The paradoxes of developing european transnational campuses in China and Egypt

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Through the lens of paradox theory, we present and discuss the cases of two different proposals for a European public university, located in Lisbon, Portugal, to develop transnational campuses, one in China and one in Egypt. We discuss the three overarching goals of the transnational campus in our cases (funding through international cooperation, projection of soft power, and the development of human capital) and compare the structure of both proposals with particular attention to the governance and pedagogical models proposed for China and the Middle East, and shed light on the different expectations that Middle Eastern and Chinese authorities hold regarding the cooperation with European institutions in the area of higher education. We conclude that the development of transnational campus can be considered a paradoxical journey and the success of which depends on how the tensions between goals are tackled and synergies obtained – or not. This will help in designing adequate policies and strategies in order to optimize the cooperation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-595
Number of pages35
JournalResearch in Educational Administration and Leadership
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2022


  • China
  • cross-cultural partnerships
  • Egypt
  • Higher education
  • internationalization
  • leadership training
  • transnational campuses


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