24 May 2021

Introducing the AUN Thematic Network Series #9 – AUN-AEC

Noppanun Sookping
AUN Programme Officer;

The ASEAN University Network - ASEAN Economic Community, also known as AUN-AEC, serves as a network for academic collaborations amongst universities as well as between universities and industries all over the ASEAN Member Countries through the enhancement of the ASEAN University Network (AUN)’s engagements. This thematic network is part of the ASEAN Economic Integration Forum which constitutes the ASEAN Economic Integration Platform (AEIP) and the ASEAN Aviation Integration Platform. The AUN-AEC aims to handle, through research and academic engagement, the regional challenges arising from the realisation and economic integration of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

AUN-AEC was established in 2015 in support of the development of the AEC. The network is supported mainly by the National University of Malaysia (UKM) , with its established programs in collaboration with a number of renown economic and research institutions such as the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the International Institute for Trade and Development (ITD), and other organisations.

AUN-AEC upholds the role of ushering academic collaborations, exchanges, and engagements to support the policy formulation and implementation of AEC, serving as the ASEAN University Network (AUN)’s extended arm to manage and enable progress via academic efforts. The network’s objectives are:

  • to strengthen research collaborations between universities and between universities and industry on issues pertinent to AEC and the deepening of economic integration within ASEAN;
  • to facilitate exchanges of experts between universities and between universities and industry that can facilitate a deeper understanding of AEC in each member country;
  • to deepen the engagement of universities and industries with policy formulation and its implementation in each member country.

As the goals for the promised prosperity of AEC comes with several cross-regional issues and challenges that range from increasing economic disparities -- both domestic and regional -- due to rapid economic growth and lack of effective extranational governance, to the people’s ambitions to achieve inclusive economic growth, AUN-AEC continues to provide aid and solutions to handle such challenges by opening a window of opportunities for public engagements with the AUN’s pool of experts from across the region and beyond through a combination of research collaborations and event hosting.

The conception of AUN-AEC’s ASEAN Economic Integration Forum (AEIF) in 2016 formed part of AUN-AEC’s most major achievements. A product from the collaboration between UKM and the University of Oxford and World Trade Institute (WTI), the forum serves as an academic platform for cross-regional discussions amongst experts and stakeholders about possible solutions and mechanisms in different levels and dimensions which might prove fundamental to the insurance of the AEC’s equitable and inclusive growth. AEIF was aimed to address numerous themes concerning, for instance, intra and inter-state development gap, unintended and unanticipated consequences of AEC, poverty and inequality, etc. The forum’s impact can be observed through the discussions on new mechanisms, policies and partnerships aimed to handle emerging challenges, including the ASEAN Aviation Integration Platform and ASEAN Business & Humans Rights.

Since its establishment in 2015, AUN-AEC remains steadfast in providing its services to the realisation of AEC. With the impactful hosting of activities such as the ASEAN Economic Integration Forum, the network constitutes a platform which encourages the engagement between the ASEAN academe and the industrial sector. Ultimately, AUN-AEC shall continue its mission to achieve the long-term development and equitability of AEC, a goal which shall bestow prosperity to the residents of the ASEAN countries in the coming decades.

The AUN-AEC will also benefit from the online training platform developed by Institute of Malaysian and International Studies at UKM, known as training.globalasean.org and globalasean.org

Contact Information

In the next article, we will take a look at AUN-SAN, serving as a platform to empower, develop student leadership, as well as enhance related student affairs and governance through the Student Affairs body of AUN Member Universities.