Southeast Asian Higher Education Partners Hold 14th SHARE Policy Dialogue Highlighting Higher Education Partnerships’ Contribution To Achieving SDGs By 2030

Southeast Asian Higher Education Partners Hold 14th SHARE Policy Dialogue Highlighting Higher Education Partnerships’ Contribution To Achieving SDGs By 2030

Bangkok, 31 March 2022 – The European Union’s Support to Higher Education in ASEAN Region (SHARE) Programme held its 14th Policy Dialogue between 29 – 31 March 2022 in a hybrid form through the Hopin platform and in-person in Bangkok, Thailand, under the theme of ‘The Contribution of Higher Education Partnerships in Southeast Asia towards the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030’. The Policy Dialogue 14 provided a valuable opportunity for regional higher education stakeholders to engage with each other.

SHARE Policy Dialogue 14 was designed in partnership with the ASEAN Secretariat’s Education Youth and Sports Division (EYSD), SEAMEO RIHED, UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, the ASEAN University Network, amongst other regional partners. The event gathered the key stakeholders to share information, exchange views, and propose strategies for further higher education partnerships towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, focusing on 1) The power of youth in partnership for the goals; 2) Research-driven sustainable development and research partnerships for the goals; 3) Higher Education Institution partnerships for the goals; 4) Community of Practice development for the goals, and 5) Partnerships and synergy for the goals.

The 14th SHARE Policy Dialogue was opened by Prof. Sirirurg Songsivilai, M.D., PhD, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation of Thailand, H.E. Mr. David Daly, Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Thailand, Dr. Romyen Kosaikanont, SEAMEO RIHED Centre Director, Dr. Roger Y. Chao Jr., Assistant Director/Head, Education, Youth and Sports Division, The ASEAN Secretariat, Mr. Shigeru Aoyagi, Director, UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, Dr. Choltis Dhirathiti, Executive Director, ASEAN University Network, and Mr. Darren McDermott, SHARE Programme Team Leader.

Prof. Sirirurg Songsivilai, M.D., PhD, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation of Thailand, remarked, “The past two years have been immensely challenging for humanity to confront the COVID-19 pandemic. It has caused disruption of lives and impacted almost all sections of society; social well-being, health, economy and education. It has forced a massive shift-away from teaching and learning in traditional settings with physical interactions. These changes have urged the higher education sector to adapt. Innovation and technology have played important roles in education. However, learning does not only happen in the classroom. Lifelong learning should be promoted to enhance people’s skills for a better quality of life. The 14th SHARE Policy Dialogue is a great opportunity for higher education stakeholders to collaborate to cultivate the knowledge and social skills needed in the evolving era.”

In his opening remarks, H.E. Mr. David Daly, Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Thailand, stated, “Higher education and students have always been an important element in the European Union’s relationship with ASEAN and its member states. They play essential roles in the future of our two regions. The SHARE programme is the European Union’s flagship programme in the field of higher education with ASEAN, in addition to the Erasmus Plus programme. SHARE Policy Dialogue 14 was an avenue to showcase the European Union’s work on the Sustainable Development Goals,”

Dr. Roger Y. Chao Jr., Assistant Director/Head, Education, Youth and Sports Division, ASEAN Secretariat, remarked, “In relation to the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, higher education plays a significant role. Such partnerships in the higher education sector are very important, not only for us to advance how we can contribute and adjust to the changing challenges of work, but also contribute to the social and economic development, and basically building a sustainable and peaceful global community.”

Dr. Romyen Kosaikanont, SEAMEO RIHED Centre Director, remarked, “Policy Dialogue 14 represents an important regional platform to explore how partnerships in higher education can drive impact towards a more sustainable and equitable future. Considering the current challenges of climate change, the disruptions being brought to the future of work as well as the prioritisation of health security and rapid digital and technological advancements, successful partnerships in higher education need a common and shared vision—a vision of not only how to achieve inclusive, equitable and quality higher education partnerships but also ensure that these partnerships lead to enhanced regional sustainability and resiliency. The potential for successful partnerships in higher education is clear and presents a most impactful and meaningful contribution for the region to realise together.”

Dr. Choltis Dhirathiti, Executive Director, ASEAN University Network (AUN), stated, “SHARE Policy Dialogue 14 places a variety of stakeholders in higher education on the same platform. On behalf of the AUN, I would like to express my appreciation to the organisers and co-organisers of this event; SHARE Programme, Education, Youth and Sports Division of the ASEAN Secretariat, SEAMEO RIHED and UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education for getting us together at a time when strategic partnerships are needed now more than ever before.”

Mr. Shigeru Aoyagi, Director, Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, UNESCO Bangkok, stated, “Higher education should prepare all learners to be ground-breakers, world citizens and creative thinkers. It must serve to build sustainable, peaceful societies. The SHARE policy dialogue provided an interactive forum for stakeholders in the higher education sector to assess these issues and our progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals in preparation for the 3rd World Higher Education Conference (WHEC2022), organised by UNESCO, this coming May. The upcoming events will help partners in Southeast Asia to define their paths for a new era of higher education systems and institutions under the 2030 Agenda and looking at the future of education.”

Mr. Darren J. McDermott, SHARE Programme Team Leader, stated, “It is important to look again at the SDGs as seventeen interlinked goals rather than goals in and of themselves. Education and higher education are cross-cutting concerns that can impact multiple SDGs. Higher education partnerships with industry and civil society can address wider societal, regional and international issues better than single-sector initiatives. In collaboration with our partners, we look forward to bringing the learning from this Policy Dialogue to the UNESCO World Higher Education Conference 2022 in Barcelona in May.”

An insightful keynote presentation on ‘The Role of Higher Education Partnerships in Promotion of the Goals’ was delivered on the first day by Mr. Libing Wang, Chief, Section for Educational Innovation and Skills Development (EISD), UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, Thailand.

The session continued with a panel discussion on ‘Voices from the Learners: The Future of Sustainable Higher Education in Southeast Asia’, which provided a venue for learners from Southeast Asia to share their views of how their learning experiences have prepared them to be a regional and a global citizen. This session was followed by a panel discussion on ‘Partnerships with Private Sector and Civil Society for The Goals’ that concluded the first day of SHARE Policy Dialogue 14.

On the second day, British Council facilitated a panel discussion on ‘SHARE Gender and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Research Study’. The session discussed the role of international partners in bridging the gap of gender and EDI in sustainable higher education development. The panelists of this session were Asia Research Centre of Universitas Indonesia as the researchers, and representatives from De La Salle University, Philippines and Mae Fah Luang University, Thailand.

In collaboration with Asia Europe Foundation – Education Department, ‘Inclusion in Higher Education Policies and Practice’ was discussed through a panel discussion with graduate students of Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. The session was followed by a roundtable discussion on ‘Practitioners Views on Inclusive Partnerships in ASEAN’.

On the occasion of International Women’s Month, the 14th SHARE Policy Dialogue highlighted gender equity and inclusivity through a roundtable session on ‘Women in Science and Research: Minding and Bridging the Gap’, in collaboration with Euraxess ASEAN. The session involved H.E. Mme. Iwona Piórko, Ambassador of European Union Delegation to Singapore. It was followed by keynote presentation on ‘EU-ASEAN Gender-Responsive Best Practice Sharing’ by Ms. Mina Stareva, Head of Gender Sector, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission and Dr. Zurina Moktar, Assistant Director/Head, Science & Technology Division, ASEAN Secretariat.

On the final day, Mr. Wesley Teter, Senior Consultant for Educational Innovation and Skills Development (EISD), UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, led a discussion on the preparation of ‘What Should Be the Present and Future Role of Higher Education to Favour the Well-Being of Humans and Sustainability of Societies’. The discussion served as a preparatory session for UNESCO World Higher Education Conference 2022.

For more information, please visit: https://share-asean.eu/news/southeast-asian-higher-education-partners-hold-14th-share-policy-dialogue-highlighting-higher

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