The AUA Executives' Meeting (AUAEM) 2020, hosted by AUA Executive Presidency 2020-2021 Nazarbayev University, took place online on 5-6 November 2020. Over 70 participants representing all AUA member universities were in attendance across both days of the AUAEM. Yang Bin, Vice President and Provost of Tsinghua University, delivered the welcome address at the opening ceremony.
Prof. Yang Bin congratulated NU on their ten-year anniversary and commended Dr. Katsu for his courageousness in taking on the role of AUA Executive President during a global health pandemic. Former AUA Executive President 2019-2020 and Vice Chancellor of University of Colombo, Prof. Chandrika Wijeyaratne also delivered remarks during the opening ceremony, expressing her ongoing commitment to the future development and growth of AUA.
Prof. Yang Bin delivering the welcome address
Prof. Ilesanmi Adesida, Provost of Nazarbayev University, delivered a welcome address at the opening ceremony on behalf of Dr. Shigeo Katsu, AUA Executive President 2020-2021 and President of Narazbayev University. Extending a warm welcome to the virtual AUAEM 2020, Prof. Adesida expressed the honour of NU in holding the current Executive Presidency which conincides with the ten-year anniversary of the university and highlighted many of the university's achievements over the past decade. Referring to the fact that this year's AUAEM was being held online rather than in person, he acknowledged the effort made by AUA and its members in continuing to operate as normal as possible, and wished the event a great success.
Prof. Ilesanmi Adesida delivering the welcome address
The AUAEM began with the first session, chaired by Prof. Yang Bin. In his capacity as chair of Working Group II on Members and Observer Admission, Prof. Victor Shim, Associate Vice President, Global Relations Office, National University of Singapore, presented the progress report of the last working group meeting. This was followed by the introduction of related guidelines and discussion among members, led by AUA Secretary Dr.Zhang Chuanjie.
AUA Secretary Dr. Zhang Chuanjie at the AUAEM 2020
Chaired by Prof. Prasanna Mujumdar, Deputy Director (Finance and External Affairs), Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, session two included a progress report of the AHEO Research Team, delivered by AHEO Project Director Dr. ZHONG Zhou and the progress report and discussion of Working Group I on Financial Sustainability, delivered by chair of the working group, Prof. Adesida. Session three was chaired by Prof. Yong Zulina Zubairi, Associate Vice-Chancellor (International), Universiti Malaya, and included the progress report of current AUA programs. This was followed by an in-depth discussion among members, including suggestions for shifting programs online and possible activities for the coming year.
The closing remarks were led by Pro Rector of the University of Yangon, Prof. Nilar Aung. As the new Pro Rector, it was her first time to join an AUA event and she expressed her enthusiasm for getting to know AUA colleagues more deeply in the future. Prof. Adesida closed out the event by thanking everyone for their valuable contributions to the AUAEM and ongoing commitment and support towards strengthening the Alliance.
AUAEM Special Session "Empowering Creative and Responsible Students and Scholars During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond"
The second day of the AUAEM took place in the form of a special session themed "Empowering Creative and Responsible Students and Scholars During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond". The special session was coordinated by the director of the AHEO Project and Associate Professor, Institute of Education, Tsinghua University, Dr.Zhong Zhou. Hundreds of attendees from across AUA and the Asian region joined the online event.
Dr. Zhong Zhou chairing the first panel discussion
The special session took place in the form of a webinar, consisting of three panel discussions which were chaired by Dr. Zhong, Dr. Vassilios Tourassis, Dean, School of Engineering and Digital Sciences, Nazarbayev University, and Dr. Aida Sagintayeva, Dean, Graduate School of Education, Nazarbayev University, respectively. Fifteen representatives from all AUA member universities delivered keynote presentations, highlighting their universities' responses to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as sharing their unique experiences of how teaching, learning, research and student experiences were impacted as physical campuses were closed and traditional modes of education and research were moved online.
Participants engaged in fruitful and enriching discussions with one another, gaining new insights and acquiring key take aways through the mutual exchange of knowledge and experience. Participants also benefitted from the networking opportunities of this kind of online session and discussed the potential for future cooperation among themselves and their universities, exchanging contact information and expressing their eagerness to keep up the momentum gained during the AUAEM special session.
Dr. Zhong wrapped up the special session by summarizing some of the key and recurring points that were discussed throughout the day and thanked the participants for their time and effort in contributing such varied and important information and experiences.
Group photo of attendees at the AUA Executives' Meeting 2020
The online meeting demonstrates the resilience and adaptability of the AUA and its members in tackling challenges head on, and epitomizes the strong and unwavering spirit of joint collaboration upon which AUA is built.
Editor: Guo Lili