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2nd Asia-Europe Education Workshop

Knowledge Societies: Universities And Their Social Responsibilities

Project Period: Contact: Department: Programme: Theme:
05 Jun 11 - 07 Jun 11 Asia-Europe Foundation Education Department ASEF Higher Education Programme (AHEP) Education

Innsbruck (Austria)


Knowledge is crucial for our societies and economies. As universities play a key role in knowledge creation and innovation, they are bound to contribute significantly to knowledge transfer. The 2nd Asia-Europe Education Workshop focused on the university's responsibility to translate knowledge into practical benefits for societies.

Specifically, the workshop aimed to:

  • Raise awareness on the social responsibility of universities in building knowledge societies
  • Identify key elements of knowledge transfer systems in ASEM countries
  • Consolidate an overview of national and international research; identify good practices and examples
  • Formulate recommendations to universities and governments

The workshop also followed up on the conclusions of the 2nd ASEM Rectors' Conference (Seoul, October 2010), where knowledge transfer and universities' responsibility to societies were discussed extensively.


  • University of Innsbruck, Austria
Funded by the European Union

Project Updates

  • The publication resulting from the 2nd Asia-Europe Education Workshop Knowledge Societies: Universities and their Social Responsibilities (Innsbruck, Austria, June 2011) is now available. It features an Introductory Paper, a Summary of the Workshop Discussions and Recommendations and 5 selected case studies. Available here.

  • Pathways of Excellence

    Published on 01 Feb 2012

    ASEF presented the results of the 2nd Asia-Europe Education Workshop (Austria, June 2011) at the 11th Southeast Asian Association for Institutional Research (SEAAIR) Conference: Pathways of Excellence. Prof. Saran Kaur Gill, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) delivered this presentation for ASEF. The event was held in Chiangmai, Thailand (2-4 November 2011).

    Prof. Gill mentioned in her keynote speech: “Participants of the Conference expressed interest in universities’ social responsibility (USR) vis-à-vis community engagement agenda. They were keen to discuss criteria and indicators for quality community engagement.”

    Prof. Teay Shawyun, SEAAIR President and Member of ASEF’s ASEM Education Hub (AEH) Advisory Committee, is the main organiser of the Chiangmai Conference.

    Following up on this ASEF will focus on topics such as USR and community engagement in the upcoming 3rd ASEM Rectors’ Conference to be co-organised with the University of Groningen (RUG) and the ASEAN University Network (AUN) in Groningen, The Netherlands (September 2012).

  • There is a perception that everyone is aware of what University Social Responsibility (USR) means. In reality, the understanding of this concept differs in focus, extent and action across many countries. To consolidate an overview of USR best practices in ASEM countries, the 2nd Asia-Europe Education Workshop "Knowledge Societies: Universities and their Social Responsibilities" was organised jointly by ASEF and the University of Innsbruck in Austria (6-7 June 2011).

    There were 26 participants from ASEM countries in this workshop. They discussed the diversity of terms used – community service/community engagement, industry and community engagement, community consciousness circles, and knowledge valorisation. There was a clear consensus that the ‘social dimension’ of higher education should be at the forefront of discussions. It should be integrated both in policy and practice.

    Dr Nantana Gajaseni of the ASEAN University Network recommended that universities ensure effective information exchange among all stakeholders (universities with community, industry and the governments). There is not a “one-size fits all” model for USR. Diversity of models must be therefore explored to meet national needs. Such exploration and discussions should not be limited to the national agenda of countries but extended to include other countries and regions.

    Referring to the role of Universities today, Prof Teay Shawyun of the Southeast Asian Association for Institutional Research (SEAAIR) proposed the concept of the 7 Cs: Context, Content, Capabilities and Capacities, Communities, Change and Culture. Capacity building for self-transformation and societal transformation was underlined. All participants agreed that today’s knowledge and skills do not exactly correspond to tomorrow’s need. Thus lifelong learning is very important.

    Prof Lynne Chisholm from the University of Innsbruck commented on higher education stakeholders in Asia who today can seize the opportunity to innovate by reflecting on new models of universities. They do not have the restrictions posed by previous education paradigms and traditions.

    Workshop discussions revolved around the “coming together of hearts, minds and hands” as a guiding principle for learning. Mr Pim Van Loon of the Dutch Ministry for Interior and Kingdom Relations advocated networking, accountability and ethics as guiding principles for the role of universities in the society.

    A compendium of highlights and final recommendations from the Workshop will be published later this year. This compendium will include selected case studies, which will be presented in 2012 at the 3rd ASEM Rectors’ Conference. The recommendations will be put forward to the 4th Asia-Europe Meeting for Ministers of Education (ASEMME) in Malaysia in 2013.

  • The 2nd Asia-Europe Education Workshop co-organised by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) and Innsbruck University will be held from 5 to 7 June in Austria. The workshop will expound on the universities’ responsibility to translate knowledge to practical benefits for societies.

    One of the main objectives for the workshop is to raise awareness on the social responsibility of universities in building knowledge societies. It also aims to identify key elements of knowledge transfer systems in the ASEM countries.

    The workshop serves as a platform to follow-up the conclusions of the 2nd ASEM Rectors’ Conference on October 2010 in Seoul (Korea), where knowledge transfer and universities’ responsibility to societies were extensively discussed.

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