9 February 2024

9th AUN-CA Annual Meeting Forged Ahead on its Ways Forward for an even More Vibrant Community of Arts and Culture in ASEAN

Ninnart Ratanasukhon
AUN Programme Officer;

The 9th ASEAN University Network on Culture and the Arts (AUN-CA) Annual Meeting was held virtually on 2 February 2024. AUN-CA is an AUN Thematic Network dedicated to the promotion of culture, arts, creativity, and the connection between academic institutions and creative industry in the ASEAN+3 region. The 9th Annual Meeting drew in 21 representatives from 18 member universities for the continued deliberation on AUN-CA Strategic Work Plan 2023-2026, which would oversee the reinforcement of the network’s position as  a venue for policy development in culture and arts; a space for students, art educators, and practitioners across the ASEAN+3 region to collaborate; and the central point between ASEAN academic institutions and the creative industry. 

The meeting opened with a welcoming address from Dr. Choltis Dhirathiti, AUN Executive Director. His address remarked the increasing emphasis on the role of arts and culture in ASEAN countries’ economy following the recovery from the covid-19 pandemic. Universities are at the central point in nurturing graduates who shall contribute to this growing demand with technical abilities and broadened global perspectives. With emphasis on interconnection between the roles of universities and the arts and culture industry, the  deliberation of AUN-CA on its mission to become a platform for policy development and artistic and academic collaboration arrived in a timely manner. Ultimately, the directions set for AUN-CA in this meeting shall play a crucial role in the strengthening of alignment between university’s education and the demand of the world of work.

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Following the opening ceremony, Dr. Yiwen Ouyang, Vice-President of AUN-CA and Vice-Dean of School of Arts, Guangxi University, provided further illustration to Dr. Choltis’ remark with the example from Guangxi University in her keynote speech “the Role of Educational Institutions in Harnessing the Country’s Culture, Arts, and the Creative Industries in China.”

During her keynote session, Dr. Ouyang outlined the development of the Chinese national college major directory for art majors by the Chinese Ministry of Education and how the recent revision demonstrated growing demand from the public towards the creative industry, with 56 art majors being included in the revised directory and an improved curriculum for undergraduate-level art education for students outside of art majors. This revision called for Chinese universities to enhance their effort in cultivating new talents, and Guangxi University has answered with the introduction of two types of art courses to engage students outside of their art majors. These included art courses that focus solely on theory and art courses that provide a mixture of theoretical study and practical activities.


Following Dr. Ouyang’s presentation, Ms. Glorife Soberano-Samodio, President of AUN-CA, took to the stage and presented the AUN-CA Work Plan 2023-2026.  To rise up to this wide open window of opportunity and the increasing demand towards the creative industry, AUN-CA has introduced the AUN-CA Work Plan 2023-2026 which is set to strengthen the thematic network’s positions as:

  1. A venue for policy development in strengthening creativity, culture, and the arts in higher education, and exploring the prospects of creative industries in the region
  2. A platform for collaboration on activities on culture, arts and creativity, and ASEAN awareness, especially for the student artists, artistic trainers, cultural programmers/arts managers, and arts researchers

In this regard, five key result areas were highlighted to achieve these two prospects, including:

  • To serve as a venue for policy development in strengthening creativity, culture, and the arts in higher education, and exploring the prospects of creative industries in the region.
    • Membership expansion
    • Policy development
  • To collaborate on performances, research, and exchange programs on culture, arts and creativity, and ASEAN awareness 
    • Capacity building for arts program managers, artistic trainers, and arts researchers
    • Research development
    • Collaborative productions such as performances or exhibitions

The work plan was positively received by participants, with additional suggestions for continuing emphasis on face-to-face meetings, such as at the ASEAN Youth Cultural Forum (AYCF), for members to build rapport and gain better understanding about the capacity of each university.

The meeting was concluded with a closing remark by Dr. Amihan Bonifacio-Ramolete, Secretary to the Board of AUN-CA and Professor of the College of Arts and Letter, Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts, University of the Philippines. Dr. Amihan emphasised communication and active participation from the Network’s members as the catalyst for the achievement of this plan within 2026 and expressed her enthusiasm to seeing all the members and delegates from their institutes at the 19th ASEAN and 9th ASEAN+3 Youth Cultural Forum coming up on 23-28 June 2024 at Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei.

Read more about AUN-CA and AYCF at: