Asia-Pacific Student Leaders Forum 2015

University Social Responsibility (USR) was the key theme of the Asia-Pacific Students Leaders Forum held from 8 to 10 June in Singapore. The inaugural forum was hosted by the National University Singapore (NUS) and featured a key dimension of USR in particular developing young leaders as the agents of positive social change. Eighty-four students from sixteen APRU member universities have worked together on coming up with ideas and proposals on addressing various social issues– poverty, unemployment and income inequality, climate change, ageing population, disaster preparedness, health, gender inequality, access to education and juvenile delinquency, among others.

"... The forum was useful, beneficial and interesting. It is important that the youth is engaged in these issues and activities," said a student from the University of the Philippines.

Students were grouped based on their topic of interest and were also mentored by university administrators during their team discussions. Download the group presentations here. View the program here.

APSLF group photo

APSLF Participants and organisers gather for a group photo. Photo credit: National University of Singapore

 APSLF group work 1  APSLF group work 2
 APSLF group work 3  APSLF group work 4

Students from participating APRU universities work together on coming up with innovative ways of addressing a variety of social issues. Photo credit by: National University of Singapore

 APSLF group with mentor 1  APSLF group with mentor 2

Student groups with their mentors. Photo credit: National University of Singapore

The objective of the group presentations was for students to formulate innovative ideas that they may choose to implement upon returning to their home institutions. In addition, this enabled the students to develop or enhance their cultural competence by collaborating in a multicultural setting. "Understanding the culture and issues in different countries: working with group members from other universities made that possible," explained by a student from UNSW Australia.

Students gained valuable insights on community service and social entrepreneurship from leading faculty, successful business leaders and social entrepreneurs. Students also received helpful advice on overcoming barriers to implementing projects or making their ideas into action.

 APSLF keynote 1  APSLF keynote 2
 APSLF keynote 3  APSLF keynote 4

Keynote speakers share their expertise and experience. (Top row, L-R: Dr Tan Lai Yong, Director for Outreach & Community Engagement, NUS CAPT; Ms Loretta M. Hennessy, Director, The Resolution Project; Bottom row, L-R: A/Prof S. Vasoo, Advisor, Central Singapore Community Development Council; Ms Nichol Ng, Co-founder, Foodbank Singapore, Ltd. Photo credit: National University of Singapore

APSLF panel

Panel speakers share their insights on how universities, businesses and the civil society can work together in addressing key social issues.

University administrators engaged in a roundtable session and discussed how their respective universities can promote USR in particular through service learning and curriculum development.

APSLF roundtable session

University administrators share perspectives on service learning during the roundtable session.

The forum concluded on June 10 whereby the top three groups out of twelve teams were named and recognised for their proposals. The winning presentations were based on: clarity of problem definition, creativity and innovation, feasibility and sustainability of the proposal, and the potential social impact.

APSLF winning team 1   APSLF winning team 2   APSLF team champion

Winning teams with Professor Andrew Wee, NUS Vice President (University & Global Relations).
Photo credit: National University of Singapore

Dr Christopher Tremewan, APRU Secretary General and Associate Professor Anne Pakir, Director International Relations Office officially opened the forum on June 8. Joining Professor Wee at the closing ceremony on June 10 were Associate Professor Peter Pang, Associate Provost (Student Life) and Associate Professor Tan Teck Koon, Dean of Students at NUS.

The APSLF 2015 was organised by the NUS Students' Union in cooperation with the NUS' Office of the Vice President (University & Global Relations), Office of the Provost, Office of Student Affairs, the International Relations Office and the APRU Secretariat.

View more photos from the forum here.