AUA Presidents Forum Held at HKUST
On April 14th, as an important part of the AUA Summit 2019, the AUA Presidents Forum was held at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), attended the AUA Presidents Forum and delivered a keynote speech. President Qiu Yong of Tsinghua University, and President Wei Shyy of HKUST addressed the forum. Presidents and delegates of the 15 member universities of the Asian University Alliance (AUA) held in-depth discussions on topics such as the “Roles of Universities in the Sustainability Agenda” and “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems: Asian Perspectives on Technological Stewardship and Higher Education” to jointly explore the development of higher education in Asia. Vice President and Provost of Tsinghua University Yang Bin and Vice‐President for Institutional Advancement of HKUST Sabrina Lin attended the forum.
Carrie Lam welcomed the Asian Universities Alliance (AUA) and its third annual summit to be held in Hong Kong. “Thank you for inviting me to join today's Presidents Forum, where great minds like yours come together to consider issues of concern to us, and issues of importance to Asia and the world”, said Carrie Lam. She noted that Hong Kong prides itself on connectivity and the AUA also believes in the power of connectivity. As President Qiu Yong said, 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. She believes that this growing connectivity within Asia is both necessary and meaningful.
She noted that the Presidents Forum, with sustainable development and technological entrepreneurship as central themes, was as ambitious and welcome as the AUA itself. “Innovation and technology is a policy priority for my Government and an area of progressive growth and boundless promise for our universities,” she said. “We are, in short, committed to helping our universities realize their full R&D potential. Our more ambitious goal, however, is to help build an international innovation and technology hub here in Hong Kong.” She also noted that they are building unprecedented connections and opportunity through the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and strengthening their collaboration with the Mainland on the innovation and technology front under the "One Country, Two Systems" principle. At the end, she wished that the AUA, and each of its member universities, continuing success, and all of the participants a rewarding Presidents Forum and Summit in Hong Kong.
On behalf of the Asian Universities Alliance, President Qiu Yong extended his warmest welcome to all the participants and expressed his thanks to the full support from HKUST. “AUA was founded on 29 April 2017 by fifteen representative universities across Asia. From that day on, all of our founding institutions have been working towards the mission of AUA, which is to jointly address regional and global challenges, specifically related to higher education and economic, scientific and technological development, by strengthening collaboration among member institutions，”President Qiu said. The past two years have seen AUA taking steady steps to transform its ambitions into tangible outcomes. We have carried out collaborative endeavors that benefitted our students, scholars, and societies at large, which including increasing student mobility, promoting research collaboration, enhancing university administration, and increasing influence in Asia and in the world.
President Qiu noted that the AUA Presidents Forum brings together university leaders to have dialogues on the development of strategic plans, the improvement of management, and the problems that concern the higher education communities. “As globalization has made openness the trend of future higher education, we believe universities will play an increasingly important role in addressing the most pressing global challenges of human kind,” he said.
President Wei Shyy of HKUST, the organizer of the AUA Presidents Forum, welcomed presidents of the AUA member universities to HKUST in his address. He noted that as a regional and highly focused alliance, the AUA provides members with opportunities for having in-depth exchanges and building last friendship. With the joint efforts, fruitful outcomes were achieved at the Board meeting held the previous day. President Wei Shyy also introduced the achievements of HKUST in discipline arrangement, scientific research and innovation and entrepreneurship, hoping that the Presidents Forum would provide a platform for full exchange of ideas and collision of views.
Nearly 200 teachers and students attended the forum and communicate with guests during the Q&A session at the forum.
This is the third Presidents Forum held by the AUA. In 2017, at the first Presidents Forum held in Beijing, representatives from the member universities discussed ways to create a better future for Asian higher education. In 2018, the Presidents Forum took place in the form of a roundtable themed “The Rise of Asian Universities” at the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan Province, China.
Writers: Guo Lili, Wilson Khor
Editor: Guo Lili