On 9-10 November 2022, the sixth Asian Universities Alliance Executives Meeting was hosted by AUA Executive Presidency 2022-2023 United Arab Emirates University (UAEU). Participants representing all AUA member universities joined the AUAEM 2022 held in Al Ain, UAE. All attendees shared their experiences of AUA programs and discussed opportunities for future development.
Professor Ghaleb AlBreiki, acting Vice Chancellor of the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), delivered his address expressing a warm welcome to all participants at the opening ceremony. During his speech, he reflected on AUA’s achievements and reviewed various UAEU-supported programs. In addition, he initiated the Sabbatical Exchange program for professors of AUA member universities willing to spend their sabbaticals at the UAEU. As the UAEU is looking outward to new partnerships, Prof. AlBreiki mentioned that it is important to prioritize programs focusing on cultivating collaborations that lead to greater innovation.
During his remarks, Professor Wang Hongwei, Vice President of Tsinghua University, on behalf of AUA President Professor Wang Xiqin, expressed his deepest appreciation to Vice-Chancellor Prof. AlBreiki and his team for hosting the first Executives’ Meeting held offline since the pandemic. Prof. Wang stated that after five years of building, AUA has become more open, more inclusive and more resilient by addressing global challenges through extensive collaboration.
Following this, Professor H.D. Karunaratne, Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo, also delivered his remarks, emphasizing AUA programs and their significance for Asian higher education. He added that AUA member universities should continue to create new avenues for cooperation and forge collaborations on research in new arenas.
On November 9th, following the opening ceremony, three sessions were held. During the first session, chaired by Prof. Abdullah AlSalman, Vice Rector of King Saud University, representatives of six member universities reported on the AUA programs they hosted this year. These programs included five student mobility programs hosted by Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Nazarbayev University, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, four academic conferences organized by Chulalongkorn University, United Arab Emirates University, and Tsinghua University. The AHEO Project Director, Dr. Zhong Zhou of Tsinghua University Institute of Education, reported on the latest progress of the research. The AUA Secretariat reported on AUA Online Education Fair 2022 and AUA Lecture Series 2022.
Prof. Thidar Aye, Pro-Rector of the University of Yangon, chaired the second session. Dr. Zhang Chuanjie, AUA Secretary, introduced the draft of AUA Framework 2023-2026 and encouraged member universities to propose new initiatives beyond the Framework. Following this, Dr. Abrizah Abdullah, Dean of the Institute of Advanced Studies at Universiti Malaya, presented the latest findings on developing joint/dual degree programs between AUA member universities. The third Session, chaired by Prof. Yong Zulina Binti Zubairi, Exercising the Function of Registrar of Universiti Malaya, discussed ideas regarding the 7 major revisions in the new Framework suggested by AUA Secretariat.
On November 10th, three sessions were held in total, including the closing ceremony. Prof. Ilesanmi Adesida, Provost of Nazarbayev University, reported on the Fifth Meeting of AUA Working Group I on Financial Sustainability. As to the AUA Working Group II, Dr. Mezyad Alterkawi, Director of the International Cooperation and Scientific Twinning Department at King Saud University, reported on Member and Observer Admission. After the sessions, participants continued sharing their suggestions and discussing future initiatives.
Prof. Mohammad Madi, Dean of the College of Business and Economics at United Arab Emirates University, chaired the sixth session, reflecting on the ideas and experiences shared throughout the event. Prof. K.V.K. Rao, Deputy Director of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, delivered the closing remarks, thanked all the attendees for their participation in the discussions during the AUAEM 2022, and concluded that AUA will continue promoting research collaboration and encourage member universities to increase participation in future AUA activities.
Overall, AUA Executives’ Meeting 2022 reflects the readiness of AUA member universities to deepen strong multilateral relationships in the post-pandemic era and forge ahead together with new initiatives. As a result of the fruitful discussions, participants jointly reiterated that the key to future development is to strengthen ties among AUA member universities while transforming Asian higher education through innovative approaches.
Writer: Darine Razmadze