8th Senior Staff Meeting participants at Chulalongkorn University.
Chulalongkorn University hosted the 8th APRU Senior Staff Meeting (SSM) from March 9 to 11, 2011. A total of fifty-three delegates from 30 APRU member universities attended the meeting in Bangkok. The 2011 meeting comprised a one-and-a-half day Forum on "The Role of Universities in Addressing Sustainable Health Challenges in the 21st Century" on March 9 and 10, and a Business Meeting on March 11.
The Forum saw stimulating discussions on major health issues in Asia Pacific and the ways in which universities were addressing these challenges. Invited speakers from Chulalongkorn University and APRU Senior Staff panelists shared examples of how their home institutions and local organizations were meeting the sustainable health challenges faced by their respective economies.
Professor Dr Charas Suwanwela, Chairperson of the Chulalongkorn University Council, gave an insightful keynote address on the role higher education institutions in addressing regional and global health challenges and how the Thai government was engaging academia in its call for greater social responsibility. The close involvement of academic leaders, researchers, educators and health practitioners in solving the country's health challenges has been aptly demonstrated by Chulalongkorn University's leadership in area of health promotion.
The concurrent group discussions provided Senior Staff and participants an opportunity to explore linkages and implications of health issues on the internalization efforts of universities particularly in curriculum and program development, human capital management, academic partnerships and research. The role of APRU in ameliorating the impact of health challenges and coordinating efforts by member universities was also debated. The ALOUD Forum provided a platform for members to share information on the current developments and innovative projects in their universities that could open potential avenues for collaboration among APRU member universities. Seven Senior Staff representatives shared briefly on 1-2 projects and collaborative interests within their respective institutions. These included a scholarship-funded study abroad program, a summer institute, call for international partnerships, and various global and regional outreach activities.
At the Senior Staff Session, the Senior Staff Advisory Committee (SSAC) chaired by Professor Susan Elliott, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Global Engagement), University of Melbourne, and Ms Margaret Leong, Treasurer and Director (Secretariat) spoke of possible strategic areas of focus for APRU, namely bilateral or multilateral research programs, short courses and summer programs, service learning and community engagement. The SSAC also called for inputs from fellow Senior Staff regarding future strategic priorities and activities to further advance APRU's goal of being a leading academic consortium. Updates on the search for APRU's 4th Secretary General were also presented at the session.
The 8th SSM concluded with a Business Meeting which saw an overview of APRU events in 2010 and updates on various upcoming activities for the rest of 2011 and early 2012.