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First ASEM Rectors’ Conference: Higher Education Leaders of Asia and Europe Gather at Freie Universität Berlin to Discuss Long-term Cooperation

№ 329/2008 from Oct 28, 2008

First ASEM Rectors’ Conference: Hochschulleitungen aus Asien und Europa
First ASEM Rectors’ Conference

Following the inaugural meeting of Asian and European ministers responsible for education, hosted by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research in May 2008, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), the ASEAN University Network (AUN), the European University Association (EUA), and the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) are organizing the First ASEM Rectors’ Conference on the theme, “Between Tradition and Reform: Universities in Asia and Europe at the Crossroads,” from October 27 to 29,  2008. The event will be hosted by Freie Universität Berlin and is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research.

The conference is an important step toward establishing a sustainable dialogue platform between Asia and Europe on higher education issues, in view of enhancing education cooperation and exchange among ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) countries. The high-level meeting will bring together around one hundred university leaders and education experts from ASEM countries to discuss higher education policy issues, such as governance and management of universities, quality assurance in higher education and trends in education and research cooperation between the two regions. University rectors and presidents will adopt recommendations on higher education issues and concerns to be forwarded to the 2nd ASEM Education Ministers’ Meeting in Hanoi in May 2009.

Dr Soeung Rathchavy, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN, Ambassador Nguyen Quoc Khanh, Deputy Executive Director of ASEF, Mr Christoph Ehrenberg, Head of Division of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and Professor Dr Dieter Lenzen, President of Freie Universität Berlin, have opened the conference this morning. Keynote presentations will be delivered by Professor Dr Gu Binglin, President of Tsinghua University, China and Professor Dr Pierre de Maret, Board Member of the European University Association. The President of the German Rectors’ Conference, Professor Dr Margret Wintermantel, will address conference participants tonight on the topic of the development of universities and their role in society.

The Asia-Europe-Foundation (ASEF) seeks to promote better mutual understanding between the peoples of Asia and Europe through greater intellectual, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and to multiply knowledge about the possibilities of Asia-Europe cooperation. This project is an initiative by the Cultural Exchange Department. For further information about the Asia-Europe Foundation, please visit our website:

The Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) was established in 1967 to strengthen the ties and co-operation among countries in Southeast Asia, especially in terms of cultural, economic and social collaborations. The ASEAN University Network (AUN) was established in November 1995 with the signing of its Charter by the Ministers responsible for Higher Education from ASEAN countries, the signing of the Agreement on the Establishment of the AUN by the presidents/rectors/vice-chancellors of participating universities and the formation of AUN Board of Trustees. This extended ASEAN cooperation in the fields of higher education and human resource development. For further information, please visit our website:

The European University Association (EUA) represents and supports more than 800 higher education institutions in 46 countries, providing them with a unique forum to cooperate and keep abreast of the latest trends in higher education and research policies. Members of the Association are European universities involved in teaching and research, national associations of rectors and other organisations active in higher education and research. For further information, please visit our website:

Freie Universität Berlin is a leading research institution. It is one of nine German universities that met with success in all three funding lines in the federal and state Excellence Initiative, thereby receiving additional funding for its institutional future development strategy. Freie Universität can thus take its place as an “International Network university” in the global competition among universities. Its future development strategy is focused around three strategic centers: for cluster development, for international exchange, and for graduate studies. Development and assessment of research projects takes place within three major focus areas – area studies, humanities, and life sciences. For further information, please visit our website:

The German Rectors' Conference (HRK) is the voluntary association of state and state-recognised universities and other higher education institutions in Germany. It currently has 258 member institutions at which around 98 per cent of all students in Germany are registered. The HRK is the political and public voice of the universities and is the forum for the higher education institutions' joint opinion-forming process. The HRK addresses all topics relating to the responsibilities of higher education institutions: Research, teaching, studies, advanced continuing education and training, knowledge and technology transfer, international cooperation, and self-administration issues. For further information, please visit our website:


Helen Sophia Chua Balderama, Asia-Europe Foundation
Mobile: +65 93 90 98 72 , Email:

Susanne Schilden, Hochschulrektorenkonferenz
Tel.: 0228 887 152, Fax: 0228 887 280, Email:

Andrew Miller, European University Association
Mobile/GSM: +32 473 748 785, Email:

Goran Krstin, Freie Universität Berlin
Tel.: 030 838-73 106, Fax: 030  838-473 106, Email:

Further Information

Media contacts:

Ms Helen Sophia Chua Balderama, Asia-Europe Foundation
Mobile: +65 93 90 98 72, Email:

Ms Susanne Schilden, German Rectors’ Conference
Tel.: +49 228 887 152, Fax:  +49 228 887 280, Email:

Mr Andrew Miller, European University Association
Mobile/GSM: +32 473 748 785, Email:

Mr Goran Krstin, Freie Universität Berlin
Tel.:+ 49 30 838 73 106, Fax: +49 30  838 4 73 106, Email: