APRU Presidential Retreat and 19th Annual Presidents Meeting

Presidents emphasise APRU’s role of international advocacy 

APRU Presidential Retreat and 19th Annual Presidents Meeting
Osaka University, 28-30 June 2015

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The APRU Presidential Retreat and 19th Annual Presidential Meeting, Osaka. 
(Photo: Osaka University)

“Government and industry across APEC economies are increasingly looking to leading research universities for a number of challenging issues such as global health, multi-hazards and risk management, climate change and sustainability, population ageing and gender equity, among others. As APRU moves to a more international role of advocacy, the Annual Presidents Meeting is the stage for APRU presidents to discuss these issues and share new ideas for the future.”

- APRU Chairman, President C.L. Max Nikias, University of Southern California

Click here to view photographs from the meeting. 
Click here to view the program, participants list and presentations. 
 
The Presidential Retreat and 19th Annual Presidents Meeting which was hosted by President Toshio Hirano, Osaka University, was one of the best attended meetings in APRU’s history, drawing over 106 representatives from 35 member universities, including 26 APRU presidents. This marked the second time the Annual Presidents Meeting was held in Japan with Keio University hosting the meeting in 2008. 
 
In his opening address, APRU Chairman, President C.L. Max Nikias, University of Southern California (USC), postulated that the high attendance of presidents was a testament to the growing importance of APRU’s evolving mission. Describing his vision as APRU’s Chair, he added, “I have focused on increasing cooperation among member universities in order to leverage our collective expertise and resources. Our partnerships across public and private sectors support growth and innovation throughout the region, and together, our institutions are natural incubators for the leaders who will confront tomorrow’s most pressing challenges.” 
 
The theme of this year's meeting was " The University as an Agent for Global Transformation," which involved revisiting the mission of research universities in the 21st century, as well as the university's role as an instrument of global transformation. President Hirano, Osaka University, also stressed that APRU member universities were pioneering transformations taking place across Pacific Rim nations. He said, “(APRU) universities train leaders and professionals of the next generation, pioneer innovations that will enrich society and set the course for the growth and prosperity of this region and beyond”. 
 Inaugural Presidential Retreat
 
 
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APRU Presidents during their retreat at Taiko-en.
(Photo: Osaka University)

 
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(Photo: Osaka University)
 
The first Presidential Retreat was held at an historical Japanese pavilion and garden, Taiko-en. As a retreat only for presidents to discuss amongst themselves, it provided an opportunity for the sharing of common challenges and experience. One of the main themes was how presidents can take on a greater international leadership role. 
 
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(Photo: Osaka University)
 
An initial focus was recent developments in higher education. Chancellor Gene Block, UCLA, shared questions about short term time horizon issues and how to balance preparing students to be competitive for the job market while maintaining the research mission. On the other hand, President Atsushi Seike, Keio University, noted the long-term aims of universities and expectations of society as a constant interplay in determining priorities for research universities. He named four factors as important thrusts: research; developmental education; professional education and student health. In both private and public universities, administrative support structures and physical infrastructure was seen as important enablers for these priorities.
 
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(Photo: Osaka University)
 
Another issue that produced many insights was the leadership role of APRU presidents. President Tan Chorh Chuan, National University of Singapore (NUS), summarised the leadership roles of APRU presidents and how they could create greater impact. Issues discussed included modalities of impact and how APRU presidents play a role in informing policy and championing global issues. Presidents discussed the breadth and depth of engagement in these issues, agreeing that complementary strengths of APRU members could be leveraged to distinguish APRU from other international organisations. Also discussed was whether APRU could be a think-tank for international organisations such as APEC and to tap on the expertise of faculty and researchers at member universities. Some presidents thought it important that APRU put forward statements and recommendations on policy issues as a group of leading research universities.
 
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(Photo: Osaka University)
 
Vice-Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon, University of Auckland, also emphasised APRU’s global expertise arising from location, on the Pacific Ring of Fire, including capabilities in dealing with regional natural disasters. He said this was a unique strength. Presidents were important in promoting these capabilities.
 
International Impact
 
“The international community is seeking greater interaction with the academic community”, said Dr Christopher Tremewan, APRU Secretary General. 
 
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Dr Christopher Tremewan during his Secretary General’s address, where he poses a question to the audience: what is the unique contribution APRU can make at the international level that will have maximum impact?
(Photo: Osaka University)
 
Secretary General Tremewan emphasised that “as governments and industry increasingly tap into APRU’s strengths to address challenges, we must look to each for ways to collaborate even more. APRU must promote our mission by further partnering our strengths in education and research with other international agencies such as APEC and the UN.” 
 
Collaboration with Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
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(Photo: Osaka University)
 
As chair of the APEC Human Resource Working Group, President Sergey Ivanets, Far Eastern Federal University, explained that APRU been accorded a 3-year guest membership of APEC’s Human Resources Working Group (HRDWG) whose mission is to share knowledge, experience, and skills to strengthen human resource development and promote sustainable economic growth. A streamlined and focused set of objectives guide the three HRDWG networks in achieving the HRDWG mission including the following: 1) Develop 21st Century Knowledge and Skills for All; 2) Integrate HRD into the Global Economy; and 3) Address the Social Dimensions of Globalization. APRU is the first invited guest to this fora in its 37 meeting history. 
 
APRU recently took another step in connecting APRU members’ collective capabilities with policy development in the region. President Alfredo Pascual, University of the Philippines, represented APRU and gave a keynote presentation during the Preparatory Meeting for the High-Level Dialogue on Science and Technology in Higher Education which was held from 10-21 May 2015 in the Philippines. 
 
Secretary General Tremewan also added that APRU is a member of the APEC Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation, contributing to the shaping of public policy in this arena and its membership has been renewed for another three years. Similarly, APRU is working with APEC on the Internet economy, emergency preparedness and other cross-border education issues and with UN agencies and coalitions of governments and NGOs in some of these areas.
 
UN Women’s HeForShe Initiative 
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(Photo: Osaka University)
 
The issue of gender equity received much attention during the Annual Presidents Meeting. President Peter Mathieson, University of Hong Kong, presented on the UN Women’s HeforShe initiative and its 10x10x10 Impact Group where 10 Heads of State, 10 CEOs of global corporations and 10 University Presidents commit to raising gender awareness. As one of the 10 University Presidents in the Impact Group, President Mathieson invited APRU presidents to join the group which aims to increase gender awareness and discuss measures to tackle gender-based violence, among others. The Asia-Pacific Women in Leadership (APWiL) core group would discuss how APRU could be an advocate for HeForShe and its principles.  
 
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(Photo: Osaka University)
 
As more governments are realising that APRU is a bridge to the enormous resources and capabilities that we can bring to bear from the 45 leading research universities, President Tony Chan, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, also urged presidents to look beyond the research aspect and consider how students from APRU universities would help to shape the region as global leaders. 
 
Keynote Speeches and Panel Session on Higher Education in Japan
 
As part of Osaka University’s contribution to briefing the meeting on developments in Japan, speakers were invited from the government, the national research funding body and from a leading Japanese company. 
 
There were keynote lectures from Kihei Maekawa, Deputy Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT), Japan, Takashi Onishi, President, Science Council of Japan; President, Toyohashi University of Technology, and Hiroaki Nakanishi, President and CEO of Hitachi Ltd, representing the realms of government, education, and industry in Japan.
 
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Kihei Maekawa (Deputy Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT), Japan).
(Photo: Osaka University) 
 
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Takashi Onishi (President, Science Council of Japan and President, Toyohashi University of Technology).
(Photo: Osaka University) 
 
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Hiroaki Nakanishi (President and CEO of Hitachi Ltd).
(Photo: Osaka University) 
 
Following the keynote lectures, Professor Mayumi Ishikawa, Osaka University, moderated a panel session on higher education in Japan where four university leaders, Executive Vice-President Toshiya Ueki, Tohoku University, President Atsushi Seike, Keio University, President Juichi Yamagiwa, Kyoto University, and President Hirano, Osaka University along with Hideto Matsumoto, Director, International Planning Office, Higher Education Policy Planning Division, Higher Education Bureau, MEXT, discussed the prominent issues facing each university as well as some strategies to overcome current challenges. 
 
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Panel Session on Higher Education in Japan.
(Photo: Osaka University)
 
Senior Staff Working Session
 
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Prof Susan Elliott (University of Melbourne) summarising the Senior Staff Working Session for APRU Presidents.
 
While APRU presidents were at Taiko-en, International Policy Advisory Committee (IPAC) members Professor Susan Elliott, University of Melbourne, and Professor Dennis Galvan, University of Oregon, chaired a Senior Staff Working Session. The session consisted of presentations about The Student Experience in Research Universities (SERU), on new APRU proposals such the Teaching and Learning and Fundraising initiatives and an update on the Asia-Pacific Women in Leadership program. 
 
The Student Experience in Research Universities (SERU)
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(Extreme Left) Dr John Douglass (University of California, Berkeley) speaking about SERU and inviting APRU members to join SERU on an individual level.
 
Teaching and Learning Proposal
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Prof Philip Reid (University of Washington) speaking about an initiative which aims to form a community of APRU scholars around teaching and learning. 
 
Fundraising Workshop
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Prof Dennis Galvan (University of Oregon) proposing a fundraising workshop which would bring together APRU Senior Staff and senior fundraising or advancement professionals in universities. The University of California, Los Angeles, UNSW Australia and Tsinghua University have also expressed their support for this initiative. 
 
Asia-Pacific Women in Leadership (APWiL)
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(Extreme left) APWiL Co-Chairs Jennifer Dixon (University of Auckland) and (Extreme right) Junichi Mori (Kyoto University) presenting some of the APWiL program’s achievements and future plans. 
 
A New Opportunity: Moving to Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
 
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The APRU Secretariat would be located at the new Institute of Advanced Study building on HKUST’s Clear Water Bay campus.
(Photo: HKUST)
 
Chairman Nikias announced that following a feasibility study and the Steering Committee’s approval, the APRU Secretariat would be relocating from its current host university, NUS, to HKUST.
 
The meeting placed on record its appreciation to NUS for hosting the secretariat over the last 13 years.
 
The Annual Presidents Meeting is held every year and is a stage where APRU presidents discuss both global and regional challenges and issues pertinent to leading research universities and share new ideas for the future. The University of Malaya will host the next meeting from 26-28 June 2016.