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Universities Duty of Care

The international student population is constantly increasing, reaching an all-time high of over five million in 2017. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), international student mobility is expected to reach eight million by 2025. In the United States, as an example, the student outbound population has surpassed half a million, and the inbound population of overseas students coming to the United Sates has exceeded one million in 2016, according to Project Atlas® data.

The search for international exposure also has a significant impact on the appeal of an institution, as well as on the level of skills and the employability of its students. International ventures are undoubtedly helping universities to expand their reach. Handled poorly, however, it can potentially damage the reputation of the institution. Having to navigate a variety of socio-legal and geopolitical environments can be challenging. Many institutions therefore seek external support to develop their legal knowledge and practical know-how of effectively assessing and managing the risks faced by their travellers. A study by Professor Andrea De Guttry and Doctor Francesca Capone of the DIRPOLIS Institute of International Law at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, published in November 2017, illustrates the state and the awareness of academic institutions towards their legal responsibilities to their globally mobile staff and students.4 This Duty of Care research contributes to building solid understanding on the implications and solutions to protect travelling faculty, staff and students worldwide. Looking into both civil law and common law countries, it demonstrates how access to qualitative information and precise knowledge of regulations and jurisprudences has become more critical than ever for institutions to manage growing international exposure.