Asia Universities Summit 2018: final programme announced

Times Higher Education’s first summit in mainland China will host launch of 2018 Asia University Rankings

December 8, 2017
Shenzhen skyline
Source: iStock

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More than 20 university presidents from 12 countries will speak at Times Higher Education’s Asia Universities Summit in February.

The event, which will be hosted by the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in Shenzhen from 5 to 7 February 2018, will be the first THE summit to take place in mainland China. It will be on the theme of “Connecting cities, changing the world: research universities building Asia”.

Subra Suresh, president designate of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore – one of the world’s fastest-rising universities – will deliver the opening keynote on trends, opportunities and challenges for global research and education.

Meanwhile, Alice Gast, president of Imperial College London, will give a speech on pursuing the endless frontier in the era of AlphaGo, and Jianhua Lin, president of China’s top-ranked institution, Peking University, will explore the theme of competition and collaboration and Beijing’s universities at the nexus of the Asian century.

The summit will also explore the current hubs of excellence and rising stars in the region; the universities that are sustaining cities in the 21st century; the idea of universities as catalysts and connectors for innovation; and how universities can lead the “fourth industrial revolution”.

Other confirmed speakers at the event include Ana Mari Cauce, president of the University of Washington; Wei Yang, president of the National Science Foundation of China; Baroness Valerie Amos, director of Soas, University of London; Menahem Ben-Sasson, chancellor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Amit Chakma, president and vice-chancellor of Western University; Margaret Gardner, president and vice-chancellor of Monash University; Judy Genshaft, president of the University of South Florida; Peter Høj, vice-chancellor of the University of Queensland; Sir Keith Burnett, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield; Yeon Cheon Oh, president of the University of Ulsan; Stuart Corbridge, vice-chancellor of Durham University; and Sung-Chul Shin, president of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).

It will also hear from some brand-new university leaders: Eng Chye Tan, president designate of the National University of Singapore and Rocky Tuan, president designate of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

In total, 23 former and current university presidents will speak at the event.

The summit will also host the launch of the THE Asia University Rankings 2018 and include a data masterclass on the results.

The continuing rise of Asia is one of the main themes of the latest THE World University Rankings, which includes three Asian universities in the top 30 for the first time since 2010-11.

Shiyi Chen, president of SUSTech, said that the theme of the summit will prompt a “timely and important conversation considering the increasing interconnectivity in the world today”.

“The theme is highly relevant to China, Shenzhen, and SUSTech, and it is a privilege to be hosting this summit and facilitating the conversation on interconnected cities and their role in changing the world. I am looking forward seeing you all here, to reconnecting with old friends and to making new ones,” he said.

Phil Baty, THE’s editorial director of global rankings, said: “After events in the US, Australia, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong, this is THE’s first international summit to be held in mainland China, and it comes at the perfect time – China was the success story of the 2018 THE World University Rankings, where it cemented its status as a true global higher education superpower, and this summit will be an unprecedented opportunity to explore its extraordinary journey and examine the policies and practices underpinning the nation’s great success in global higher education.

“But the event is not just about China. It is an international event, focused on the whole of Asia, and we also have many great Western university leaders attending – so I look forward to using this unique and prestigious gathering of global university thought leaders to really understand the great global opportunities presented by the Asian century, and to facilitate strong new international networks and partnerships.”

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