Global Engagement Solutions for Higher Education

Strategic Budgeting: Championing the Importance of International Education with Paulo Zagalo-Melo


[00:00:05] Steve MacDonald: Welcome everyone to the Global Engagement Insights podcast. I’m Steve Macdonald, your host. Today, we’ve got a very special guest.

[00:00:11] Steve MacDonald: We’ve got Paulo Zagalo-Melo. Paulo is the associate provost for global education at Western Michigan University. Now, Paulo, you’ve got an interesting background. You’ve been in global education for over 30 years. You are also in a rock band and play drums and bass.

[00:00:33] Steve MacDonald: It’s great because you’ve got a lot of diverse interests. But today, we’re going to be talking specifically about internationalization and how it’s just a no-brainer for higher education institutions. Why is it a no-brainer? What’s the case for that? You’ve got some really interesting stats. We’re also going to talk about how you get funds and resources in that strategic budgeting process to make sure that you have those resources to fund and then execute well on the programs.

[00:00:56] Steve MacDonald: Take just a minute beyond the small introduction I made for you there and tell us more about your background and what you’re doing right now at Western Michigan.

[00:01:13] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: Thank you.

[00:01:14] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: At Western Michigan, as you mentioned, I’m the associate provost for global education, which means that I’m in charge of the international office here at Western Michigan University. Our international office is called the Haenicke Institute for Global Education. My role is to design and implement strategies, projects, programs, and initiatives in internationalization for Western Michigan University.

[00:01:42] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: As you mentioned, I've worked in this field for 30 years now. I just realized that this fall, when I had completed three decades working in this area, I worked for Fulbright. That's how I stumbled upon the world of internationalization to take a job as a financial officer for the Fulbright Commission in Portugal 30 years ago.

[00:02:08] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: My background is in accounting, finance, and management. So, I took a job as a financial officer for this organization. I knew absolutely nothing about it, to be very honest. Back then, I knew it was connected with the US and the US government Department of State, the embassy, and the Portuguese government as well.

[00:02:28] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: But I have no idea what I was getting myself into. And definitely, I had no idea that it was going to be the job that changed my life and my career.

[00:02:40] Steve MacDonald: Tell me a little about that because I know you're very passionate about internationalization and what it does for students.

[00:02:46] Steve MacDonald: And you were also an international student, isn't that right?

[00:02:48] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: I was twice during, so for my master's, an international student from Portugal here to the US. Then again, during my doctorate. It was a great experience. I can honestly say that I've looked at internationalization from all possible angles.

How Important Is International Education?

[00:03:07] Steve MacDonald: It's great because we're going to rely on that passion and all those angles specifically today, but I want to start from a big picture. And if I were to ask you to give us a rating from 1 to 10 on how important international education is, where 1 for the institution, it's not important at all.

[00:03:30] Steve MacDonald: 10, it's vital to higher education's overall growth and sustainability today. Where would you put it on that scale and why?

[00:03:41] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: I put it at the highest quarter of the scale, to be honest. It's essential for many reasons. It's essential financially because it helps with international open enrollment, growth, and the financial sustainability of the organization, and it opens the door to an enrollment market that is growing.

[00:04:07] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: And that part is obviously meaningful financially, but it's also more than that. It's the global talent search. That is a very important part, which is why so many people working in this field are passionate about it.

[00:04:29] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: Ultimately, we're contributing to changing the mindset at the institutional level, at the local community level, at the state level, at the country level, and in the world. We contribute to mutual understanding. That's what international education does. It contributes to mutual understanding between peoples of different cultures, languages, and traditions.

[00:04:58] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: And so I usually say that we're in the peacekeeping business, the peacekeeping industry. We contribute to people understanding each other better so that in moments of conflict, that mutual understanding can contribute to a better mediation or resolution of that conflict. That's ultimately what drives people who work in internationalization to go to their office every day with a spring in their step and think that they're doing something much bigger than themselves or their institutions.

The Economic Value of International Education

[00:05:36] Steve MacDonald: I want to understand more about that, but you have such an interesting financial background as well in global education. What is the overall economic value? If you were assessing global student enrollment growth and the impact on a higher education institution from a financial perspective, explain that impact so we can understand it.

[00:06:02] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: It is an impact that goes beyond what most people imagine. From a financial contribution, I can tell you that, in the case of Western Michigan University, we're talking about a university with about 15,000 students.

[00:06:23] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: So it's a mid-sized public university in Kalamazoo, which has about 80,000 people. Kalamazoo County has about 200,000 people. The international enrollment at Western contributes over 70 million dollars to the community, and it contributes to about 600 jobs in the community. These are not Paulo's numbers. This is not my educated guess or anything like that.

[00:06:59] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: These are numbers published by NAFSA, the Association of International Educators. The numbers they publish are based on data provided by the US Department of Commerce.

[00:07:14] Steve MacDonald: I've heard that global education is responsible for 38 billion dollars of economic impact in the US, let alone the world.

[00:07:23] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: Exactly. Exactly. The example I gave is of such a small community. Consider the size of the United States. We're talking about 70 million dollars in a city of 80,000 people just from one university.

[00:07:40] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: The size is really impactful. At its peak, it was a top-five export for the US. So, in terms of US economic activity, this is, by any measure, a very meaningful impact. And again, it goes so much beyond the financial and economic side of things.

[00:08:06] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: So while you're contributing to the US economy, in the case of US higher education, you're also contributing to improving the quality of research and innovation in the US and every country with international enrollment. Because research topics know no boundaries. One could argue that there's no local. I don't even know if there was ever a local in the history of civilization.

[00:08:35] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: We've had that search for global talent since the beginning of civilization. I always remember two great examples. Cicero, the Roman philosopher, went to Athens in Greece to improve his skills in rhetoric. Obviously, in Athens, there were great philosophers who were considered experts in rhetoric at the time and still today.

[00:08:58] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: And so we had this Roman philosopher who went to Greece to improve his skills in rhetoric. That's a good example of how far back you have examples of people wanting to improve their skills through international education and international scholarly work. Another example I give in the case of the search for global talent is Christopher Columbus, who was born in Italy.

[00:09:28] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: He moved to Portugal at age 25 because Portugal was the main naval power at the time and then moved to Spain because Portugal already had too many projects, trips, and journeys going on in their maritime expansion. So he goes to Spain, and the crown of Spain ends up funding his journey to the Americas.

[00:09:59] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: And so we have someone born in Italy, moves to another country first to be where the global talent for his particular activity was, and then moves on to search for where the investment for that activity was. We can find so many examples going as far back as many centuries or millennia.

[00:10:20] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: This is part of the human condition. Internationalization of education, higher education, any sort of education, and cultural exchanges are part of the human condition. There were never borders that stopped this, and I truly hope there will never be.

International Education's Impact on the Enrollment Cliff

[00:10:45] Steve MacDonald: That's amazing. I didn't know that about Christopher Columbus. Thank you for that. So it's a part of our global culture and how we've always operated. Tell me a little about the white elephant in the room, which is the enrollment cliff, the declining enrollments. What is the impact of global education on higher education institutions as the trend is going in the wrong direction?

[00:11:16] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: The impact on higher education can be significant, and we're not only talking about the financial impact, but we can think, for instance, of economic competitiveness, of a country that, for some reason, closes its institutions or institutions themselves close to internationalization and cultural exchanges.

[00:11:40] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: As I mentioned, no research topic knows borders. And so, if you close that interaction, that intellectual exchange, you will have limitations to what you could achieve in terms of innovation and creativity. The best ideas about what you're doing might be somewhere else, or someone else in another country might have ideas or ways of thinking and methodologies that can make a groundbreaking difference in what we do in a certain area of research or our economy.

[00:12:06] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: Closing ourselves to that cultural, intellectual exchange is drawing a limit to what should have no limits.

[00:12:33] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: And with the technologies we have nowadays and the types of research we do, we can see how far gone we are in terms of just a few decades of what we thought was impossible to achieve. And where we are now, with things like artificial intelligence, we barely had computers 30 years ago when I started working in international education. We barely had personal computers, at least.

[00:13:02] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: All this increased growth, this expansion of thought and ideas and creativity, and the economic impact that comes with it is really the result of an open borders policy on connecting the minds of people around the world.

[00:13:22] Steve MacDonald: So you're saying the impact is limitless.

International Education: The #1 Growth Market For Higher Education

[00:13:26] Steve MacDonald: You had mentioned in a previous conversation that international education represented the largest growth market. So now we're talking about the business of staying in the business of higher education. In order to be able to fund, create, and perpetuate everything that you're talking about here, which goes to the very nature of our country as a country in the US and other countries, our competitive advantage.

[00:13:50] Steve MacDonald: Just as we progress as a global society and the research and the breakthroughs and things we're doing, what did you mean by international education was the number one growth market for higher education?

[00:14:08] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: Exactly. For instance, in 2022, there were 6.4 million students studying outside of their home countries. So, the global international enrollment was over 6 million, and that represents a growth over the last decade if we don't consider the pandemic years. If we go only with the decade of 2010 until 2020, global international enrollment grew by 70% in a decade.

[00:14:43] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: I'd love to see what other economic areas of activity grew by similar percentages within just one decade. The number of international students in the US grew exponentially. Look at the 1950s when cultural exchanges, student exchanges, and international enrollment started taking off institutionally with programs like the Fulbright program created in 1946.

[00:15:18] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: If we look at the growth since then, I really don't think there are many areas of economic activity that have that kind of growth in such a short time. Of course, it's not a short time since the 1950s, but it is if you consider the type of growth this activity has had, not only in the US but more recently everywhere around the world.

[00:15:37] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: From 2000 to 2022, the number of international students grew by four times everywhere. It's just really unbelievable. But again, if we look at the history of humankind, it has always been there.

[00:16:00] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: And of course, if it was so difficult to travel back then, I can imagine what it was for a philosopher like Cicero just to go from Rome to Athens back in 79 BC compared to what it would take now for any of us to go from Chicago to Athens, if I wanted to, or to from Detroit to Greece.

[00:16:27] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: It shouldn't be a surprise, but the numbers that make it more impactful are not only the levels of economic impact but also how all types of diversity, racial, ethnic, intellectual, and cultural diversity have increased in our campuses. That's also very important because we have to acknowledge that some students will never leave their home, hometown, home state, or home country.

[00:17:01] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: But they can have everywhere around the world in institutions that are truly internationalized. They can have a global education and exposure to a representation of the world, a real representation of world cultures at their doorstep. And that's really important because No matter where they are and where they will be for their entire life, if they never leave their home state, for instance, or their city, the world is still there. The fact that they work in, move, and socialize in a globally interconnected world doesn't stop at the door of someone who has never left their city. They still have to deal with that time, that global dimension in everything they do.

[00:17:55] Steve MacDonald: In our last conversation, you brought up diversity, and I looked it up. Diversity is a very important point for students in deciding where they're going to go. After the cost of tuition and the degrees that are being offered in the location, it's diversity.

[00:18:13] Steve MacDonald: So it's not only something that betters us as individuals, but as we're trying to address enrollment issues and declines, after the top big three, it is the number one decision-making factor for students today. So what I'm hearing from you is that not only is there this global market to help address the decline in enrollments that is going up dramatically as enrollments overall are going down, but it's also diversity in the culture and the sharing of ideas and research and economic impact.

Making the Case for International Education

[00:18:49] Steve MacDonald: This collection leads me to my next question for you. Suppose you're giving advice to other SIOs and others who are creating and maintaining the mission and the strategic plan for higher education. What is your advice to them in terms of the importance of global engagement in what they're doing?

[00:19:15] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: How to make the case. Do you mean how to make the case within their own institutions? That's our daily life for all SIOs. I'd say no matter how supportive the institution is, it's something that we must do almost on a daily basis. It's important to connect what we do with the university's mission and vision.

[00:19:43] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: And to show that there is the need for global education in every dimension, every component of the university's vision and mission. There is a need for global research. There is a need for the search for global talent to come to our institutions.

[00:20:04] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: There is a need to send our students abroad or develop global competence even if they don't go abroad because they need that global competence to be the best version of themselves in our interconnected world. So, it's very important to make the case by aligning what we do not as an add-on.

[00:20:28] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: We're not an auxiliary university service. We're not something that is one of the departments of the university. We do business over here. We do engineering over there. And then we do international also in another place. International is embedded within everything that the institution does. And that's how you make the case: to show that you can do this better with a global component, an international component.

[00:21:01] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: You need to have an international component in research. You need to have a global education component in business, engineering, and most other areas. So, it's by demonstrating how infused internationalization is in the institution's life.

[00:21:24] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: I never like to see internationalization referred to as something the university does or has as a department, or as an office, or one of the components of what the university does because it's in everything. It should be in everything. I don't mind if the institution doesn't highlight internationalization as long as internationalization is in everything we do.

Making the Case within a Strategic Budgeting Process

[00:21:55] Steve MacDonald: You said something at the very beginning of this that it's something that you have to do constantly. So when we talk ultimately here about garnering resources and strategic budgeting, you're talking about being a constant advocate and making the case of how it infuses into everything that the university does, making the case that it represents one of the largest global markets for increasing enrollments.

[00:22:24] Steve MacDonald: You're making the case on a constant basis, where I know you're also looking for your own champions internally. But I'm hearing you say we need to be the champions for how we're helping the institution, and that's how we're going to garner our support internally. Is that a good representation of what you're saying?

[00:22:45] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: That's the perfect representation. Yes, we have to internally show that we are everywhere and that what we do impacts most, if not everything, that the university is doing or could impact it if embedded into those activities and those programs and so forth. That's really how you make the case is to show that we're just delivering something that is essential to everything we do.

[00:23:16] Steve MacDonald: How does that process work well, and what are the lessons you've learned for doing this for 30 years, putting together those budgets and pitching, and constantly being that advocate? What advice could you give folks who are constantly trying to do that themselves who maybe don't have the same mission that Western Michigan University does and need some advice and help in that area?

[00:23:41] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: That might be where strategic budgeting comes in, which has been something that we have also been pushing for as a label and a focus in international education and internationalization. There are two metaphors that I tend to use.

[00:24:03] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: One is that first, sometimes you have to live with the fact that you must show that the plane flies. You must show that you can take it off the ground, even if it's not fully finished so that people see it works. And you get their attention. It reminds me of when you see those images of the first airplanes. In the first version, they don't even look like airplanes. Some of the pioneers of aviation were trying to show the world they could make these contraptions that flew.

[00:24:36] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: Sometimes we have to do the same thing. We have to show that this works, this global learning program, this coil program, this. Sometimes, you have to set up initiatives that are not perfect to start with, but they show potential. So that's always very important.

[00:24:56] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: You can't wait for everything to be okay and almost perfect for you to design the wonderful study abroad program and the wonderful global learning program and so forth. You have to do things first to show, okay, we can make this work.

[00:25:18] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: And then you also have to show that you can do it in a financially sustainable manner. So the second stage of showing that the plane flies is, okay, now you go on to build something financially sustainable. No sinking ship will reach its journey. And so you have to show that you might have a good idea.

[00:25:48] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: You might have a great program, but more than that, this can work consistently. It's not a one-off thing that you could make it work for one day, month, or year, but then it disappears into thin air because you've never thought about how to sustain that. The second stage is to build something financially sustainable by budgeting correctly, having a comprehensive budgeting strategy, and aligning your budgeting with the university's strategy.

[00:26:27] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: And that's another important part of strategic budgeting. You have to connect the strategy of the university, the strategic plan of the university, to what you're doing. Or connect what you're doing to the university's strategic planning to show again because, at that point, you're again making the case.

[00:26:48] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: For internationalization, you're saying here are all these programs and initiatives that are perfectly aligned with all these strategies in the institution's strategic plan. And here, they are correctly budgeted so we can show that they will be financially sustainable and can last for the next five years or ten years endlessly.

[00:27:11] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: That's really the importance of strategic budgeting. It's the essence of making the case for international education. Making the case for international education through a strategic budgeting approach is important.

[00:27:33] Steve MacDonald: What are the most important proof points on the sustainability of what you're doing? Yes, you can get it up. It can fly. But guess what? We can keep it in the air.

[00:27:42] Steve MacDonald: And it's going to fit into the overall mission. But what are the proof points that it's sustainable, that it's something that's going to last?

[00:27:50] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: Just like in any other business or economic initiative, you have to show that there are numbers supporting it. There's a market there.

[00:28:01] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: There's demand, there's a need, and in global education, again, the need is about international interactions to support our research global learning programs to increase the global competence of students, including those who might never leave their home country.

[00:28:27] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: It's to show that competence and that what you're doing in terms of demand is important. There's a demand for it. There's a need for it. And so once you show that there's a demand and a need for it institutionally, then you should show that it has a cost and that you know what the cost is.

[00:28:50] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: You've assessed all dimensions of the cost, and you also know what the institution needs to fund it in a sustainable way.

[00:29:00] Steve MacDonald: That sounds like a good solid business plan.

[00:29:02] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: You always need a good business plan.

[00:29:06] Steve MacDonald: I understand, but it's very important because of the sustainability viability of what you're going to do. They all have to come together. That third point of how it fits into the university's overall mission is really important.

The Political Obstacles to International Education & Strategic Budgeting

[00:29:25] Steve MacDonald: In terms of global education and strategic budgeting, what haven't we talked about yet? What's something that we haven't covered? It's important if we're helping to educate others who are trying to perpetuate their offices in other institutions.

[00:29:44] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: That's a very important question.

[00:29:47] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: There's a major challenge about all this. It's making the case politically. And I don't mean politically in terms of the country's politics, any country's politics. When you bring in the global aspect and, for instance, the importance of international enrollment, you tend to think and that's, again, the human condition.

[00:30:13] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: We like to protect our turfs. We sometimes feel that if people come into where we live, they might be taking something away from us, or they might be reducing the resources available to us, and so forth. That's human nature. And so it often happens that when an institution is trying to make the case, for instance, in international research, international connections towards innovation, or investing more in international student recruitment to increase its international enrollment.

[00:30:49] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: It's easy for some people to think that there is money we're not investing in the community where the institution is located. And that's often one of the main issues with making the case. What is needed then is to counter that argument and show the benefit and the return on investment of this international education or internationalization initiative.

[00:31:17] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: The return on investment is more beneficial to the community than not investing in it. The return on investment is higher than it is if the institution does not invest that money globally or internationally.

[00:31:40] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: That's what sometimes is lacking. Because it is very easy to make the case that resources that are spent on international, across borders outside of the country, might not return to the country, might not return to the institution and the institution's community.

[00:32:01] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: They do. In fact, those reports I mentioned earlier, just about any talk I give on international education, is based on the amazing work that NAFSA does, but also based on a lot of information from the Institute of International Education and, as I mentioned, the US Department of Commerce.

[00:32:19] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: They show the gain from, for instance, just international enrollment. Those reports are just about the economic impact or economic value of international students in the US. That's the scope of the report. And so those can be used. Those reports can be used to show that, at least in terms of economic value.

[00:32:41] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: It's always easier because it's basically numbers to show the economic value and the return on investment of having more international students at a certain institution revert into the community and stays with the community. And now there's the non-economic impact that might be more difficult.

[00:33:00] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: But if we look at the list of all the Nobel prize winners residing and working in the US over the last 30, 40 years, let's see how many of them were international students or international scholars who came to the US and then stayed and resided in the US and got the Nobel prize while working here.

[00:33:26] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: But I actually have a local story to Western Michigan University and Michigan. We recently had our College of Engineering and Applied Sciences develop a project in partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation. The project was to rebuild a bridge in Detroit.

[00:33:51] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: This was the first arch bridge in the world that was completed offsite and then, after completion, was moved to the place where it will deliver its service. So, these were faculty from Western Michigan University from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and students as well.

[00:34:14] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: Many students participated. Most of the faculty and students participating in this project were international students. Most of the faculty were originally from outside the US. And even if some of them or several of them are now US citizens, most of the students participating in the project were international students.

[00:34:39] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: This is now a bridge that is going to be used every day for thousands, if not tens of thousands, of vehicles going over the bridge, every day, every month, every year. And that's a very simple example of how that global talent and those international connections are essential to something present in our everyday life and as simple as crossing a bridge.

[00:35:03] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: That is innovative in terms of the way it was designed and built-just a simple example here in our state of Michigan of the actual impact of international students.

[00:35:21] Steve MacDonald: The name international gives a perception that resources may not be stable, right? And there is a big perception versus reality, and you've done such a great job, from a financial perspective, of telling that story as well as the impact on the lives of the students themselves. I'm sure there is not a lack of initiatives that are worthy of funding in higher education.

[00:35:47] Steve MacDonald: So there is internal competition for a number of good ideas. And so making the case that you've talked about in all the different ways that you've talked about is so important to rise above that competition internally, to get the budgets, and then be able to execute on the plans that you've talked about.

The Foundational Importance of Higher Education

[00:36:13] Steve MacDonald: We've talked about so much here. If you had one thing, just a takeaway that you wanted to give everyone who was listening or watching this, what would that takeaway be?

[00:36:30] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: The takeaway definitely should be that the internationalization of higher education is essential and foundational to higher education.

[00:36:42] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: It's not something new. It didn't start ten years ago, 30 years ago. It was always there. It was always present in education and academic life as far back as you can take it. Ultimately, the reason why we do this is to contribute to a more peaceful world and to contribute to understanding different people from different cultures and different countries better.

[00:37:16] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: And while doing that, we're contributing directly to improving our lives and the lives of our communities. No single topic is local anymore. If we're studying water problems in Kalamazoo or Michigan, for instance, a state with such a large area of freshwater with the Great Lakes around it,

[00:37:47] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: If we're studying freshwater and the importance of freshwater, there are communities everywhere dealing with those problems, and we can help them, and they can help us. And maybe we have problems for which they have found solutions that could be adapted, and we don't know. So it's about that we can only improve our lives through global education and global engagement.

[00:38:11] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: That's ultimately what you do. And while doing that, we're contributing to a better world and people understanding each other. And we're economically benefiting our own communities and institutions and opening up the doors for our communities to have more access to the world.

[00:38:34] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: And by more access, to know more about the world, to interact better with the world, and even to look for opportunities elsewhere.

[00:38:44] Steve MacDonald: I know that people are going to have questions after watching this. If somebody wanted to reach out to you, would it be appropriate to give a link to your profile on LinkedIn as an example of how people could get ahold of you?

[00:38:53] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: Of course, I'd be delighted. Yes, absolutely.

[00:38:59] Steve MacDonald: Paulo, thank you so much for coming on and sharing.

[00:39:03] Steve MacDonald: Obviously, after 30 years, you've gained a lot of knowledge and wisdom on this. And I love the softer side. I'm calling it the softer side, but the strategies that you have to think about beyond just pure finances, whether it's politics, the competition for good initiatives to fund internally, the dramatizing of how much impact it has locally and globally, and how important this is dating back to the very foundations of education. You've made a very good point in terms of making the case that it is important to do strategic budgeting.

[00:39:39] Steve MacDonald: So thank you for that. I appreciate it.

[00:39:41] Paulo Zagalo-Melo: Yeah, absolutely. Strategic budgeting and making the case are connected. They have to leave connected. I really appreciate it. Thank you.