Global engagement

What does BFH mean by global engagement and why does it want to engage globally? In the following, we present our basic principles and activities.

You can also get involved. We have a strong global network and offer you a wide range of opportunities to participate in global projects. Whether you are a student, employee, researcher, lecturer, local resident or company.

What does global engagement mean at BFH?

For us, global means building bridges between different regions and networking globally. We establish scientific and educational relationships with regions in different parts of the world. We shape these relationships to be socially sustainable.

This gives students, researchers and employees at our university a wide range of opportunities to engage with global issues through productive relationships. They actively shape the development of relationships and dialogue and become part of the global knowledge community.

Science and education are in global competition, and this can also be a source of conflict. In such cases, BFH takes measures and develops ways to optimise the situation.

Global socially sustainable relationships…

  • … are reciprocal, close and long-term.
  • … are actively maintained by us.
  • … are in line with our goals.
  • … relate to global material challenges that we must solve together with others.
  • … refer to the strategic priorities of important educational stakeholders.

For us, engagement means actively helping to shape institutional and project-related relationships. It also means utilising the potential of relationships. Such potential, also known as agency, is present when:

  • constraints of various kinds (e.g. political or social) are low or can be reduced.
  • framework conditions (e.g. political or legal agreements) are favourable.
  • the objectives are in line with overarching strategic objectives.

What is the neighbourhood principle?

With the neighbourhood principle (also known as topology), regions become neighbours even if they are not geographically close to each other. What matters instead is how directly they are connected to each other. Directness makes relationships strong and meaningful.

For instance, as a result of being attacked by Russia, Ukraine became a neighbouring area of Switzerland. We provided “neighbourhood help” at Bern University of Applied Sciences: firstly by taking in and supporting Ukrainian refugees, and secondly through the CAS Rebuild Ukraine, which we developed ourselves.

When neighbourhood is established through relationship, the scales of “local”, “regional” and “global” are also suspended. This means that even distant areas can become neighbourhoods and thus significant for the local sphere.

Global engagement at a glance

  • Maintain a network of neighbourly relationships
  • Perceive supra-regional cooperation as embedded in a larger context (in terms of content, politics, society)
  • Relationships with the potential to make a lasting impact
  • Socially sustainable relationships