a strategic planning process that requires multiple stages and the creation of a number of documents. A draft case statement will be most effective after the internationalization team is formed, but before writing the strategic plan. It can be finalized after the internationalization team reaches consensus on the goals of the strategic plan. It is not a strategic plan, but it informs the strategic plan.

ACE's Internationalization Case Statement

It may be useful to have a broad statement on the value of internationalization. This statement could be part of an introduction to a longer document, or it could be used to stimulate discussion among key stakeholders, who might be asked to adapt the wording of the document to the unique circumstances of your institution. 

The following is the internationalization case statement of the American Council on Education (ACE):

“In order for the United States to have a truly world-class higher education system, colleges and universities must be globally engaged and prepare students to be citizens of a multicultural community both at home and in a globalized world. Institutions accomplish this by having a multi-dimensional, comprehensive strategy that includes internationalization at home and engagement with global issues and partners.”

Links to Other Statements

Formal case statements for internationalization are relatively rare. Download an example from the University of Kentucky.

More common is including the arguments for internationalization in a strategic plan: the University of North Georgia provides an example.

We welcome suggestions for additional links to this section. Please email us your recommendations.

How to Write Your Own Case Statement

Below we have identified several arguments that could serve as the basis for a case statement on internationalization. Each of the 12 arguments below stands on its own, and your own statement may include all of the points or only a few of them. Not all of these arguments will be effective for every institution, and each one should be thoroughly reviewed by the internationalization team. We have also included a resource section with links to supporting data to help frame the 12 arguments. If you would like to suggest additional links and resources, please email us.

Local Impact

  • Institutions are more vital and attractive places when they are internationalized, and these qualities strengthen their local communities. 
  • Internationalized institutions are stronger institutions generally, and as such they are in a better position to serve their local stakeholders.
  • Institutional strength.
  • A global footprint is essential for any university to be recognized for its quality.  All institutions that are noted for their excellence also have a significant international presence.​
  • Internationalized universities are stronger financially. 

Service to the Community

  • Universities should promote human welfare around the globe, and not just in their own country.
  • American students need to understand the influence of the United States on other parts of the world in order to be effective citizens.
  • Foreign students return to their home countries with a more accurate, nuanced understanding of the United States. 

Students and Curriculum

  • Global competence is essential for a successful career in a globalized society and economy. 
  • Every college graduate should develop the international skills and perspective that will enable them to become responsible and well-informed members of society. 
  • Complete mastery of any academic discipline requires an understanding of its international dimensions. 


  • The most urgent research questions transcend national boundaries.
  • Research increasingly involves international networks of collaborators.


Survey data on campus internationalization:
Mapping Internationalization on U.S. Campuses: 2012 Edition

Study abroad and international student data:
IIE's Open Doors yearly report

Student migration trends:
IIE's Project A​​tlas

Linking local to global:
Mapping the Nation int​eractive maps and infographics

Value of intercultural skills in the workplace:
Culture at Work