Connecting the world so people wherever they live, study or work, collaborate and share solutions to global challenges.

Enabling success by supporting organisations to embrace the full potential of international collaboration and diversity

Empowering students as future leaders by making international collaboration inclusive

“My dad felt that students were not the future, but very much the present. Students contribute to the education of those around them.”
(Patricia Bergh, daughter of Josef A. Mestenhauser, 2023)

Our Vision

We want an interconnected world where people wherever they live, study or work collaborate respectfully and productively to share their solutions to global challenges.

Our Mission

Our mission is to empower people and organizations with intercultural competences so they can fully embrace the potential of international collaboration and diversity and thrive in an interconnected world.

This mission has been inspired by the legacy of Professor Josef A. Mestenhauser (1925-2015), a leading Czech émigré and  pioneer in the field of international education.

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December 29, 2023 Celebrating a year of notable milestones, the Mestenhauser Institute (MIIC) reflects on 2023 ...
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Embrace the Mestenhauser Institute Spirit

December 18, 2023 At the Mestenhauser Institute, we emphasize our dedication to education that transcends ...

What we do

Our Institute connects students, experts, educators and other practitioners across continents, from diverse nationalities, disciplines and backgrounds who are willing to share their expertise across continents. The strength of MIIC is in this shared effort to enhance the quality of education and the international dimension of organizations.

Together we create professional development programs for others, and offer qualitative support and collaborative opportunities for everyone:

  • Enhance excellence of education
  • Support collaborative practice in university alliances and beyond
  • Advance internationalization at home
  • Promote diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Empower people to become global citizen

In the footsteps of Josef Mestenhauser

Caption: Mestenhauser’s work continues with the publication of ‘Mestenhauser and the Possibilities of International Education’: Co-authors and the team of Editors (Anne D’Angelo, Kathrine O’Brien, Gayla Marty) at the book launch celebration, Nov.22nd, 2022, UMN. With the courtesy of UMN.

By developing a hub of international education expertise based in his motherland, the Czech Republic, we aim to extend the legacy of Prof Josef A. Mestenhauser, who believed that education should transcend borders, bridging diverse cultures and fostering mutual respect among nations. In advancing this higher purpose for education Prof Mestenhauser dedicated himself to promoting international collaboration, interconnecting and nurturing academics, professionals and particularly students who he always engaged with as equal partners at the table. His work has left an enduring legacy on people around the world. Our aim is to revitalize the field of International education by promoting his original values and legacy.

In establishing MIIC we have been guided by several principles that he role-modeled as an international educator. Some that particularly resonate with us are below:

  • As a way of operation, we choose collaboration, networking and sharing over competition and withholding knowledge for individual advancement
  • We see internationalization as a way to transcultural diplomacy instead of just climbing up the Higher Rankings ladder
  • Education (and International Education in particular) and collaboration needs to aim for equity and inclusivity and we keep asking ourselves in our work: “who is not sitting at the table and why?”

Diversity-Equity-Inclusion

In line with these principles of Diversity-Equity-Inclusion, MIIC advocates strongly for the field of international education to be inclusive of students and colleagues from underrepresented backgrounds.

The Legacy of Josef A. Mestenhauser

Jožka (Joe) Mestenhauser[KP1] was a student leader at Charles University in the Czech Republic who had to flee from imprisonment in 1948 to the USA. He spent most of his professional career at the University of Minnesota (UMN), becoming a leader in the field of international education worldwide. In his career which spanned more than 50 years, Joe (as he was called by colleagues and students alike) was a teacher, researcher, administrator counselor, diplomat, mentor, and always, first and foremost, a global citizen.

Joe wrote over 120 books, monographs, articles and book chapters on international education. (His last unfinished manuscript was published in 2022 by eds. A. M. D´Angelo, M.K. O´Brien, G. Marty.)

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Among the many awards Joe received were: Presidential Silver Medal from Václav Havel; Jan Masaryk Silver Memorial Medal; Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Higher Education by Charles University in commemoration of the 650th anniversary; Marita Houlihan Award for Excellence in International Education; Centennial Award from Waseda University, Japan; Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Higher Education by Charles University in commemoration of the 650th anniversary; and the Distinguished Global Engagement Award from UMN. Furthermore Joe was President of NAFSA (National Association for International Educators) and after 1989 he was the Honorary Consul General of the Czech and Slovak Republics.

At UMN Joe was the driver of institution-wide internationalization as well as establishing a complex office of International Student and Scholar Services. Driven by his unstoppable effort and energy the University also established the Department of Comparative International Development Education and its postgraduate programs.

Before his death in 2015 the UMN Global Programs and Strategy Alliance launched the Mestenhauser Legacy Initiative in close consultation with Prof Mestenhauser to recognize his legacy to international education.

Mestenhauser´s contributions to International Education were ground-breaking. While Joe always maintained that theory and practice go hand in hand, he made immense theoretical contributions to the field which underpins the expertise of many of his colleagues and students:

Systemic internationalization

Systems thinking as the framework for seeing interrelationships rather than static snapshots and treating international education as a “checklist”

“Theory is missing in action”

international educators must have theories and research behind their work so that they advance the field and not reinvent the wheel over

“Culture is at the core”

…and there is no one way of internationalization; on the contrary, mindsets and institutional cultures hugely shape the results of collaboration, whether it is international or intranational.

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We are moving to a more interconnected world that transcends borders but we can’t get there without you. When you support MIIC you are powering an international community who share globally and succeed locally.