Andrew Stinson, APSA’s manager for international workshops, led a short course yesterday afternoon on the importance of building international scholarly partnerships and the best practices for engaging those audiences. The discussion touched on the comparative advantages of international partnerships with many participants chiming in on how they have trained students in Africa and the benefits of working with international colleagues. In addition to talking about the projects they have worked on in different countries, they also discussed the ethical reasons behind such collaboration.
The panelists also brainstormed ways of exploring new partnerships. Americans and European researchers generally gravitate to the usual suspects, that is, the well-known individuals and institutions with demonstrated international knowledge. Some panelists seemed to agree that it is also important to move towards under-represented institutions as this would also enable them to find new partners.
Before moving on to discuss best practices for teaching, Mr. Stinson raised the point that neither partner can sustain a collaborative effort simply through selflessness or a sense of responsibility; it must be a mutually rewarding experience. Acknowledging the many logistical challenges which accompany international collaborations, and the potential for delayed payoffs, Mr. Stinson recommended a flexible approach to conceptualizing outcomes and invited panelists to consider additional activities which could be utilized by collaborators to sustain the partnership towards its eventual goal.