Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2644-2663; doi:10.3390/su5062644
Article

Unraveling the Skilled Mobility for Sustainable Development Mantra: An Analysis of China-EU Academic Mobility

International Development Studies, Department of Human Geography and Planning, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80115, 3508TC Utrecht, The Netherlands
Received: 28 April 2013; in revised form: 6 June 2013 / Accepted: 7 June 2013 / Published: 18 June 2013
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Abstract: In the name of sustainable development, skilled persons including scholars, researchers and students have become incorporated in the “sustainable development” visions and strategies of institutions, city centers and nation-states near and far from where these potentially mobile brains are. Policies and programs have widely been implemented to foster move-in move-out mobility of these talents sans frontières who should contribute to the competitiveness of their affiliated institutions and structures in the global knowledge economy. This paper unravels this emergent academic mobility for sustainable development mantra. It unpacks the meanings of “sustainable development” and “sustainability” as used in relation to temporary (often circulatory) mobility of students and academics in different contexts. An analysis of European and specifically China-EU academic mobility initiatives illustrates the multi-fold meanings of sustainability in this policy terrain. Zooming into the Chinese-German case, the paper highlights the common dominance of economic and environmental elements in the current “academic mobility for sustainability” construct that sidelines important social components such as equity and diversity. Statistical data and narratives will be provided to illustrate the stark gender and disciplinary bias in the Chinese-German staff academic mobility field. The paper argues for conscious, affirmative efforts by policy-makers and funding agencies to correct existing imbalances.
Keywords: academic mobility; sustainable development; social sustainability; gender; diversity; equity; China; EU; Germany

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MDPI and ACS Style

Leung, M.W. Unraveling the Skilled Mobility for Sustainable Development Mantra: An Analysis of China-EU Academic Mobility. Sustainability 2013, 5, 2644-2663.

AMA Style

Leung MW. Unraveling the Skilled Mobility for Sustainable Development Mantra: An Analysis of China-EU Academic Mobility. Sustainability. 2013; 5(6):2644-2663.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Leung, Maggi W. 2013. "Unraveling the Skilled Mobility for Sustainable Development Mantra: An Analysis of China-EU Academic Mobility." Sustainability 5, no. 6: 2644-2663.

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