Policymakers and representatives of stakeholders involved in the ASEM Education Process gathered in the heart of Rome, Italy on 27-29 September 2023 for a policy dialogue aimed at discussing higher education’s role in sustainable development and pushing forward inter-regional cooperation on matters of common concern.
Bridging policymakers from Asia and Europe
This three-day event was co-organised by ASEF and the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) Coordination Group on Global Policy Dialogue (CG GPD), in partnership with the ASEM Education Secretariat and Associazione CIMEA through the IN-GLOBAL Project, and with the generous support of the European Union through the 9th ASEF Regional Conference on Higher Education Project.
Around 30 participants from 19 countries and organisations engaged in dialogue focused on generating policy recommendations based on the findings of the 9th ASEF Regional Conference on Higher Education (ARC9) project’s report titled “Asia-Europe Higher Education Mapping: Working Towards the SDGs” (see full report here). Results of these discussions will be forwarded to the 9th ASEM Education Ministers Meeting (ASEMME9) in 2024. Another key goal of the policy dialogue was to give a platform for EHEA and officials representing Asian higher education ministries to discuss preparations for the Global Policy Forum which will also take place next year.
Sharing knowledge on higher education and its role in achieving the SDGs
Day 1 was held at the Sapienza Università di Roma, where participants were warmly welcomed by:
- Reka TOZSA, Director of the Education Department of the Asia-Europe Foundation
- Giuseppe CICCARONE, Vice Rector of the Sapienza University of Rome
- Antonio Felice URICCHIO, President of the Italian National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes
- Liesbeth HENS (Belgium Flemish Community) and Ann Katherine ISAACS (Italy), Co-chairs of the EHEA’s Coordination Group on Global Policy Dialogue
- Vera LUCKE, CIMEA (IN-GLOBAL Project and ASEM Education Secretariat), Italy
This was followed by informative presentations on the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the higher education systems of Brunei Darussalam (Sufi HASMI and Azmi ADANAN), Cambodia (Bunlay NITH), Lao PDR (Khamkeo HANSANA), Malaysia (Sulaiman KHALID), and the Philippines (Ryan ESTEVEZ and Raul MUYONG). Romyen KOSAIKANONT, Centre Director of SEAMEO Regional Centre for Higher Education and Development (RIHED), also did a sharing on the status of redefining the common higher education space in Southeast Asia.
Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi hosted the workshop series held on Day 2, opened by welcome messages from:
- Valentina MUIESAN, the Head of Division South-East Asia, Pacific, Antarctica at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; and
- Arturo LAVALLE, the Head of International Relations Area of Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi.
ASEFEdu presented the findings of the ARC9 research report, which became the focus of a series of breakout discussions. Passionate delegates from Asia and Europe drafted a wide variety of recommendations on key questions relating to higher education’s role in achieving the SDGs, which will be delivered to the ASEMME9.
Day 3, also hosted by University Marconi, focused on the initial preparations and proposed themes for the Tirana Global Policy Forum and Statement in 2024, led by CG GPD.
Strengthening dialogue between Asia and Europe on higher education
An interview between Dr Romyen KOSAIKANONT and Orla LYNCH, Strategic Policy Adviser of Ireland’s Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science was also held in the sidelines of the policy dialogue. They exchanged ideas on a few topics, with the following highlights:
- Dialogue opportunities such as the CG GPD – ASEF Policy Dialogue opens up our understanding of the other and help establish connections. Inter-regional discussions give us a venue to learn from each other and among ourselves towards building synergies that will guide our way forward as we translate our exchanges to actions.
- In terms of differences between Asia and Europe on higher education, there are a lot of differences between the two macro-regions and even within them countries tend to be very different. But our focus should be more on things we have in common. There are a lot of practices unique to Asia and Europe that we can also learn from and share with each other.
- We can build stronger relations between Asia and Europe through policy dialogues, but we need to co-create something concrete that translates the results of the dialogues into meaningful actions. Moving forward, we must continue collaboration and opening engagement within our own respective ecosystems. We have tools that can help us do this.
This interview, moderated by Ann Katherine ISAACS, can be watched in full here.
See the IN-GLOBAL Project’s event update and some of the meeting materials here. To learn more about work in Education, visit our ASEF webpage. Highlights from our portfolio will also be shared from time to time through our e-newsletter and ASEFFacebook, ASEFEduFacebook, ASEFLinkedIn & ASEFEduLinkedIn pages. Follow us to stay connected!