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In a report published in 2018, Campus France, a public organization dedicated to promoting the French higher education system abroad, proudly stated: “France is back.” Citing a more than 12% increase in foreign students welcomed in France over the 5 preceding years, Béatrice Khaïat, its managing director, affirmed that “given the major challenges confronting leading countries today—The US under President Trump, the United Kingdom amid Brexit, Australia facing a slowdown in outbound students from China—France is positioned to benefit from this context, while relying on its clear strategy and many positive attributes, to enhance its attractiveness on the international student mobility market” (Campus France, 2018, p. 3). Aside from the highly managerial tone, the figures spoke largely for themselves : France ranks as the world’s 4th leading study-abroad destination. While the number of US-bound foreign students dropped by 7% in 2017, the number of international students choosing to study in France rose in the same period, surpassing 350,000.
The trend has become all the more pronounced with the emergence of countries whose economies have a strong need for a highly qualified and degree-holding population. According to UNESCO, there are today more than 4.5 million internationally mobile students throughout the world, representing a 50% increase in 10 years; and that figure is expected to rise to 9 million by 2025. It is therefore crucial that host countries anticipate the challenges that these trends are likely to bring not only in terms of cultural and ethnic diversity but also in terms of integration and inclusion, while dealing with these issues from a policy and administrative perspective, and from pedagogical and academic perspectives as well…


This article is the product of an evidence-based management approach whereby management actions and people-related decisions are informed and enriched by drawing on the results of academic research. Given the general increase in the number of foreign students at French campuses (for reasons set out in the first section), it appears crucial for us to consider the issues that scholarly literature raises with regard to the management of cultural diversity in classrooms as well as on campus in general, on matters of integration and inclusion especially in light of cultural diversity brought by foreign students. As we consider the new challenges presented by these changes, we seek to outline, in the second section, a number of possible avenues of reflection and solutions set out in research findings, bearing in mind the observations and problems raised above. These efforts to improve conditions for supporting the orientation and integration of foreign students could enable our campuses to make a real commitment toward becoming more cosmopolitan. As campuses become meeting places offering constant opportunities for exchange among cultures and communities, based on a full respect for otherness, they could also act as important bulwarks against exclusion and discrimination.

  • diversity
  • exclusion
  • inclusion
  • cosmopolitanism
  • foreign students

Problèmes et enjeux de l’accueil d’étudiants étrangers sur les campus universitaires : diversité, exclusion, inclusion et cosmopolitanisme

Cet article s’inscrit dans une tradition d’evidence-based management selon laquelle les actions et décisions se doivent d’être informées et enrichies par les résultats de la recherche académique. Ainsi, face à l’augmentation tendancielle du nombre d’étudiants étrangers sur les campus français (pour des raisons présentées en première partie), il nous semble essentiel de regarder comment la littérature questionne la gestion de la diversité culturelle dans les salles de classe comme sur les campus en matière d’intégration et d’inclusion face à la diversité culturelle apportée par les étudiants étrangers. Face aux nouveaux défis engendrés par ces évolutions, nous présentons dans une seconde partie des pistes de réflexions et de solutions esquissées dans les travaux de recherche pour répondre aux constats et problématiques identifiés précédemment. Ces recherches d’amélioration des conditions d’accueil et d’intégration des étudiants étrangers pourraient permettre à nos campus de s’engager sur la voie du cosmopolitanisme. Ils deviendraient ainsi des lieux de rencontres et de négociations continues par lesquelles une culture et une communauté émergeraient en permanence dans le respect des altérités, et permettraient d’éviter en partie les problématiques d’exclusion et de discrimination.

  • diversité
  • exclusion
  • inclusion
  • cosmopolitanisme
  • étudiants étrangers
Dominique Baruel-Bencherqui
Dominique BARUEL-BENCHERQUI is a full professor accredited to supervise research and the Director of Research at ISTEC, as well as associate researcher at Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne. Her areas of research include Employability and Innovation issues, and she is a member of the research consortium AGRH (Francophone Association for the Management of Human Resources). She also teaches Management of Human Resources at ISTEC business and marketing school.
Gaëlle Beau
Gaëlle BEAU is a researcher-professor at ISTEC, a business and marketing school, where she teaches Management, Project Management and Organizational Behavior. Her research focuses on Leadership, Pedagogical Innovations and how artistic organizations contribute to Managerial Science.
Yoann Bazin
Yoann BAZIN is an associate professor at EM Normandie (Oxford campus), where he teaches Business Ethics, Management and Critical Thinking. His areas of research focus on Business in Society, and Fluid Organizational Structures. He has written publications that appeared in Organization Studies, Journal of Management Inquiry, European Management Review as well as M@n@gement.
Translated by
Randall Cherry
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