Student Mobility

AUA Y! E! S!

On 15 April 2022, 24 students from 11 AUA member universities convened for AUA Youth Empowerment Session 2022, focusing on “Empowering Asian Youth for a Better World”.

In his welcoming remarks Dr. Zhang Chuanjie, the AUA Secretary, highlighted AUA’s initiatives and their impact. Since the AUA was founded in April 2017, member universities have held 26 programs engaging more than 800 students. He also acknowledged the active participation and commitment of the students from 15 universities across 14 countries to exchange knowledge has inspired and enriched AUA’s work over the years. Through seminars, forums and other events, students were able to deepen cross-cultural dialogue and help build a better AUA, contributing to a brighter future for Asia.

Followed by a candid ice-breaking and self-introduction, the students delved into their stories with AUA.

Yu Zhou, from Tsinghua University, recalled his participation in the AUA Youth Forum in Indonesia in 2018. The training lecture and social practice themed “Life and Water”, in which groups of students picked up trash in Bali beach and came to be aware of the significance of ocean preservation, left a deep impression on him. Yu’s AUA experiences later on inspired him to intern at UNDP and eventually to pursue a career in climate change. Citing an activity where his fellow peers adorned traditional outfits as an example, Yu summarized that the forum enhanced the students’ awareness of how Asian countries could cooperate across cultures, especially the younger generations.

Sharing her experience as an organizer and participant of “AUA Asia Deep Dive Program 2018” in Kazakhstan, Akerke Issabekova from Nazarbayev University mentioned the useful practice of assigning local students to newcomers within each group. This allowed the students to enjoy in-depth interactions and helped familiarize the students with their host country.

For Yatin Diwakar from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay who has enrolled in “AUA Student Competition: Good Governance in the 21st century and its challenges” in 2019, this event in Kazakhstan was the first time he travelled outside India. Yatin has kept in touch with many volunteers and participants he met there and added that AUA offered students a precious opportunity to intermingle with their counterparts from other Asian countries.

Students also posed their expectations for AUA’s various youth activities. Several students suggested that preparations such as group division in advance might be more efficient since group members could fully communicate even before their meeting in the host country. Owing to the pandemic, students have been able to participate in online programs only, where they have continued to connect and interact with peers from other Asian countries. They hope to meet offline one day after the situation improves.

This Youth Empowerment Session 2022 is part of the AUA 5th Anniversary Celebration, gathering students who have engaged in previous student programs. Through the discussion and sharing session, students represent a brighter future of AUA youth cooperation.

Writer: LI Runfeng