Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education/Higher Education PhD

First Advisor

Katalin Szelenyi

Second Advisor

Monnica Chan

Third Advisor

Gerardo L. Blanco


This study explores the evolving landscape of international higher education partnerships, with a specific focus on the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). These countries, representing a significant portion of the world's population and economy, are redefining collaborative models in higher education, particularly within the framework of the One-third/Two-thirds world. This framework, which delineates the disparities between more and less economically developed nations, provides a critical lens for examining international higher education partnerships. The study critically examines how BRICS institutions navigate forming international partnerships amidst complex power dynamics and the pursuit of mutual respect and equitable collaboration. This exploration is particularly pertinent as the BRICS countries grapple with the anticipated expansion of the BRICS coalition in January 2024, which is set to include Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. This expansion represents a significant shift in global economic synergies and poses new challenges in terms of intra-BRICS disparities. Methodologically, the study employs the Delphi method and adopts mutuality as a theoretical lens. The main research question investigates how institutional policies and practices at BRICS higher education institutions aid or impede the planning and operationalization of international partnerships. Additionally, the study delves into partner institutions' positions and cooperation relations in the One-third/Two-thirds context and the role of power dynamics, communications, funding, and mutuality in partnership outcomes. The conclusions drawn highlight the pivotal role of communication, funding, and mutuality in fostering successful international partnerships. Effective communication, guided by formal agreements, is identified as crucial for maintaining robust collaborative relationships. The study also underscores the critical nature of funding in sustaining partnerships and balancing power dynamics. Furthermore, the essence of mutuality, characterized by mutual respect and shared values, emerges as a cornerstone for successful collaborations. This research contributes significantly to the understanding of international educational partnerships, emphasizing the need for strategies that are attuned to the unique cultural, economic, and geopolitical realities of the participating nations.


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