01 September 2016

    The Russia–ASEAN University Forum, which has become a key event for academics and scientists from across the world, is being held in the margins of the Eastern Economic Forum. This year’s University Forum marks 20 years since a dialogue partnership was established between Russia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

    The varied programme includes sessions on comprehensive cooperation between ASEAN countries and Russia in areas of mutual interest such as regional security, economic development, energy efficiency, and technology and innovation, as well as discussions on purely educational issues.

    One session, ‘Russia–ASEAN: Opportunities for Business and Business Education’, focused on cooperation between nations in the field of business education.

    The session’s moderator, Chief Economist at the Eurasian Development Bank Yaroslav Lissovolik, sees this kind of interaction between countries as a gateway for Russia into the Southeast Asian region and a priority for the countries involved.

    Huynh Minh Chinh, Vietnam’s Consul General in Vladivostok, noted that it had been 20 years since the Russia–ASEAN Dialogue Partnership was launched in 1996. Over these past two decades, the partnership has developed on multiple levels. Three summits have been held, the third of which took place in Sochi, Russia. The Sochi Declaration paved the way for mutually beneficial cooperation in a wide variety of areas, from the economy to social issues. Universities both in Russia and in the ASEAN countries play a significant role in increasing mutual understanding and fruitful cooperation, and business education is a key area of joint activity.

    Donald Stuart McKay II, Associate Dean of Forbes School of Business at Ashford University (USA), discussed how relationships between Russia and the ASEAN countries had developed. He highlighted that friendly relations and human capital had been the driving force behind investment projects worth over USD 100,000. The decades of experience gained with the various cultures in the East needed to be handed down to the next generation of experts. Only universities can do this. “We would like there to be a consistent education system that lasts a lifetime”, said Mr McKay.

    Yong Kwek Ping, CEO of Singapore-based Inventis Investment Holdings, the largest foreign private equity fund in China, shared his own experience and talked about the practical aspects of teaching business. Mr Yong, one of the most successful investors in China, said that he had been teaching students in universities and business schools to manage direct investments in rapidly growing companies for more than 10 years. “The demand for human talent and human capital has now increased”, he said. “We need new areas of education and new knowledge; staff shortages are being felt acutely.” As a means to create more opportunities for contact between students in Russia and ASEAN countries, Mr Yong proposed opening a new business school in Russia that would seek to attract both Russian and international students, and whose certificates would be recognized in ASEAN countries.

    Elena Gaffarova, Director of the School of Economics and Management at the Far Eastern Federal University, talked about how the framework for business education is being developed at her university. For Ms Gaffarova, the key global trends were practical skills, implementation of specific regional projects, and integration processes in the world economy. She highlighted two main problems in the business education market: the need for students to gain practical experience and the subsequent implementation of projects, and the provision of graduate job opportunities in the Asian market and in Russia.