The "2023 Asian Conference on Higher Education - Student Volunteers and Community Engagement," one of the programs of the Asian Universities Alliance, was held on 23 September 2023 by Tsinghua University. This virtual event attracted over eighty students and teachers from 12 Asian universities.
The conference comprised a main forum and four sub-forums, focusing on themes such as “Equitable and Quality Education for All”, “Go Green”, “Supporting the Elderly and the Disabled”, and “Public Health”. Participants shared and exchanged experiences wholeheartedly in youth volunteer construction, engaging in meaningful discussions.
The conference began with an opening speech by Wang Rui, secretary of the Tsinghua University Committee of the Communist Youth League, emphasizing the crucial role of youth in promoting volunteerism and societal progress. He highlighted the significance of volunteer service in the growth of young people and the educational work of universities. Wang Rui expressed the hope that the conference would serve as a platform for communication and exchange among Asian universities, fostering mutual learning, cooperation, and friendship.
The conference focused on the organic integration of student volunteer service and education, particularly addressing how universities can develop volunteer education programs. Participants from various universities detailed the characteristics of campus volunteer project construction and shared successful case experiences. Simultaneously, in-depth discussions took place on the challenges faced in volunteer construction, such as incentive mechanisms and the effective transformation of volunteer activities.
During the closing session of the main forum, Yang Yegong, head of Organizing and Training Department of China Youth Volunteer Association, delivered a keynote address, providing insights into the work and development of the China Youth Volunteers Association, along with the University Student Volunteer Western Plan. He underscored the vital significance of international exchanges facilitated by volunteers in the development of various national civilizations. Teachers and students from different regions collectively explored the best practices and future directions of student volunteer services, sparking thoughtful discussions.
After the conference, attending professors and teachers shared their impressions. Dr. Saeed Asiri from King Saud University expressed his deep immersion and enjoyment in the conference. He learned diverse models for organizing university student volunteer activities from the sharing of different speakers and projects. He looks forward to closing meetings between university staff or administrators to discuss potential collaboration and improvement measures that could impact future volunteer activities. Ms. Yuliya Palkina from the University of Yangon viewed the conference as a valuable experiment and provided suggestions and expectations for the development of the Asian Universities Alliance in volunteer activities. She advocated for the establishment of a platform for post-conference communication among participants and the organization of offline events to facilitate deeper exchanges.
(Adapted from: Tsinghua University News)