The European Higher Education Area

pp 763-783

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The Bologna Process Goes East? from “Third Countries” to Prioritizing Inter-regional Cooperation Between the ASEAN and EU


The Bologna Process increasingly prioritizes its dialogues and negotiations with regions over individual countries, thus expanding its outreach to a larger scale. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations—ASEAN and ASEAN+3—which are developing collective mechanisms for regional harmonization, have become one of the strategic regions for the EU partnerships in higher education. This paper draws on policy diffusion approach in regional studies literature and a constructivist approach to policy movement and mutation in geography to examine how Bologna policies have travelled to ASEAN and transformed their features and effects in the new context. Bringing the theoretical frameworks from political science and geography into higher education studies, this paper attempts to make a novel methodological contribution. Tracing the evolution of the ASEAN regional cooperation in higher education over the last four decades and using first-hand empirical data, this paper argues that although the Bologna Process provides a point of reference for ASEAN, the active construction of an ASEAN regional higher education space in its flexible institutional design can become a model in its own right and potentially provide a useful source for reflecting on European Bologna practices.


ASEAN Bologna Process Regionalism Policy diffusion Policy mobility Localization