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Asian Studies+ President Forum NCCU President Ming-Cheng Kuo says Multicultural, Innovative, Nurturing, Democratic, Sustainable are keys to future Asia

Date : 2022-05-06 Department : Secretariat
【Article by Office of International Cooperation】
Asian political and economic developments have become one of the focal issues of world affairs in recent times. To tap into this current trend, National Chengchi University held a two-part Asian Studies+ President Forum scheduled to take place virtually on May 5th and May 9th, 2022.

The May 5th session featured speakers President Ming-Cheng Kuo, Queensland University of Technology’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Scott Sheppard, Thammasat University Rector Gasinee Witoonchart, and University of Tsukuba President Kyosuke Nagata. Rector Hoàng Anh Tuấn of University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University Hanoi (VNU-USSH), was also among the speakers.

Besides, the director of NCCU’s International Master’s Program in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Ru-Shou Chen gave a brief introduction to the course during the forum.

NCCU Vice President of International Cooperation May-Shine Lin moderated the session, and kicked off the conference by describing NCCU’s prominent global position in Asian Studies, and highlighting the importance of academic networking. “NCCU is the only place in Taiwan where international degree-seeking students can major in Asia-Pacific studies all the way from undergraduate to PhD,” Professor Lin said.

The session’s first speaker was President Ming-Cheng Kuo, who shared his vision of building a global alliance for Asian studies, and his plan for how to achieve it. He began the presentation by describing Taiwan’s unique position within Asia, and highlighting some key points of Taiwan’s development successes.

“Today, Taiwan is not only known for its high-tech achievements such as semiconductors, it is also recognized by the international community for its peaceful transformation to democracy and its human rights record,”President Kuo said.

“The UST (University System of Taiwan to which NCCU is a member) is hoping to make Inter-Asia Studies an international master’s program by involving our partner universities from the Asian Studies Plus alliance,” He continued.

President Kuo finished his presentation with a call to action: “Let’s team up, join forces and set the wheels in motion.”

Professor Ru-Shou Chen followed President Kuo, and introduced NCCU’s signature MA program for Asian Studies, International Master’s Program in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (IACS-NCCU). He expects every IACS-NCCU graduate to have a solid understanding of Asian societies, politics and historical similarities.

“We hope to cultivate their sensitivity to everyday changes, both on the local and the global level, while learning to think and observe beyond disciplinary boundaries,” he said. “We anticipate that IACS-NCCU graduates will be as willing as they are able to take up the most exciting challenges facing them when they step into this dynamic economy.”

The panel then welcomed Professor Scott Sheppard, who described the Queensland University of Technology’s approach to engagement with Asia.

Professor Sheppard shared how over the past two decades the composition of his university’s international students has changed to now mainly Hong Kong, Chinese, Indonesian and Sri Lankan students. “These students have had a significant impact on the fabric and culture of our university,” he said. He also noted that Taiwan is home to the University of Queensland University of Technology’s largest cohort of nursing PhD students.

He described his university’s extensive collaborations with Chinese institutions. “Research has no political boundaries, and the complex issues we are dealing with have impacts on us all,” he said.

Professor Kyosuke Nagata followed the Australian perspective with an insightful and informative description of Asian Studies from the Japan and some of the many achievements of the University of Tsukuba.

“We have to create global trust with worldwide academic partners,” Professor Nagata said when introducing his university’s “Campus in Campus” overseas offices, two international start-up hubs, and two hospitals.

Turning to South-East Asia, the panel presented Professor Witoonchart, who gave a thorough briefing of Asian Studies from the perspective of Thailand.

Professor Witoonchart said that her university was creating opportunities for multinational firms to engage with the world’s largest economies, especially those in Asia. “Asia is a major hub for people flows. For example, tourism does not only transport people, but also culture,” she said.

Professor Witoonchart said that as one of the top higher education institutions in Thailand, Thammasat takes great pride in promoting sustainable growth in Thailand.

Finally, the panel was delighted to hear from Professor Hoang Anh Tuan, who shared the deep commitments his university and Vietnam have to Asian Studies.

Rector Tuan said his university is a mid-size university in Hanoi, with a strong focus on social sciences and humanities. “This may be a bit strange to some of you, but for a long time in Vietnam universities have focused on specific subject areas,” he said, adding that the university is also exploring interdisciplinary teaching and research.

Overall the panel discussants were extremely grateful to have the opportunity to share their perspectives on Asia Studies, just as NCCU and President Kuo was extremely happy to host them.

The next session of Asian Studies+ President Forum will take place on May 9th, 2022, featuring presidents and vice presidents from Sungkyunkwan University in Korea, University of Haifa in Israel, University of Trier in Germany, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales in France, SOAS University of London in the UK, and Universitas Gadjah Mada in Indonesia.
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