1 University of Naples "Federico II" (ITALY)
2 Columbia University, Teachers College (UNITED STATES)
3 Griffith University (AUSTRALIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 3827-3838
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain
With massive changes in the contemporary culture, cosmopolitanism emerges as a new ideology in our societies, holding that all human beings on this globe belong to a mutual community with a shared morality. This new cosmopolitan syntax of reality has thus generated an experiential space and perception of one world. This experience of one world, in the meanwhile, is connected with an increasing awareness of the differences between cultures where our own world-of-life inhabits. However, on the one hand, the experience of one world, when influenced by neoliberism which favors uniformity, is at the risk of homogenization, unable to foster a pluriverse where unity emerges out of and through differences. On the other, the increasing awareness of cultural differences, as closely related to the perception of one world, is likely to provoke self-encapsulation into one’s own cultural tradition, disconnecting from other traditions. Therefore, a major challenge in contemporary scenarios is how to balance between the two counteractive forces of globalization/universality and plurality/particularism. A possible way to overcome this challenge is perhaps, as proposed by Gerald Delanty, through creating communicative models of world openness and understanding the cosmopolitan culture as one of self-problematization.

This paper takes a cosmopolitan cultural lens to look in higher education in different cultures. The Authors adopt the life-long learning paradigm and the intercultural pedagogy as the conceptual framework to describe and compare three higher educational systems in the U.S., China, and Italy, with a focus on their organizational, cultural and didactical aspects. By underlining the similarities and differences among these three higher education systems, this paper aims to understand how they impact on adult education in multicultural societies, highlighting demographic and psychosocial barriers to learning, and trends, issues and innovations in educational practices. This paper is thus significant in integrating cross-cultural studies and the international transferability of knowledge and human resources in the adult education research arena.
Cosmopolitanism, higher education, life-long learning, intercultural approach.