ASEF Rectors' Conference and Students' Forum (ARC)


Since its establishment in 2008, the ASEF Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum (ARC) has been a multi-stakeholder dialogue platform for university leaders, policy makers and education practitioners, business representatives and students to discuss higher education issues and shape the education landscape in Asia and Europe.


ARC is recognised as the Official Dialogue Partner of the ASEM Education Ministers Meeting (ASEM ME). Its results, including policy recommendations and research, feed into the preparation of ASEM MEs, which ARC rectors and student representatives are invited to attend. Moreover, as part of the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development (GAP), ARC contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).


ARC takes place on annual biennial basis alternating between Asia and Europe. It addresses 3 areas in higher education: 1) quality and inclusive education, 2) university governance, and 3) university-business partnerships. To date, over 650 university leaders representing 226 universities from 51 Asian and European countries have participated in the conferences.


Key characteristics of ARC:


• Engagement in the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Education Process, including the bi-annual ASEM Education Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM ME)

• Opportunity to shape the evolving Asia-Europe educational landscape, from policy recommendations to thematically responsive capacity trainings

• Experiential higher education Conference fusing content-focused sessions with hands-on workshops

• Network of university leaders across 51 Asian and European countries.



ARC consists of 2 programme elements: 1) a Students’ Forum and 2) the following Rectors’ Conference.


The ARC Students’ Forum:


1) 2-day Forum + ½ day Rectors’ Conference

Participants attend plenary and working group sessions, skills trainings, study visits and collaboratively develop policy recommendations. To stimulate exchange between rectors and students, students are invited to attend the Opening Ceremony and a ‘speed-dating’ session at the Rectors’ Conference. Furthermore, 4 rectors will act as mentors during the Students’ Forum and 4 students will attend the Rectors’ Conference as observers.


Additional elements of the ARC Students’ Forum are:


2) Asia-Europe wide Open Call for Application and Online Survey:

During the Open Call for Application period an online perception survey on thematically relevant educational matters will be conducted. The results are presented at ARC, at the ASEM MEs and shared online.


3) 5-week Online Preparatory Phase

ARC student participants will have the opportunity to join webinars led by renowned researchers and professionals, conduct research and develop position papers.


The Rectors’ Conference:


4) 2-day Conference

The ARC Rectors’ Conference is designed as a thought-provocative and content-strong platform for university leaders to interact and exchange good practices. The programme fuses Plenary and Working Group sessions as well as unconventional formats such as accessibility workshops and leadership swaps. A highlight of ARC is the Ministers-University Leaders Dialogue.


Moreover, ARC Rectors’ Conference also includes:


5) Preparatory Survey

Together with our partners, the European University Association (EUN) and the ASEAN University Association (AUN), ASEF conducts an online survey among the ARC Rectors’ on education matters and Asia-Europe educational collaborations. The survey results will feed into the ARC Policy Recommendation drafts.


6) Handover of Policy Recommendation and link to ASEM ME

ARC closes with the personal hand-over of policy recommendations by Rectors and Students to the hosting country of ASEM MEs. Representatives from ARC are also invited to participate in ASEM Education Ministerial Meetings.




6th ASEM Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum (ARC6)

“Future-ready Universities and Graduates: Quality Education Beyond the Horizon”

Singapore Management University (SMU), European University Association (EUA), The ASEAN University Network, European Students’ Union (ESN) & Erasmus Student Network (ESN)

9-13 October 2017, Singapore


5th ASEM Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum (ARC5)

“Employability: Asia and Europe Prepare the New Generation”

Charles University, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic, The International Association of Universities, The ASEAN University Network

4-8 April 2016, Prague, Czech Republic


4th ASEM Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum (ARC4)

“University-Business Partnerships: Asia and Europe Seeking 21st Century Solutions”

Zhejiang University, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, The International Association of Universities, The ASEAN University Network

23-27 March 2015, Hangzhou, China


3rd ASEM Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum (ARC3)

“Universities, Businesses and You: For a Sustainable Future”
University of Groningen & The ASEAN University Network

24-26 September 2012, Groningen, the Netherlands


2nd ASEM Rectors’ Conference (ARC2)

“Asia-Europe University Cooperation: Contributing to the Global Knowledge Society”
Korea University & The ASEAN University Network

26 Oct 2010 - 27 Oct 2010, Seoul, Korea


1st ASEM Rectors’ Conference (ARC1)

“Between Tradition and Reform: Universities in Asia and Europe at the Crossroads"
The ASEAN University Network, Free University of Berlin& German Rectors' Conference (HRK)

27 Oct 2008 - 29 Oct 2008, Berlin, Germany


*Formerly known as the ASEM Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum (ARC)

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