03 September 2016

    The first Russia–ASEAN University Forum was held on the side-lines of the Eastern Economic Forum on September 1–2. More than 150 participants, including government officials, rectors, scientists and experts from leading Russian and ASEAN universities, gathered at a single site in order to exchange experience and identify prospects for further interaction. The Russian–ASEAN forum was organized by Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) and Far Eastern Federal University with the support of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education and Science and the Roscongress Foundation.

    The first day of the forum took place in the format of expert discussions on a wide range of issues. Plenary sessions were devoted to the development of universities, cooperation as part of science and education, innovations, ecology and energy efficiency, regional security, culture and art, sports and medicine.

    The session moderator for another area of mutual interest, regional security, was Mohamed Jawhar, former chairman and chief executive officer of the ASEAN Institute of Strategic and International Studies (Malaysia). He noted that Russia and ASEAN are celebrating their twentieth anniversary of their business partnership. A comprehensive action programme for the next five years was adopted in Sochi in May 2016. During the discussion, the participants concluded that security should be unified and not divided up, although not at anyone’s expense or detriment.

    The present and future of university relations was discussed at the session ‘Universities and Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation’, which was moderated by Nantana Gajaseni, the Executive Director of the ASEAN University Network. The participants listed the key factors that are needed today to strengthen Russia–ASEAN university cooperation, cited examples of joint projects and spoke about the advancement of research and putting into action. In particular, Chusak Limsakul, President of Prince of Songkla University (Thailand), suggested options for cooperation between Russian and Thai universities in logistics and medicine, science and technology, the establishment of science parks and more. In order to identify potential, he invited professors from Russia to visit his university, which is among the five best universities in Thailand.

    The second day opened with a plenary session attended by Moscow State Institute of International Relations Rector Anatoly Torkunov, Far Eastern Federal University Acting President Nikita Anisimov, Russian Minister of Education and Science Olga Vasilyeva, Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak, Cambodian Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Hang Chuon Naron, Lao Minister of Education Sengduan Lachanthaboun, Thai Deputy Minister of Education Teerakiat Jareonsettasin and Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Morgulov. Torkunov welcomed the participants and honoured guests of the Russia–ASEAN University Forum. The rector noted that this was the first event in this format that ends to strengthen and develop a university partnership. The decision to hold the forum was made in May in Sochi at a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the heads of ASEAN nations and governments. Morgulov read out a welcome address from Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov: “I would like to cordially welcome you to Vladivostok, you – representatives of the academic and university circles of Russia and ASEAN nations. We are grateful to our ASEAN partners for accepting the invitation to visit our country. Special thanks to Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Far Eastern Federal University and other Russian universities for activing promoting cooperation with the Association in education, including arranging today’s meeting”. Vasilyeva spoke about the history of and prospects for academic cooperation via Russia–ASEAN: “We have every reason to continue strengthening our ties with ASEAN, both at the highest level and in professional education. I think this movement will continue, including networking. We will establish educational programmes for exchanges above all and for all relevant areas.”

    The ministerial plenary session concluded with the official start of the #BrighterTogether All-Russian Energy Conservation Festival held with the support of the Russian Ministry of Energy.