Multilateral Dialogues in Academics

Multilateral Dialogues

When multiple countries form an alliance in pursuing a common goal, it is known as multilateralism. The concept is mostly used to refer to the government official participating or agreeing upon something. However, as students from different countries become more exposed to the globalization of education, the concept still applies, and the interactions between students are known as multilateral dialogues. 


As a result of World War II, the extreme era of multilateralism, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was formed as a specialized agency of the UN. Its aim is to contribute to social and education renewal in Europe, especially in the most affected area by the war, Germany. The presence of UNESCO in this field demonstrates the multilateral approach to education which has been in order since WWII. [1] 


How is it Incorporated in Education Today?

Living in a digitally advanced era, students from all over the world have been introduced to the concept of remote learning. Taking a class online and connecting with students worldwide encourages multilateralism. While students from different countries come together on a digital platform, it is a great opportunity to promote international relations and discuss issues like hunger, tolerance, bullying etc. 


Specifically focusing on the online platform of education, we've seen recent societal developments and technological advancements coming into action because of the coronavirus outbreak. During the pandemic, most countries were under a lockdown, and students had shifted to applications like Zoom and Google Meet, where they would continue taking their classes. This encouraged different educators to start sharing their knowledge online and connect with a larger network of students across borders. Many organizations and institutions from different countries started conducting webinars.  


Benefits of Multilateral Dialogues


  • Improve Tolerance 

It allows students to interact in a formal and monitored environment which is great for students as each of them has to listen to what the other person has to share. A decorum is to be maintained throughout and that encourages tolerance amongst students from different backgrounds. [2]


  • Cultural Diversity 

There is no doubt that multilateral dialogues in education welcome cultural diversity as it creates an opportunity for students to learn about different cultures and values. With the rise of online learning platforms, students from around the world are able to share their stories innate to their countries, enabling students to have a wider and thorough perspective on global matters while having an appreciation for others’ cultures.  


  • Crowdsourced Knowledge

Considering how students are speaking on a platform where they connect with other international students, it is merely of the essence that any information shared is verified and factually correct. Many teachers encourage conducting a healthy debate and come up with different solutions that the entire class supports. Multilateralism in academics is a great way of attaining better intellect and educating students about today's real-world problems. 


  • Upward Social Mobility

Connecting on an international forum where students can share their perspectives on any of the real-world issues their country may be facing is a chance to recognize and highlight what elements must be changed or brought into notice globally. 


Opportunity to Talk About Course-Related Real-world Issues

It's imperative to understand how multilateral dialogues in academics allow students to discuss course-related global problems. The more relatable the topic is, the higher the possibility for students to engage in conversations. Such class participation encourages healthy debates, creates awareness, reflects opinions of the many and addresses global ethical and political concerns. Highlighting the significance of global governance, students taking different courses such as law, political sciences, or economics have can now deliberate on multiple real-world case studies from anywhere in the world. 


  • Sheds Light on True Facts

When speaking in front of a global audience, every speaker is bound to be careful that any information or data shared must be legit and factually accurate. Inaccurate information will also reflect what extent students are being brainwashed or the sources of promoting the negative connotation related to a political, social, or economical issue. 


  • Empathize with those Who Suffer 

Hearing real-life experiences of other students who remain affected because of what their country is going through can be a real eye-opener. It allows one to empathize with others and understand the kind of pressure they may be facing. 


  • Voice out Against Oppression

Acknowledging real-world problems and encouraging a healthy conversation about them entails voicing out against injustice, and in the education sector, it polishes future leaders to be more responsible and consciously aware of their actions. 



Join Kritik, a Fast-Growing Global Student Network

Students should take full benefit of technological advancements. Kritik is the only peer-to-peer learning platform intended to help students develop their higher-order and critical thinking skills in online and in-person courses. Our learning by teaching approach was developed over the course of years with hands-on work experience in the world of academia which stand the test of time even during the globalization of education. 

Kritik professors allow students to give input and review each other's work which is an amazing way of promoting teamwork, trust and honesty. The platform encourages consistent implementation of innovative ideas to cater to the changing world that requires students to be dynamic. 


[1] Teresi, G. (2019). A multilateral approach towards education: the case of the East African Community. Retrieved from http://diposit.ub.edu/dspace/bitstream/2445/142998/1/TFM_TeresiGiorgio.pdf

[2] Scoullos, M. J. (2010). Education for sustainable development: The concept and its connection to tolerance and democracy. Education for sustainable development, 47-63.

[3] Coleman, D., & Jones, P. W. (2004). The United Nations and education: Multilateralism, development and globalisation. Routledge.

[4] Narlikar, A. (2020). The malaise of multilateralism and how to manage it. Observer Research Foundation (ORF). Retrieved from https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak/the-malaise-of-multilateralism-and-how-to-manage-it/


Jay Arias
Education Researcher

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