Hague says UK universities deliver overseas influence

The BBC is reporting that William Hague has said universities are now an important part of the UK’s “soft power” in projecting international influence…

Their recruitment of overseas students “enriches and strengthens our universities and our future economy and our influence in the world”, he said.

Mr Hague said foreign policy was being redefined by social media and the global reach of online communications.

“In the 21st Century, foreign policy is no longer the preserve of governments.”

Speaking at the University of Greenwich, Mr Hague described the international impact of the UK’s universities and their role in promoting “democratic values” in a time of growing authoritarianism.

He highlighted the importance of universities as places for exchanges of ideas and cultures – and the long-term influence of attracting overseas students.

“They are a huge asset and advantage to our country, enabling the exchange of ideas across so many borders and religions and cultures.

“As foreign secretary I met leaders and parliamentarians from all over the world, from Afghanistan to Brazil, from China to Somalia, who said their time studying in Britain began a lifelong affinity with this country.

“The strength of the British university education is one the nation’s most distinctive contributions in the world…

Universities were now a “critical part” of the UK’s soft power, he said…

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