Monthly Report No.24 (Jun. 30, 2011)
Hello again from the AC21 General Secretariat.
AC21 Student World Forum:
One month on from the AC21 4th Student World Forum and we are still wrapping things up. It must be said that organizing and running an event as large as the Student World Forum does not end when the students leave to return home after their week-long adventure. Reports must be written, feedback from the students collected and analyzed and organizing staff must reflect on both what went right...and what can be done better for next time. Preliminary reports are in, and without giving too much information away before the final report comes in from Chulalongkorn, the feedback from students indicated that the top 3 highlights of the Student World Forum (all statistically tied in first place) were the hotel by the beach in Bor Fai, the friendliness of the staff and the food! Having attended the entire forum alongside the students, I can certainly say that I wholeheartedly agree with all three. It was certainly a very unique experience and a very clever idea to bring the students out of bustling Bangkok and into the quiet countryside for a large portion of the forum. As the theme was “Sustainable Rural Development”, it made sense to bring the students to a rural area to do some real hands on fieldwork. This idea is one that not only allowed students to share time with people and farmers who still represent a majority of the Thai population, but also honouring the fact that Thailand’s economy is still primarily based on agriculture. The success was in keeping the focus on what really counts for the majority of the population and the healthy future growth of Thailand, which is, according to the King’s Royal Development Project, the ability to sustain modernization and industrialization, while at the same time learning to value Thai identity, culture and local communities.
(*The AC21 webpage under “Activities⇒Photo Gallery” for the SWF 2011 album).
AC21 4th Student World Forum Facebook Page:
Another success this year, though albeit on a much smaller scale was the creation of the AC21 4th Student World Forum “facebook” page before the event. This allowed students to virtually “meet” each other before the actual event. Even one month on, the 89 “friends” of the page post daily messages, share links, articles, photos and even blogs for all to see. It must, at the very least, be recognized as an effortless way to stay connected and continue nurturing the budding friendships that began so randomly, yet that will surely last for many years to come.
The issues discussed in the last Steering Committee meeting also need some further debate. Many of the issues brought up at the meeting were left unresolved and will require more discussion and consensus from all members. The AC21 General Secretariat will be mailing out the final STC summary soon and will be in contact on how best to tackle the outstanding issues.
NAFSA Breakfast Meeting:
On another note, our AC21 General Secretariat Vice Director Professor Jiro Takai (Nagoya University) attended the NAFSA Breakfast Meeting hosted by the Chemnitz University of Technology earlier this month in Vancouver, Canada. In addition to Nagoya University, other AC21 Members from Jilin University, Kasetsart University, North Carolina State University, the University of Adelaide, the University of Minnesota and the University of Strasbourg and were there to hear presentations on “Networking Worldwide”, “Internationalization and University-Industry Collaboration”, “University Transformation: From Collaboration by Accident to Collaboration for Results” and Prof Takai’s presentation, “Nagoya University’s Response to the 3/11 Disaster”. Be sure to watch for the next edition of the AC21 Newsletter for the full report.
AC21 Webpage Updates:
With no new forums coming up for at least another year, I hope to see the summer and fall seasons focused on improvements to our webpage. There are countless opportunities in which we can use the site for common mutual benefit by focusing on our shared goals of increased exchange and creating globally minded students. I have been communicating with all members over the past few weeks in the hopes of updating our Summer/Winter and Short Stay Programs for International Students. I know that many of our members are improving their international programs and the AC21 Webpage is a great place to increase mutual visibility. We need the help of all international offices to work in getting the word out and increasing the opportunities available to students, staff and faculty of all AC21 Member Institutions.
I would also like to work on updating our communication list as staff changes and promotions often mean that those responsible for AC21 communications also change. Please remember to send the General Secretariat a note to indicate any staffing changes of late.
Special Announcement Message from Nanjing University:
Nanjing University would like some help from AC21 members in their search for suitable teachers for their international courses offered in English. Those interested may contact:
DAI Zhehua, Deputy Director & Associate Professor
Office of International Cooperation and Exchanges
Nanjing University, 22 Hankou Road, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210093, China
Tel: 86-25-8359-5708; Fax: 86-25-8330-7680
Sheri Love Yasue, AC21 General Secretariat