Clamoring for International Regional Cooperation
of Higher Education—Taiwan Hosted ASAIHL Conference for the First Time
The 2010 annual conference of ASAIHL (Association of Southeast Asian Higher Education) was held for three days in the GIS NTU Convention Center. Based on the theme of "Higher Education: Engaging Knowledge Economy", the Conference ignited new sparks for the issues of higher education in Southeast Asia. This year's conference marks the first time that Taiwan was the hosting country. NTU's Office of International Affairs was the main organizing agency. Altogether 111 representatives from 64 universities of 15 countries participated in the event, setting an unprecedented record of success.
ASAIHL was founded in Bangkok, Thailand in the year 1956. It was a non-governmental agency co-organized by the presidents of eight universities in the Southeast Asian region, with a view toward promoting the liaison and cooperation among the institutions of higher education in Southeast Asia, and enjoys a long standing history in the region. All members of ASAIHL are reputable universities in Southeast Asia, and the organization now has 150 members from 15 different nations. The annual conference of ASAIHL exerts an important influence on the exchange and cooperation among the universities in Southeast Asia.
The ASAIHL 2010 Conference was held in NTU for the first time, and NTU was the only university in Taiwan that was a member of ASAIHL. For the opening ceremony, the auditorium was fully packed. After Dr. Mai Trong Nhuan, the President of Vietnam National University in Hanoi, accepted a ceramics plate with NTU's front gate engraved on it from NTU's Vice President Dr. George Tai-Jen Chen, and all the attending delegates had their group photos taken in front of the 2nd building of the College of Management, the Conference was officially in session. The three sub-topics of the Conference were: industry/academia cooperation, Teaching quality and student support. Scholars from various places exchanged their opinions lively. Dr. Chung-Luang Liu, an academician of Academia Sinica, was invited to give a special lecture on the intricacies of "teaching" and "learning". As he used the layman's language to explore the core issue of education—what, after all , Is the purpose of education? As soon as he finished his lecture, there were thunderous applause from the audience, and many attending scholars kept asking him related questions. Another speaker was Professor Terrence Doyle from the Ferris State University of the United States. He examined the learning process from a scientific point of view, and pointed out the conflicts between the current teaching methods and the results of scientific research. As his delivery style was quite humorous, his speech also triggered lively discussions.
Besides attending the Conference, the participating scholars also toured The Gallery of University History in their spare time. In addition, they were quite impressed with the innovative aborigine dance( a mixture of Hakka, rock, and street dance) brought by NTU students in the welcome dinner and the breath taking magic show. In the final day of the Conference, the attending scholars were driven to the National Palace Museum, where they viewed the artistic and cultural treasures of Taiwan. So the three day Conference ended on a perfect note.
The 2010 ASAIHL Conference was organized by the Office of International Affairs, and co-organized by the Yen Tjing Ling Industrial Research Institute. This was the first time that the two agencies collaborated together, and it was a phenomenal success. This Conference is expected to push toward the regional cooperation of the campuses in Southeast Asia and to improve NTU's relationship with the attending universities, thus laying a cornerstone of future inter-school cooperation. The next ASAIHL Annual Conference will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam in the coming December.