Recently in Bangkok the International Association of Universities (IAU), the UNESCO-based association of higher education institutions, held its 15th General Conference that takes place every four years. The event brings together its nearly 700 institutional and organizational members from around the world to focus on pressing matters facing global higher education. As an affiliate member, IIE participated in the event with team members represented from both the Bangkok and New York offices.
The focus of the conference was to exchange strategies and practices that demonstrate how HEIs contribute to innovation and sustainability. Offering macro perspectives from leaders in education across the globe, the three-day conference included a platform for HEIs to discuss what they can do to lead and be catalysts for change in a continuously changing global landscape.
We had the opportunity to represent IIE and U.S. higher education at the G7 International Higher Education Summit last month in Tokyo. The Summit took place from May 18-19 and was hosted by the Japan Student Services Organization and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
The Summit was attended by representatives from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the European Union, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Korean National Institute for International Education (NIIED), the British Council, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), SEAMEO Regional Centre for Higher Education and Development (RIHED), and IIE.
A good friend from school gave me a book 10 years ago that he used for the orientation course he taught for visiting international scholars—J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. It wasn't until the recent New Year's holidays that I finally committed myself to reading this classic 1950's novel and it unexpectedly sparked my reflection upon higher education and some larger dynamics at work in the world today.
When the seeds of modern democratic governance were first taking root in the world, a story was circulated about an individual who approached Benjamin Franklin in 1787 outside of Independence Hall at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention. She asked Franklin whether he and his colleagues had created a monarchy or a republic. In reply he told her that the United States would be a “republic, if you can keep it.”
Recently moving from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok, I’ve found that the conversation regarding a “rising Southeast Asia” is just as lively and engaging in Thailand as it was in Malaysia. One of the key drivers of this buzz is the much-anticipated launch of the ASEAN Economic Community at the end of this year (more on that below). In the following post I’ll dig a little deeper into some of the unique features of the region, which I hope those unfamiliar with Southeast Asia will find useful, interesting, and perhaps a prompt for if or how to be invested in this unique area of the world.