About 300 participants from 25 countries attended the Global Higher Education Forum 2011, “Reflecting on the Past, Designing Sustainable Futures”, held in Penang, Malaysia (13 – 15 December 2011).
Prof. Dr. Erich Thöni, member of the ASEM Education Hub’s Advisory Committee and co-organiser of the 2nd Asia-Europe Education Workshop (University of Innsbruck, Austria, 5-7 June 2011), participated in the aforementioned Forum. During his presentation, Prof. Thöni highlighted some discussion points from the Innsbruck Workshop.
According to Prof. Thöni: “A critical point of reflection is the increasing view of universities today as active market players aiming more for “tangible” benefits, at the risk of losing the “intangible” ones. In the face of taxpayers, parents, business, students, governments and society-at-large, questioning the role of universities, it is necessary to consider ‘Values’, ‘Employability’ and ‘Service to society’ when universities revisit their understanding of universities”.
Following up on this, ASEF will focus on topics such as “universities’ social responsibility” and “community engagement” in the upcoming 3rd ASEM Rectors’ Conference to be organised with the University of Groningen (RUG) and the ASEAN University Network (AUN) in The Netherlands (September 2012).