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APEC universities’ synergy of knowledge and innovation for creating a fresh impetus to APEC cooperation
On November 8, 2017, the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) of Vietnam and Vietnam National University, Hanoi (VNU), held the APEC University Leaders’ Forum (AULF) 2017 in Da Nang, Vietnam.

VNU President Nguyễn Kim Sơn delivered a speech at the Forum

This was a meaningful event within the framework of the APEC 2017 Economic Leaders' Week for higher education in the Asia-Pacific region.

Attending the Forum were APRU Secretary General Christopher Tremewan, Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyễn Văn Phúc, VNU President Nguyễn Kim Sơn, VNU Vice President Nguyễn Hồng Sơn, and about 60 participants from the region’s selected universities, businesses and state management agencies.

APRU Secretary General Christopher Tremewan sent his thanks and highly appreciated the role of the Ministry of Education and Training and VNU in co-organizing the 2017 AULF. He said that, under the theme “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”, the Forum aimed to bring together universities, private sector leaders and government officials from across APEC member economies to share experience in addressing sustainability and skills challenges facing the region. Solving the issue of lacking data science analytical skills as well as the power to promote regional competitiveness in the Fourth Industrial Revolution was also one of the Forum’s focal objectives. APRU Secretary General Christopher Tremewan also hoped that the Forum would promote the government – university – business strong link in each nation’s sustainable development, contributing to the common prosperity of the region and the whole world.

Speaking at the Forum, VNU President Nguyễn Kim Sơn stated that being organized as a side event of the APEC 2017 Economic Leaders' Week, the Forum not only provided an opportunity to meet, exchange and share experience on higher education governance in the Era of Digitalization - Internet of Things, but also contributed to the consolidating and strengthening of the bilateral and multilateral collaboration among leading research  universities to promote the university-business linkage, and above all, to enhance the cooperation among APEC countries.

VNU President Nguyễn Kim Sơn believed that located in the dynamic economic region with 2.8 billion people, accounting for 39% of the world’s population, 57% of the total global GDP and 47% of world trade, the APEC Universities with knowledge and innovation would play a vital role in driving and creating added values for society thanks to the achievements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Facing the challenges of the new era, the universities must strive to meet the stricter requirements of human resources training for the new industrial revolution. To affirm their mission of training highly qualified human resources and creating know-how for the society, the universities must regard the innovation, development of new educational philosophy as well as sharing experience and visions as an indispensable demand.

“Vietnam is undertaking a comprehensive renovation of the economy and a reform of the whole education system in general and higher education in particular. This Forum has become a good opportunity for Vietnamese universities to learn to renovate development. Together, we will have to develop global citizens and citizens of the new industrial era ... Vietnam National University, Hanoi wishes to develop a comprehensive and sustainable cooperation with the universities in the Asia – Pacific region. I believe that the synergy of knowledge and innovation of the universities will create a fresh impetus to the APEC cooperation and will become an important pillar beside the economic, political and commercial cooperation” said VNU President Nguyễn Kim Sơn.

He also hoped that the discussions and recommendations from the Forum would become important suggestions for the leaders of APEC nations in shaping policies, improving strategies and developing an efficient development model not only for higher education but also for the whole socio-economic development of each nation and the APEC region in the future.

In the first session on Sustainable Development, Big Data and Asia-Pacific Challenges, the participants shared experience and discussed the issues of how to attain innovative, sustainable solutions for addressing climate change, disaster risk reduction, social inequality, population aging, and other major issues in the Asia - Pacific region. “What are the governance structures and policy mechanisms that ensure governments and education’s ability to keep pace with the Fourth Industrial Revolution?” and “How can industry and academia together better meet the challenges in the region and guide the innovative process toward the greatest social and environmental returns?” were also discussed at the Forum.

Employment in the Age of the Digital Economy and Artificial Intelligence was the issue of the second session. In this session, university and private sector leaders discussed how they were approaching the development of data science analytics to enable workforce across the APEC region to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific; the challenges that educators faced in developing their students’ expected skills and in preparing them to be workforce-ready; the way how the private sector had been approaching the shortage of appropriate human resources for meeting the businesses’ requirements in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution; the way in which the business-university partnership addressed the workforce demands; and the solutions and strategies to bridge the gap between university and industry.


 Sinh Vu – Ngoc Tung (photos) - VNU Media
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