WHAT IS ARC?
The ASEF Regional Conference on Higher Education (ARC) is the “Official Dialogue Partner of the ASEM Education Ministers Meeting (ASEMME)” and the only bi-regional multi-stakeholder dialogue platform for university and student leaders, policy makers and ministers to discuss higher education issues and shape the education landscape in Asia and Europe.
For the past 10 years, ARC has continuously evolved and contributed with various outputs (policy recommendations, research, and events) to the ASEM Education process, and created opportunities for key Asian and European stakeholders to connect. ARC’s role as a valuable dialogue partner has been reiterated at all ASEMMEs, and its outcomes and outputs helped to sustain a dynamic ASEM Education Process. Take a look at the past editions here.
The ARC programme cycle covers two years and is aligned with the timeline of the ASEMMEs. Its results, including research, and policy recommendations, feed into the preparations for ASEM Education Senior Officials’ Meetings (SOMs) and the ASEM Education Ministers Meetings (MEs), which ARC experts are invited to attend.
WHAT IS THE TOPIC OF ARC9?
The project is titled “ASEM Higher Education Mapping: Working Towards the SDGs”. Two studies were conducted regarding:
1 | Asia-Europe Higher Education Policies: Working Towards the SDGs
2 | Asia-Europe Higher Education Institutions Practice: Working Towards the SDGs
The results feed into the ASEM Education Process Strategic Priority of Enhancing Connectivity between Asia and Europe and benefit a wider community of stakeholders through exchanges and peer learning.
- Knowledge Exchange
Facilitate the exchange of good practices and networking among policymakers, universities and student organisations in Asia and Europe
- Inform Policy
Inform policies by collecting evidence and conducting policy dialogues with stakeholders of the 51 ASEM Partner Countries, the EU and ASEAN
ARC9 Report | Asia-Europe Higher Education Mapping: Working Towards the SDGs
Part 1: Mapping Policymakers Perspectives
This study maps higher education policies advancing sustainable development across Asia and Europe. Covering 31 national contexts in Asia and Europe, the study combines data from a survey, focus group discussions, and a review of secondary sources to glean patterns in how governments are encouraging HEIs to contribute to the SDGs, provide concrete examples of enabling measures, and identify opportunities that may be leveraged to strengthen the HE policy-practice interface towards the SDGs.
Part 2: Mapping Higher Education Institutional Perspectives
This study showcases developments regarding sustainable development in the higher education sector from the perspective of higher education institutions. The study was conducted in partnership with the International Association of Universities (IAU). Data from the third iteration of IAU Global Survey on Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development (HESD) specific for the purview of ASEF was analysed to investigate the scope, depth and breadth of engagement of higher education institutions with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This study maps 240 institutional responses from 42 countries in Asia and Europe.
The ARC9 Report was launched on 10 March 2023. During the Launch, ARC9 Researchers presented the findings of the ARC9 Report while Dicussants provided food for thought. Additionally, online participants were able to forward their questions. The recording of the Launch of the ARC9 Study can be viewed here.
ARC9 Policy Dialogues | Asia-Europe Higher Education Mapping: Working Towards the SDGs
ASEF’s Education Department attended various dissemination events and organised policy dialogues from 2022 to 2023 to disseminate the findings of the research and gather recommendations from various stakeholders. The inputs we gathered thus far will be packaged and submitted to the 9th ASEM Education Ministers Meeting (ASEMME9) in 2024. More details on our ARC9 engagements below!
ARC9 Roundtable Dialogue
This is the first in a series of dialogue events and took place online on 27 November 2022. In this session, the ARC9 researchers presented the initial findings of the study at the time while discussants gave questions and insights that contributed to the analysis of the data. Over 100 academics, students, policy makers and higher education experts joined us online to learn about the findings of this mapping exercise and engage in a discussion with each other.
You can check out our article on this session and rewatch the session recording here to learn more.
Dissemination Event: ASEF at the Asia Pacific Association of International Education (APAIE) 2023 Conference
ASEFEdu and two of the ARC9 researchers conducted a session at APAIE2023 to introduce the ARC9 research study to the APAIE audience and conduct dialogue with representatives of higher education institutions and policymakers who were in attendance. Held on 13-17 March 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand, APAIE engaged about 1,500 participants in this year’s edition.
The APAIE Conference is largest higher education exhibition and conference in the region, offering delegates from around the world the opportunity to share good practices and learn more about the innovative ways in which Asia Pacific universities are partnering across the region and with the world.
Dialogue Workshop on Working Towards the SDGs: Mapping University and Student Perspectives in ASEAN
On 18 July 2023, ASEF held this online dialogue workshop in partnership with the ASEAN University Network (AUN) and Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR). The session gathered 50 university managers and student leaders from ASEAN Plus Three higher education institutions (HEIs) to discuss the findings of the ARC9 research study and gather two sets of recommendations: one from university managers directed to policymakers, and another from student leaders addressed to university management.
Explore the full narrative report for this session where you can find the discussion highlights from both groups as well as the full list of recommendations here.
Dissemination Event: ASEF at the 6th ASEAN+3 Rectors’ Conference
ASEFEdu was invited by the AUN to share the highlights of the ARC9 Dialogue Workshop on Working Towards the SDGs: Mapping University and Student Perspectives in ASEAN at the 6th ASEAN+3 Rectors’ Conference held in Surabaya, Indonesia on 20-21 September 2023. The event was co-organised by AUN and UNAIR.
The Rectors’ Conference carried the theme “The Role of University Collaboration within ASEAN+3 Framework on Innovation and Industry Acceleration Ecosystem,” and was attended by 73 higher education officials from 30 universities based in 11 countries of the ASEAN+3 region. As a key dialogue platform for administrators to advance higher education and partnerships, this iteration had panel discussions and keynote talks by government, industry, and academe representatives focused on ensuring the region’s environmental and economic sustainability.
Our presentation’s key focus was the recommendations gathered from university managers for policymakers, and the recommendations of students directed at university leadership on localising and solving challenges in the implementation of SDG-related initiatives. The presentation was followed by a discussion session with UNAIR representatives to deepen the audience’s understanding of the findings and add more depth into the recommendations.
Here‘s our summary of the happenings at the conference.
CG GPD – ASEF Policy Dialogue
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. This three-day event was co-organised by ASEF and the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) Coordination Group on Global Policy Dialogue (CG GPD), made possible by the generous support of the ASEM Education Secretariat and Associazione CIMEA through the IN-GLOBAL Project.
Around 30 participants from 19 countries and organisations engaged in dialogue focused on generating policy recommendations based on the findings of the ARC9 research study. Another key goal of the event was to give a platform for EHEA and officials representing Asian higher education ministries to discuss preparations for the Global Policy Forum which will take place next year.
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, such as the value of dialogue opportunities and translating its results to actions, sharing of good practices between the two regions, and building stronger means to collaborate and partner. This interview, moderated by Ann Katherine ISAACS, can be watched in full here.
See the full update write-up on this event here.
ASEF Policy Dialogue with Youth
For our last ARC9 policy dialogue, we had an inspiring exchange of ideas with 15 remarkable delegates from student and youth organisations in Asia and Europe about Higher Education Policies Working towards the SDGs in Asia and Europe! In partnership with the ASEAN Youth Organisation (AYO), we organised the ASEF Policy Dialogue with Youth as a side event to their flagship annual event, the ASEAN Youth Conference, which were held back-to-back from 2 to 5 November 2023 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
We welcomed representatives from ASEFEdu’s longtime partner organisations such as the European Students’ Union (ESU), Erasmus Student Network (ESN), Global Student Forum (GSF), Student Think-Tank for Europe-Asia Relations (STEAR), and AYO. We are also proud to have representatives from new dialogue partners such as the Asian International Mobility for Students (AIMS) Programme Alumni Network, the Union of Youth Federation of Cambodia, United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN) Youth Initiative, Asian Law Students’ Association (ALSA), Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR), and University of Santo Tomas (UST).
After the policy dialogue, our delegates proceeded to join 100+ other young leaders in the ASEAN Youth Conference 2023. This year, guided by the theme “Guardians of the Sustainable Future for a Resilient ASEAN,” AYC gathered international young leaders and changemakers who are keen to share their thoughts about various persisting challenges and opportunities in our society and help develop and implement international projects. This will be the youth’s contribution to implementing the agenda for peace, stability, solidarity, unity, prosperity, and sustainability in ASEAN in accordance with Indonesia’s ASEAN chairmanship theme, “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth.”
You can find more information on this back-to-back event here.
Reports for the CG GPD – ASEF Policy Dialogue and the ASEF Policy Dialogue with Youth are currently being drafted and will later on be circulated for confirmation to the event participants. After this, a full report combining all recommendations from the above dialogue events will be compiled in preparation for ASEMME9 in 2024.
Planning is also underway for a series of debate sessions that will aim to bring the findings of the ARC9 research study to closer to the youth so stay tuned!