19 July 2023

Continuing Strong in the Tide of Change: AUN’s Success Recapped in the 38th AUN-BOT Meeting

Ninnart Ratanasukhon
AUN Programme Officer;

The 38th ASEAN University Network Board of Trustees (AUN-BOT) Meeting concluded with astounding success in Kuala Lumpur on 6 July 2023, with gracious hosting from Universiti Malaya. 

The AUN-BOT Meeting serves as an annual convention of the Members of the AUN Board of Trustees to be informed on the latest AUN activities, discuss its direction, and set a vision for its future. This year, the meeting welcomed 16 Members of the Board together with 48 accompanying officers and resource persons from the AUN Member Universities.

The 16 Members presented included:

Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation (MHESI)

  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pasit Lorterapong, Deputy Permanent Secretary

Brunei Darussalam

  • Dr. Hazri bin Haji Kifle, Vice Chancellor, Universiti Brunei Darussalam


  • Ely Susanto, S.IP., MBA., Ph.D., Director of Planning and Development, Universitas Gadjah Mada
  • Dr. Agustin Kusumayati, M.Sc., Ph.D., University Secretary, Universitas Indonesia


  • Prof. Dr. Houngphet Chanthavong, Vice President, National University of Laos


  • Prof. Dr. Yatimah Alias, Exercising the Function of Vice-Chancellor, Universiti Malaya
  • Professor Dato’ Ir. Dr. Abdul Rahman Mohamed, FASc., Vice-Chancellor, Universiti Sains Malaysia


  • Dr. Khin Chit Chit, Pro-Rector, University of Yangon

The Philippines

  • Dr. Laurene Chua-Garcia, Vice President, External Relations and Internationalization, De La Salle University


  • Professor Tim White, Vice President (International Engagement), Nanyang Technological University
  • Assoc. Prof. Reuben Wong, Associate Vice President (Global Relations), National University of Singapore


  • Asst. Prof. Savaminee Teerawut, Vice President for Strategic Planning and Policies, Burapha University

Viet Nam

  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vu Hai Quan, Chancellor, Viet Nam National University Ho Chi Minh City

ASEAN Secretariat

  • Dr. Roger Yap Chao Jr., Assistant Director/Head of Education, Youth, and Sports Division

SEAMEO Secretariat

  • Datuk Dr. Habibah Abdul Rahim, Director

AUN Secretariat

  • Choltis Dhirathiti Ph.D., AUN Executive Director

Welcoming our participants to the meeting was Prof. Dr. Yatimah Alias, Exercising the Function of Vice-Chancellor, Universiti Malaya. In her welcoming remarks, Prof. Dr. Yatimah emphasised the importance of building resilience and a clear sense of purpose to achieve impactful outcomes and sustainable growth in higher education. The meeting aimed to shape future collaborations among AUN Member Universities and enhance the quality and relevance of education in the region. Collaboration, innovation, and inclusivity were highlighted as key factors for creating a transformative impact on the educational landscape of ASEAN.


Prof. Dr. Yatimah Alias (centre) with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pasit Lorterapong to the right and Dr. Roger Yap Chao Jr. to the left

Following a welcoming remark by Prof. Dr. Yatimah Alias; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pasit Lorterapong, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation, Thailand set the tone of the meeting with his opening remarks. In his speech, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pasit Lorterapong emphasised the need for continuous transformation in higher education systems to address current and future challenges such as the pandemic, climate change, and digital transformation. He underscored the importance of reassessing strategies and sharing directions and practices within the regional higher education community, inspiring educators and policymakers to reimagine higher education.


Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pasit Lorterapong, with Dr. Choltis Dhirathiti to the right

After the opening remarks by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pasit Lorterapong, the members of our Board of Trustees were in for a long ride through what AUN has achieved between the years 2022 and 2023!

To set off the joyous ride, the Guide to AUN-QA Assessment at Institutional Level Version 3.0 was presented to the members of the Board of Trustees for approval. The Guide, which took two years in the making, features more comprehensive guidelines for the AUN-QA Assessment at Institutional Level, including: increased emphasis on the Systemic Quality Assurance system (internal and external QA, data management, and quality enhancement), more streamlined Strategic QA (university relations and management, strategic planning, human and financial resourcing, etc), 55% reduction in the number of requirements, and more. 

The Board of Trustees approved this revision with unanimous joy and appreciation to the Members of the Revision Committee, led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tan Kay Chuan, National University of Singapore.

For the full details on the Guide to AUN-QA Assessment at Institutional Level Version 3.0, please visit: Ensuring Top Quality Assessments: The Third Evolution of the Guide to AUN-QA Quality Assessment at Institutional Level (Version 3.0)

Following the approval of the Guide to AUN-QA Assessment at Institutional Level Version 3.0, the Board was presented with the line-ups of Regional Engagements and Developments from the AUN Secretariat, the Member Universities, and the AUN Thematic Networks.

This year's line-ups were particularly of note as three events made or set to make their long-awaiting return after a hiatus from the pandemic. Accompanying them were four more events and developments from the AUN Secretariat, its Member Universities, and the Thematic Networks which had concluded in style as well.

The events that made their glorious returns or are set to return in the years 2022 and 2023 include:

  • AUN-QA International Conference 2023: After a 2-year hiatus from the pandemic, the AUN Secretariat is proud to announce the organisation of the AUN-QA International Conference on 6 - 7 September, hosted by AUN Secretariat, under the theme of “Driving University Excellence Through Quality: Strategies, Systems, Structures, and QA in the Context of Post-Pandemic Regional and Global Cooperation.” This premier conference of the AUN-QA is set to be held back to back with the  AUN-QA Assessors’ General Assembly and the AUN-QA CQOs’ Meeting as well. 
  • The AUN ASEAN Experiential Learning Programme (AELP): Hosted by Nanyang Technological University and the National University of Singapore, the AUN’s flagship student programme made its glorious return in Singapore this year, with 40 students from across ASEAN coming to explore the concept of ‘Smart Nation: Transforming Your Nation with Technology’ and tackling the issues of our modern cities.

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  • The ASEAN+3 Youth Cultural Forum: the colours returned to the scene with the 18th ASEAN and 8th ASEAN+3 Youth Cultural Forum held on 14-19 May 2023 under the theme of “Think - Feel - Act: Revive Stronger!” Hosted by Universitas Indonesia, the Forum welcomed 174 delegates from 24 universities across 9 ASEAN+3  countries, who brought with them the unique touch of their cultures and arts to the AUN’s most beloved Cultural Forum.

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Accompanying those that returned or set to return soon were four more  events and developments from the AUN Secretariat, its Member Universities, and the Thematic Networks included:

  • AUN Internal Quality Assurance System (AUN-IQAS) Model (Initiative in Designing/Redesigning of University IQA System): Organised jointly between the Ministry of Education and Training of Viet Nam (MOE) and the AUN, the Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) Development Workshop brought together stakeholders, experts, and experienced users to a rigorous workshop, hosted at the Viet Nam National University Ho Chi Minh City, to create a tailor-made IQA model that will answer to the unique conditions and landscape of Vietnamese Higher Education.
  • A Workshop on "Quality Standardization in University's Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) System and Management": A collaboration between AUN and Prince of Songkla’s University (PSU), the workshop introduced and collected feedback on the “One Platform One Protocol for AUN ICT Model.” This model aims to impart quality assurance to the operational backbone of the University's ICT System through an establishment of an integrated ICT standard that will ensure its operational excellence. The workshop was successfully conducted on 21 - 23 March 2023 at PSU, Phuket Campus, Thailand, with 22 AUN Members and Associated Members in participation.
  • The AUN Internship Programme: The AUN Internship Programme provides undergraduate and graduate students with a valuable opportunity to gain practical experience in an international and diverse environment. Its primary goal is to enhance students' understanding of ASEAN Higher Education and the works of AUN.  From 2022-2023, AUN welcomed 14 interns from six countries for its online and onsite internship.
  • The Regional Graduate Collaborative Programme on Human Rights (AUN-HRE): AUN-HRE delighted our Board of Trustees with an update on its collaboration with the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), which AUN-HRE is now identified as a key partner for capacity building and public awareness under their Five-Year Plan from 2021-2025. AUN-HRE also reported an update on the development of a drafted curriculum of the regional collaborative programme, first initiated in August 2022, that the ASEAN Credit Transfer System might be utilised to facilitate the exchange of students among universities offering human rights and peace courses at the graduate levels to create this regional collaborative programme.

Following the updates on the Regional Engagement and the Developments from the AUN, its Member Universities, and its Thematic Networks; the recent Global Engagements of the AUN were there for our Board’s perusal as well.

From July 2022 to June 2023, AUN has extended its collaboration to various partners from beyond ASEAN. This included:

  • China-AUN Scholarship: A scholarship programme under the ASEAN-China Academic Cooperation and Exchange Programme in cooperation with the China Scholarship Council (CSC). This programme offers 30 full scholarships annually to citizens of ASEAN member countries to pursue their Master’s and Doctoral degrees in China.
  • ASEAN-China Young Leaders Scholarship Programme (ACYLS): An initiative in response to the call of the Leaders of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and ASEAN Member States (AMS) to strengthen people-to-people exchanges and educational cooperation between AMS and PRC. 72 ASEAN Nationals were awarded this scholarship to further their doctoral and master’s degree programmes in 22 top Chinese Universities in 2022-2023.
  • SUN/SixERS Study and Visit Programme: A unique two-week study and visit programme that offers students a tailor-made opportunity to learn and experience ASEAN, together with its diversity, while earning in-depth knowledge in various aspects through lectures, on-site exposures, cultural workshops, and organisation visits. The 2023 SUN/SixERS Study and Visit Programme is set to be organised from 19 August – 2 September 2023 under the theme of ‘To learn and unlearn: An exploration through time’
  • AUN–Harbour Education Study and Visit Programme: This study and visit programme offers thirty students from China the opportunity to explore the realities of the contemporary ASEAN region (Thailand) and the conditions of the present era as a consequence of historical reasonings while reflecting on new outlooks and cooperations towards the future. This Study and Visit Programme is scheduled to be organised from 23 July – 12 August 2023 under the theme of ‘From the Silk Road of Yesterday to the Belt and Road of Tomorrow’
  • Collaboration with EU, CALOHEA Project: One of AUN’s flagship programmes, this collaboration with the International Tuning Academy Groningen, University of Groningen (RUG), aims to enhance student mobility and internationalisation in universities across ASEAN through the implementation of the Three Recognition Mechanisms, namely: 1. Regional Subject-Specific Qualifications and Assessment Reference Frameworks 2. Student Workload Measurement 3. Authentic Assessment of Programme Learning Outcomes

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  • Collaboration with Australia: Started off with the signing of an MOU between the National ELT Accreditation Scheme (NEAS) Australia and the ASEAN University Network in January, 2023 set to be an eventful year for the enhancement of the institutional capability on English-Medium Education in ASEAN! Following the signed MOU, ASEAN universities can get ready for an array of webinars, workshops, and courses from AUN and its Australian partners, including: Macquarie University, Western Sydney University, and Australian Catholic University (ACU).  

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  • Collaboration with Times Higher Education (THE): To top off the long list of programmes, updates, events, and engagements; the AUN, together with Times Higher Education, is set to assist the AUN Members and Associate Members in joining the rank of THE World University Ranking and Impact Ranking in 2024. With a series of three webinars, the AUN Members and Associate Members will be guided through every nook and cranny of THE World University Ranking and Impact Ranking, the best practices of internationalisation and reputation, and better data management and submission for THE World University Ranking and Impact Ranking. For more information and registration for the webinars, please visit this page.

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The meeting concluded with the announcement of the hosting of the 39th AUN Board of Trustees Meeting, which will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, and hosted by the AUN Secretariat. 

In his closing remarks, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pasit Lorterapong expressed his appreciation to all participants attending the event. He highlighted the importance of networking, stating that it is an investment that can yield long-term results for businesses and organisations, as evidenced by the success of AUN. He also acknowledged the significant investment made by AUN in networking to strengthen collaboration among member universities and expand cooperation with non-member universities. However, he emphasised the need to look toward the future and not rest on past achievements.

He expressed sincere appreciation to the AUN Board of Trustees and member universities for their valuable and continuous contributions to ASEAN higher education cooperation and encouraged all participants to continue investing in the network to inspire and initiate positive change in the region.


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