In April 2016, Tsinghua University proposed to establish the Asian Universities Alliance (AUA). In September 2016, delegations from more than ten Asian universities convened in Beijing to discuss the Constitution draft, the organization, and the financial issues of the alliance. With the joint efforts of all AUA founding universities, all preparation work was completed within one year. On 29 April 2017, the Asian Universities Alliance was formally launched at Tsinghua University, with its inaugural summit, a student innovation workshop, and a series of related events.
The founding of AUA marks a significant milestone in Asian higher education. It is a product of the common needs and shared expectation of the 15 founding universities.
In the past few decades, Asia’s development—particularly the emergence of various “Asian miracles”—has attracted the attention from across the world. This is largely due to the open policies that most Asian countries have adopted. Asia firmly supports and increasingly participates in the process of economic globalization, benefiting from it while contributing significantly to it as well.
In the twenty-first century, the most important feature of a world-class university is openness. Only through becoming more open can universities enhance their influence and reputation and be able to make increasingly positive contributions to world higher education. Such demands for openness and internationalization prompt us to rethink some fundamental questions. What missions should universities undertake in our age? What skills should university students acquire? And what challenges do universities face? It is in this very spirit of openness and internationalization that 15 representative universities in Asia step forward to form the Asian Universities Alliance, despite our social, economic, historical and cultural differences.
As declared in a joint statement from the AUA founding universities, we agree that higher education will play an increasingly important role in future Asian societies and that economic globalization has made openness an exceptional contemporary trend of higher education. AUA will embrace this trend by building closer ties both among member universities and with universities outside AUA. Together, we will play a more significant role in world higher education.
To this purpose, we will take four concrete measures in educational and research collaboration over the next three years. These measures include increasing intra-AUA mobility, enhancing research collaboration, discussing higher education strategies and policies, and publishing annual reports on Asian higher education.
It is our sincere wish that in moving towards the AUA goals, AUA universities will have greater influence in the world and will make even more contributions to regional and world peace and development.
Let us integrate Asian wisdom and shape a better future.
Founding President, Asian Universities Alliance
Chairman, Tsinghua University Council