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Internationalisation in Action

Scotland's International Framework sets out four strategic objectives in support of our internationalisation agenda. These are:



Scottish Government and Scottish Human Rights Commission Innovation Forum - Putting the Justice into Social Justice

SNAP ConferenceTo mark the second anniversary of the launch of Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights (SNAP), on 9 December 2015 the Scottish Government and Scottish Human Rights Commission jointly hosted an Innovation Forum entitled Putting the Justice into Social Justice

The Forum brought together international experts from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and from human rights institutions in Finland and Germany, as well as legal commentators, academics, civil society leaders and public officials. 

Participants discussed how best to give effect to Scotland’s international human rights obligations such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

In her keynote address, the First Minister underlined the Government’s commitment to put human rights at the heart of its decision-making and welcomed this exchange of international experience and best practice in Scotland.

First Minister’s US visit

FMOn her 2015 visit to the United States the First Minister advanced the Government’s priorities to promote Scotland’s global outlook and to build stronger international relationships by sharing best practice in areas such as tackling inequality and improving health and education.

In Maryland the First Minister visited Takoma Park Middle School, where she saw the results of collaboration between the US and Scotland. The two countries have made substantial efforts to promote healthy eating in schools by sharing policy and practices that have improved the quality of school meals. Since 2013, Scotland and the USA have celebrated International School Meals Day to highlight this work and encourage other nations to follow suit.

In Washington, the First Minister met with a group of women senators to discuss her commitment to Gender Equality, she also met with Deputy Secretary of State, Antony Blinken to discuss Scotland’s role in the world.

From an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to meeting with the Obama Administration, the First Minister made a mark for Scotland. We look forward to improving our longstanding relationship with the USA, expanding on the new connections made, and growing Scotland’s global outlook.

Queen Anne High School, Dunfermline

QAThrough all its work, Queen Anne High School in Dunfermline reaches beyond the local community to provide a truly international education with a lifelong impact and encourage skills and attitudes to seize new opportunities and take part in a globalised world.

International education is woven into the school’s curriculum starting with the primary transition programme. P7 and S1 learners complete presentations to over 500 young people involving community partners following a year of international learning. The school has established many international relationships, including with Gambia, China, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Canada, Eastern Europe and Iceland. Learners have gained much from these partnerships, facilitating cultural and political understanding in both directions. Initiatives such as the annual ‘Peace One Day’ and Remembrance Day events, as well as sports events with Olympic, Football World Cup, Commonwealth and Rugby World Cup themes, get students discussing global issues.

The school’s most prominent link is with China. They are part of the Confucius Classrooms programme set up by Education Scotland and the Office of Chinese Language Council International. The school was awarded the Scottish Outstanding Confucius Hub 2014 Award by the Confucius Institute for Scottish Schools. This link has led to a plethora of learning opportunities for young people.

In 2014 Queen Anne High School was awarded the British Council International School Award, which recognises schools which have excelled in international learning. The Award is an internationally recognised accreditation, awarded to schools which forge links with partners overseas and add an international dimension to the curriculum. Through working on joint projects and adding international elements to lessons, pupils (and teachers) are given a fresh perspective on the world and their place in it and encouraged to be responsible global citizens. Last year 12 national “Game-On” Scotland plaques from Education Scotland and the British Council were awarded recognising the school’s work focused on the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014.  This demonstrates the global outlook the school has successfully fostered.



Police Scotland – Malawi Police Service

PSIn 2014, in preparation for Malawi’s tripartite elections, Police Scotland were asked to help increase the capacity of the Malawi Police Service to handle demonstrations and gatherings and deliver public order in a human rights respecting manner. A team of senior and operational Malawi police officers were trained in the strategic, tactical and operational management of public order and a group of police officer trainers were educated and skilled in delivering public order training to officers on an ongoing basis. Central to this was raising awareness of the national and international legislative frameworks relating to the policing of demonstrations and gatherings in a human rights respecting manner.

This training made a long lasting impact during the elections and beyond and continues to be used to this day. It is evident that the training and knowledge delivered is now firmly embedded in practice and procedure within the Malawi Police Service today. This case study is an example of the international policing assistance provided by Police Scotland to support the development of policing services in a range of countries

Malawi Renewable Energy Acceleration Programme

SIn July 2015, the Scottish Government was delighted to launch a series of 16 outcome reports from our £2.3m Malawi Renewable Energy Acceleration Programme (MREAP), the Scottish Government’s single biggest International Development project to date.  MREAP, led by the University of Strathclyde, ran from 2012-15, bringing new energy access to almost 80,000 people in rural Malawi, through a range of technologies including solar PV panels, biogas digesters, fuel-efficient cookstoves and micro-hydro schemes.  In addition, the programme has helped to build capacity around renewable energy in Malawi, with the development of a new postgraduate renewable energy degree course, which the first cohort of 13 students are due to complete in 2016.  MREAP has also funded an in-depth analysis of the viability of wind energy in Malawi, determining that large scale wind could indeed be a viable option for bringing electricity to more people in the future.  Learning from MREAP will help inform the future of community energy in developing countries, as part of Scotland’s contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All global initiative

Scotland and the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All 


In 2012, Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, asked the then First Minister, Alex Salmond MSP, to support the United Nation’s Sustainable Energy for All - SE4All - initiative, in recognition of Scotland’s international leadership on renewable energy and climate change.  In July 2014, during the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Scottish Government hosted the European launch of the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All. This multilateral engagement secured international attendance and Dr Kandeh K. Yumkella, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All and UN Under-Secretary General, gave the keynote address, recognising Scotland for its own commitment to renewable energy, which has experienced a threefold increase in capacity in the past decade. Work continues with the publication in January 2015 of ‘UN Sustainable Energy for All – Scotland’s Contribution’. We are pleased to have formed this strong and mutually beneficial relationship with the UN agency for SE4All.

As part of our SE4All contribution the Scottish Government is partnering with Malawi on the roll-out of community renewable energy, to support vital services and sustainable economic development, through a range of community energy projects with total funding of £3.5 million from our International Development Fund between 2012 and 2018.  These include the flagship Malawi Renewable Energy Acceleration Programme ending in March 2015, which has improved energy access for at least 70,000 beneficiaries in rural Malawi. We are also seconding an energy expert to the Government of Malawi as part of our on-going commitment to working in partnership with Malawi.



Edinburgh World Heritage (EWH)

EWHEdinburgh World Heritage (EWH) is a charity funded through donations, Historic Environment Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council, with the role of conserving, enhancing and promoting the city’s World Heritage Site. It regularly takes its expertise beyond Scotland to showcase its work and engage in knowledge exchange with international at global conferences.

For example the EWH’s International Programme Project Manager Krzysztof Chuchra took part in the December 2015 roundtable meeting and conference of the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) initiative in Guangzhou. This event which took place under the auspices of the UNESCO looked at the role of community participation and public-private partnerships in urban heritage management. The events were organised by the Guangzhou Association of International Historic Towns, with speakers from a variety of organisations involved in the management of historic cities. EWH will participate in more of these international gatherings to build its international networks and increase mutual understanding between conservation practitioners.

Forth Bridge as a World Heritage Site

BOn 5th July 2015 the Forth Bridge was inscribed onto UNESCO’s World Heritage list. This  was the climax of three years of hard collaborative work after the UK Government decided to make the Bridge a candidate site in 2011.  In order to secure a successful bid, Historic Scotland’s nomination team worked closely with partners in the Forth Bridges Forum (including Transport Scotland, the owners of the property, Network Rail, Visit Scotland and Fife and City of Edinburgh Councils), the UK Government, UNESCO itself, and its advisory body, the International Council on Monuments and Sites.

Ultimately, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee voted unanimously in favour of inscription, and went further, several members citing the nomination dossier as an exemplar because of its concise and compelling presentation.  This was the first successful UK nomination since 2009, and the nomination team was delighted to be able to put Scotland onto the international stage in such a positive way.

The Forth Bridge was the world’s earliest great multi-span cantilever bridge, and at 2,529m long, remains one of the longest. It is an iconic structure, recognised across the globe. Scotland is now home to six World Heritage sites whose Outstanding Universal Value is considered to transcend national boundaries and to be of importance for future generations.

Higher Education Research

HEInvesting in our internationally excellent universities, supporting their world-class and high impact research and helping them build links and collaborations across the globe is at the heart of our ambitions.  The best research operates across boundaries be they disciplinary, institutional or nation state.

International research centres, such as the Fraunhofer Institute, are increasingly attracted to Scotland by the quality of our research.  Fraunhofer established its first UK centre and UK headquarters in Scotland in 2012. Scottish universities are also pursuing research collaborations with countries across the world while also collaborating to harness global opportunities and to promote the Scottish brand.

Recent trade missions to Hong Kong and Indonesia organised in conjunction with Scottish Development International, the British Council and Universities Scotland have focused on the opportunities offered by the excellence of the Research Pools and the high quality of education available from the higher education sector within Scotland.

Our eight innovation centres in Scotland are also attracting significant interest from across the globe. They provide solutions to demand-led problems facing industry and have the potential to transform the nature of university-business collaboration.  By linking indigenous and international businesses with Scottish universities on a national scale, innovation centres are working directly with industry to respond nimbly to opportunities for potential growth.


EUROPEAN UNION - case studies can be found here.

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