It has been a fascinating mind-extension to be in a comparative conference discussing various educational issues. In many ways, the world has gotten more similar – yet there are so many different understandings and configurations of education. Thursday was focused on broader issues of academic competence , while Friday will be more focused upon the topic area of lifelong learning. The ICER – International Conference on Educational Research – has brought together about 20 international scholars, as well as a healthy attendance from the graduate students and faculty at Seoul National University. The focus of the morning was on current understandings of large-scale school student assessment – possibilities and issues. Whether USA, Korea, Japan or Belgium (which doesn’t have nation-wide school assessment), similar thinking and concerns were raised. In my session, the afternoon was focused on academic competence and higher education. Specifically, four individuals discussed aspects of current issues and understandings of rankings of higher education institutions whether through teaching, research, other varied criteria, or some efforts at organizational effectiveness. I welcome the international collegial discussions - very rich and intriguing. I am particularly fascinating with Latvia and Lithuania and their understandings of academic life and education issues..