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Third AUA Executives' Meeting hosted in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Date: 2019-11-21
Place: Colombo, Sri Lanka

The third Asian Universities Alliance Executives' Meeting (AUAEM) was successfully hosted by AUA Executive Presidency 2019-2020 the University of Colombo, in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 21-22 November 2019. 

AUA delegates at the AUAEM 2019 in Colombo.

The annual event was attended by over 40 delegates from AUA member institutions. Attendees were greeted off the bus with a traditional Sri Lankan welcome ceremony, including the exchange of betel leaves between hosts and the delegates, a flag raising ceremony, and the lighting of oil lamps by the heads of delegations and senior figures from the University of Colombo. 

During the opening ceremony, AUA Executive President 2019-2020 Vice Chancellor Prof. Chandrika Wijeranatne delivered the welcoming address. In her address, Prof. Wijeranatne offered a warm welcome to delegates, and commended the efforts of the organizing committee. She emphasized the scope of AUA as a platform to connect a multitude of disciplines through research and education, which supports world class academics and top level graduates to be future leaders. "Together, we can contribute to the vast landscape of Asia and help towards the development of its policy framework through an evidence based process", said Prof. Wijeranatne.

Prof. YUAN Si, Vice Chairperson of the Tsinghua University Council, delivered welcoming remarks on behalf of AUA President QIU Yong, and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo, Prof. Lakshman Dissanayake also delivered brief remarks at the opening ceremony. 


Prof. Wijeranate during the opening ceremony

The two-day event was comprised of five sessions. The opening session consisted of a review of all AUA activities and programs which have taken place so far, including a report by Nazarbayev University, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Tsinghua University, and the AUA Secretariat. In this session, Dr. ZHONG Zhou, Chief Researcher of the Asian Higher Education Outlook (AHEO) report, highlighted the progress of AHEO 2020 "The University for Sustainability", and called for suggestions on the theme of next year's report. AHEO 2020 follows the success of the 2019 report "Education Innovation", which was published by Routledge. 

AUA Secretary Dr. ZHANG Chuanjie led sessions two and three of the AUAEM, which saw AUA Executives and senior representatives discussing the proposed revisions to the AUA Framework. The new AUA Framework will coincide with the second term of Presidency held by Tsinghua University from 2020 to 2023. 

AUA Secretary Dr. ZHANG Chuanjie during the AUAEM 2019

The fourth session saw AUA representatives present proposals for AUA activities to take place in 2020-2021, including student mobility programs and academic conferences. The final wrap up session marked the announcement of the next AUA Summit, which will take place on 17-18 April 2020 in Shanghai. 
On the evening of 22 November, the opening ceremony of the University of Colombo’s Annual Research Symposium was attended by a large number of AUA delegates. The ceremony featured a panel discussion on the topic "Research and Innovation: Asian Universities Experience" and included Prof. Yong Zulina Zubairi, Associate Vice-Chancellor of the University of Malaya, Prof. Ilesanmi Adesida, Provost of Nazarbayev University, Prof. YUAN Si, Vice Chairperson of Tsinghua University Council, and Prof. Andrew Wee, Vice President of National University of Singapore as panelists. The panel discussion was moderated by Vice Chancellor of University of Colombo Prof. Chandrika Wijeranatne. The panelists described in detail their respective universities' approaches to research and provided the audience with some insights into their major achievements in the areas of research and innovation. 


 Panel Session on Research and Innovation at the University of Colombo's Annual Research Symposium


Overall, the AUAEM 2019 was a great success, contributing to greater cohesion and collaboration between AUA members and deepening long lasting friendships across the Asian region.