Tsinghua University hosted the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Provosts’ Forum 2022 under the theme “Futures of Higher Education” on April 20.
The virtual meeting was attended by provosts and academic officers from APRU member institutions, as well as education specialists from UNESCO.
In his welcome remarks, Tsinghua University President Wang Xiqin said that the forum was being held in the spirit of collaboration and experience-sharing as the drivers of higher education and academic policy in higher education institutions’ respective and connected communities.
He stressed the need for collective, concerted effort and attention to address the challenges faced in higher education.
“We meet online as a result of the ongoing disruption caused by the pandemic. This reminds us that we live in a world where vastly different versions of the future are entirely possible. But we also have enduring hope to inspire through our shared commitment to education, research, and community service,” President Wang said.
Christopher Tremewan, Secretary General of APRU, thanked Tsinghua for hosting the forum in his opening remarks and said that, as a foundation APRU member, Tsinghua University has been strongly engaged for 25 years with APRU initiatives and has offered valuable global leadership through its commitment to the Asia-Pacific region. He urged universities to work together to transform higher education, emphasizing the common good.
APRU provides a neutral international platform for scaling up universities’ responses to global challenges, including educational reform, and for shaping a new generation of international leadership. Our understanding of diverse contexts as well as expertise in technological innovation are critical to creating the political will required for solutions to be implemented, he said.
In her opening remarks, Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education of UNESCO, said that higher education could and must help forge a new social contract for education, one that can shape more just and sustainable times for all.
“We need a new culture of collaboration which can only be fostered through strengthened partnerships and networks,” she added. Giannini encouraged higher education institutions to develop the great opportunity to address the challenges of current times, think beyond the horizon of the future and shape more just sustainable societies.
Sobhi Tawil, Director, Future of Learning and Innovation Team of UNESCO, delivered a keynote address, shedding light on the proposals advanced by the “Reimagining our futures together – A new social contract for education” report, published by the International Commission on the Futures of Education of UNESCO.
“At the current crossroads that we find ourselves, we need an education that can help transform and shape the world. But to shape and transform and define this future, education itself must be transformed,” Tawil said, adding that forging a new social contract for education was a critical step towards reimagining our futures together.
The forum featured two roundtable sessions, followed by break-out group discussions. At the first roundtable, Michael Bruno, Provost of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and Ling San, Provost of Nanyang Technological University, delivered presentations on “The future of instruction, in-person vs. online, and why this matters.” and “Nurturing Future-Ready Lifelong Learners,” respectively.
At the second roundtable, Toshiya Ueki, Executive Vice President of Tohoku University, presented on the topic of “How can universities enhance preparedness and resilience in higher education?” and Alan Chan, Provost of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, presented on the topic of “Renewing Education: Transformational Change or Back to Basics?”
The event ended with a forum summary delivered by Annamarie Jagose, Provost and Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney, and closing remarks from Christopher Tremewan, Secretary General of APRU, and Yang Bin, Vice President and Provost of Tsinghua University.
Yang said that future challenges could only be solved by working together, adding that Tsinghua looks forward to continuing to work with APRU and its partners worldwide to enhance shared academic development, mutual understanding, and levels of cooperation.
The forum was moderated by Gao Hong, Vice Provost of Tsinghua University.
As a network of 60 leading universities linking the Americas, Asia, and Australasia, APRU (the Association of Pacific Rim Universities) brings together thought leaders, researchers, and policymakers to exchange ideas and collaborate on practical solutions to the challenges of the 21st century. We leverage our members’ collective education and research capabilities into the international public policy process. Our strategic priorities focus on providing a neutral platform for high-level policy dialogue, acting on climate change, and supporting diversity, inclusion, and minorities in the post-pandemic era. APRU’s primary activities support these strategic priorities, focusing on critical areas such as disaster risk reduction, women in leadership, indigenous knowledge, virtual student exchange, esports, population aging, global health, sustainable cities, artificial intelligence, and waste management, and more.
For more information on APRU, please visit www.apru.org
For more information on APRU Provosts’ Forum, please visit www.apru.org/our-work/university-leadership/provosts-forum