ASEM Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum (ARC)

Description of the Initiative

ASEF Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum (ARC) is a multi-stakeholder dialogue platform for university leaders, policy makers and education practitioners, business representatives and students to discuss higher education issues and shape the education landscape in Asia and Europe. ARC takes place on annual biennial basis alternating between Asia and Europe. It addresses 3 areas in higher education:

  1. quality and inclusive education;
  2. university governance;
  3. university-business partnerships.

More information about the ARC can be found the ASEF's website by clicking here.

ASEM Partners and Stakeholders involved

51 ASEM member countries

Activities, Progress and Achievement

  • First Rectors’ Conference: Berlin, Germany, 27 - 29 October 2008

The 1st ASEM Rectors’ Conference was held with the theme “Between Tradition and Reform: Universities in Asia and Europe” and was attended by 98 Asian and European Leaders of higher education institutions from 24 ASEM member countries. The conference dicussed governance and management universities, quality assurance in higher education, and trends on education and research cooperation between Asia and Europe. Four main recommendations resulted from the conference are:

  1. enhanced framework for ASEM higher education policy dialogue and cooperation;
  2. mobility within ASEM countries for researchers and students;
  3. research collaboration; and
  4. incentive and support for ASEM higher education cooperation.
  • Second Rectors’ Conference: Seoul, Korea, 26 – 27 October 2010

The 2nd ASEM Rectors’ Conference focused on theme ‘Asia-Europe University Cooperation: Contributing to the Global Knowledge Society’. The conference in Seoul successfully brought 73 high-level representatives from 51 selected universities in 28 ASEM countries and 10 higher education associations and institutions. The conference highlighted five major recommendation as follows:

  1. Recognise and support universities as motors for economic growth and for the creation of knowledge societies;
  2. Foster effective knowledge transfer and knowledge sharing;
  3. Support curricular reform and education for global citizenship;
  4. Widen perspectives for mobility; and
  5. Support student involvement in the programming of the ASEM Education Process.
  •  Third Rectors’ Conference: Groningen, the Netherlands, 24 – 26 September 2012

The 3rd ASEM Rectors’ Conference was organised under the theme Universities Business and You: For a Sustainable Future which built based on the results of the 2nd ARC in Korea, 2010. ARC3 was enriched by a select number of side-events geared to enhance the quality of content and visibility of the stakeholders’ process. The policy recommendation of the Rectors’ Conference delivered to the 4th ASEM Education Ministers’ Meeting (ASEMME4) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2013.

  •  Fourth Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum: Hangzhou, China, 23 - 27 March 2015

The 4th ASEM Rectors' Conference and Students' Forum (ARC4) was held under the theme "University-Business Partnerships: Asia and Europe Seeking 21st Century Solutions". ARC4 aimed to enhance Asia-Europe dialogue and experience sharing on university-business cooperation for sustainable societal development. It brought together more than 100 university leaders, business representatives and officials of governments and international organizations from across 45 ASEM member countries, as well as 51 students from the whole ASEM constituency to discuss how university-business partnerships could better equip students with employability skills, cultivate entrepreneurship, and to innovate new learning environments through communication and information technologies. The conference produced policy recommendations by each the Rectors and the Students to be delivered to ASEMME5.

  •  Fifth Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum: Prague, Czech Republic, 4-8 April 2016

The 5th ASEF Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum (ARC5) was organised under the theme of ‘Employability: Asia and Europe Prepare the New Generation’. The conference brought together more than 150 university leaders, business representatives, and officials of governments and international organisations from across 49 ASEM partner countries, as well as 51 students from the whole ASEM constituency.

ARC5 enhanced high-level inter-regional dialogue on how higher education institutions (HEIs) can better collaborate with governments and the business sector to tackle emerging socio-economic issues in Asia and Europe, particularly youth employment, rapid changes in the labour market and skill development. Policy Recommendations from both Students’ Forum and Rectors’ Conference were handed over to the Republic of Korea for the next ASEMME6 in Seoul 2017.

  •  Sixth Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum: Singapore, 9-14 October 2017

The 6th edition of the ASEF Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum (ARC5) focused on the theme of ‘Future- ready universities and graduates: Quality Education beyond the Horizon”. ARC6 explored the needs, demands and expectations of future-ready universities and graduates in a VUCA-world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous), where both institutions and individuals have to continuously evaluate and adapt their approach to disruptive times. ARC6 brought together more than 150 university leaders, business representatives, officials of governments and international organisations as well as students from all 51 ASEM partner countries. 3 commissioned papers on the topics “Interdisciplinarity in Education and Research”, “Lifelong Learning: Global and Holistic Education” and “Access to Education” complement the policy document with a theoretical basis.

Documents page

More info on ASEF's website.