Cosmopolitanism: Rethinking the Agenda of Education Abroad


  • Brian Whalen American International Recruitment Council (AIRC)
  • Michael Woolf CAPA: The Global Education Network



cosmopolitanism, history and philosophy, deconstructing the agenda, nationalism, cultural history


Cosmopolitanism is an ambiguous and inherently paradoxical notion.  Because of the complexities it raises, it generates analyses and discourses that challenge simplistic assumptions embedded in theory and practice of education abroad. Global citizenship, comprehensive internationalization, cultural relativity, immersion, cross-cultural learning, and community engagement are some of the concepts deconstructed through the lens of cosmopolitan ideas and histories. Cosmopolitan philosophies are also of particular and special relevance to student experience in international education.  In short, cosmopolitanism is not one idea but a field of meaning, a cluster of profound propositions that might collectively enrich the curriculum of education abroad.


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Author Biographies

Brian Whalen, American International Recruitment Council (AIRC)

Brian Whalen, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the American International Recruitment Council, an America's Languages Fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and an International Education Leadership Fellow at the University at Albany, and a Dean's Fellow at Dickinson College. Brian has taught psychology, literature, and international and comparative education to graduate and undergraduate students at Boston University, Brookhaven College, Dickinson College, Lesley University, University at Albany, and the University of Dallas.  A widely published scholar, Brian's publications include commentaries, essays, research articles and book chapters on a variety of topics in the fields of international education and psychology.

Michael Woolf, CAPA: The Global Education Network

Michael Woolf, Deputy President at CAPA, has spent much of his career in an international context. He taught American Literature at the universities of Hull, Middlesex, Padova, and Venice, and worked as a researcher-writer for BBC radio. Michael has held leadership roles with FIE, CIEE, and Syracuse University. Michael holds a Ph.D. in American Studies and has written widely on international education and cultural studies. You can read a sample of Michael’s short essays in his monthly column:


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How to Cite

Whalen, B., & Woolf, M. (2020). Cosmopolitanism: Rethinking the Agenda of Education Abroad. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 32(3), 72–98.