Unpad Hosts AHEC 2023, a Platform for Harmonizing Higher Education for ASEAN Development

[Kanal Media Unpad] Universitas Padjadjaran (Unpad) is acting as the host of the “ASEAN Higher Education Conference” (AHEC) 2023. The international conference was opened today at the Merdeka Building, and will be continued at Unpad’s Grha Sanusi Hardjadinata, Iwa Koesoemasoemantri Campus, Bandung until August 26th, 2023. AHEC serves as a collaborative platform for ASEAN higher education institutions, catalyzing regional progress.

Prof. Rina Indiastuti, the Rector of Unpad, explained that AHEC 2023 holds dual significance for Unpad. It marks one of the events celebrating Unpad’s 66th anniversary as well as supports Indonesia’s role as the Chair of ASEAN in 2023.

“AHEC 2023 contributes to higher education’s role in Indonesia’s leadership within ASEAN in 2023,” said the Rector during the opening ceremony.

Formulated comprehensively, AHEC 2023 yields various significant outcomes. These outcomes have been generated through a series of pre-events held since early June 2023.

The Rector stated that in the initial phase, Unpad, along with 10 leading universities in Indonesia, organized 10 series of webinars with an objective to formulate a communique about many aspects of higher education in ASEAN nations. The communique would be declared at the conference. These webinars involved participation from a total of 20,000 registered attendees, with 5,000 participants joining live and 26,000 viewers watching recorded streams on Unpad’s YouTube channel. All webinar series can be revisited on Unpad’s YouTube channel.

From these webinars, the Rector mentioned that several communiques were formulated and subsequently declared as recommendations by higher education institutions to support ASEAN’s advancement.

The outcomes of these communiques were also discussed in various follow-up activities, including the Ambassador Town Hall Meeting, which led to in-depth discussions among ambassadors about how to establish ASEAN as a collective space for higher education.

Another agenda of AHEC 2023 is to bring alumni association leaders from various universities in Indonesia and ASEAN into a meeting. The goal of this meeting, according to the Rector, was to reinforce the commitment of alumni as strategic partners in enhancing the quality of higher education in ASEAN.

During the main conference, around 400 participants engaged in a hybrid format for the AHEC conference. “With such substantial participation, AHEC 2023 can be seen as the largest higher education conference achieved after the pandemic, thanks to digital technology and strong partnerships among stakeholders in ASEAN,” said the Rector.

Prof. Dr. Arif Satria, M.Si., the Vice Chair of the Council of Rectors of Indonesian State University (CRISU or MRPTNI), noted that AHEC 2023 is not just a conference of ideas. Moreover, it is concrete evidence of collaborative spirit and recognition of higher education’s dynamic role in driving economic, political, and socio-cultural development.

“This conference represents a convergence of thoughts as we welcome esteemed leaders, faculty, and students from universities across ASEAN member states, along with representatives from ASEAN, governments, and industry partners,” said Prof. Arif.

For CRISU, hosting AHEC 2023 holds two essential goals. First, it fosters strategic and collaborative discourse about the role of higher education in regional growth. Second, it provides a platform for universities to reconnect, exchange insights, and forge alliances for ASEAN’s advancement.

“Through collaboration, we can build high-quality ASEAN Higher Education Institutions that are competitive and possess a strong identity based on the unique values upheld by ASEAN nations,” added Prof. Arif.

The opening of this conference was also attended by Prof. Nizam, the Acting Director General of Higher Education, Ministry of Education and Culture; Derry Aman, Indonesian Ambassador to ASEAN; Nadiem Makarim, the Minister of Education and Culture; and Prof. Kao Kim Hourn, the Secretary General of ASEAN.

The first day of AHEC 2023 featured a panel discussion titled “Digital Technology” with speakers Dr. Chit Sein (Rector of Yangon University of Distance Education) and Dr. Dwi Larso (Director of LPDP Scholarships), moderated by Prof. Ova Emilia (Rector of Universitas Gadjah Mada).

The second day of AHEC 2023 will take place at Grha Sanusi Hardjadinata, Unpad’s Iwa Koesoemasoemantri Campus, Bandung, on Friday, August 25th, 2023. The second day’s conference will consist of two panel sessions, Panel 2 an Panel 3. Panel 2 session will focus on “Strengthening Pentahelix to Improve University Employability and Industry Growth,” featuring Dr. Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita (Minister of Industry of Indonesia), Prof. Su Dinh Thanh (President of the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam), and Dato Dr. Low Tuck Kwong (President Director of PT Bayan Resources Tbk) as speakers. Will act as the moderator is Prof. Bambang Hari Kusumo (Rector of Mataram University).

Panel 3 session centered on “The Role of Higher Education in Building a Resilient Society and Promoting Environmental Sustainability,” featuring Prof. Ahmad Fauzi Ismail (Vice Chancellor, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia), Prof. Ari Kuncoro (Rector of the University of Indonesia), Assoc Prof Huon Thavrak (Vice Rector of the Royal University of Agriculture, Cambodia), and Dany Amrul Ichdan (Deputy CEO of PT Mineral Industri Indonesia) as speakers. This last panel session will be moderated by Prof. Rina Indiastuti (Rector of Universitas Padjadaran). (ds)*

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