Amongst the world of academic in the global platform, the Association of Universities of the Asia & the Pacific [AUAP] and the International Association of Universities Presidents [IAUP] are 2 of the most versatile and dynamic organizations integration higher education institutions in constructive and progressive international development on curriculum, quality, and leadership. As a proactive member of both the AUAP and IAUP, the American International University – Bangladesh [AIUB] was invited to participate in the 1st AUAP-IAUP Joint International Conference 2018, held from the 9th – 12th of July 2018, hosted by the University of Surabaya [UBaya], in Surabaya, Indonesia.

AIUB was represented in the 3-day program by the Vice Chancellor, Dr. Carmen Z. Lamagna, along with the Special Assistant of the Vice Chancellor’s Office and the Office of Student Affairs, Asst. Prof. Shama Islam. The Opening Ceremony was inaugurated with a vibrant cultural performance of traditional Indonesian dancers, followed by a welcoming speech by Prof. Joniarto Parung, the Rector of Ubaya, Dr. Kakha Shengelia, the current President of IAUP, and Dr. Sung Hee Nam, the current President of AUAP. The conference was officially declared open by the symbolic sounding of the traditional Indonesian gong. The first day converged with 5 enlightening sessions with revered keynote speakers starting with Dr. Bala Kumble, the CEO and MD of Global Knowledge Alliance, Australia, Dr. Nemuel Danial Pah, the Vice Rector of Academic Affairs at Ubaya, Dr. Toyoshi Satow, the IAUP Chair of the Board of Directors and the Chancellor at the J.F. Oberlin University, Japan, Dr. Pornchai Mongkhonvanit, the Administrative Board Member of the International Association of Universities (IAU), and finally, Dr. Kakha Shengelia, the President of IAUP and the Caucasus Univeristy, Georgia.  

The program was then followed by 4 plenary sessions with a number of distinguished esteemed speakers from about 13 different established institutions, discussing the various aspects of challenges, quality, and sustainability in academia. The last plenary session for the day was opened by Dr. Lamagna, introducing both the idea of the UN’s “Higher Education Sustainability Initiatives (HESI) and the nationwide sustainability initiatives undertaken by Bangladesh. Following her prelude, Ms. Islam presented the various practices and policies undertaken by AIUB that align with the idea of sustainable development in higher education, covering vast areas such as curriculum, research, study tours/workshops, collaborations, and infrastructure, highlighting the recent advancements made in the new operational campus premises. The program then held the 44th AUAP Board Meeting and the IAUP Executive Committee Meeting simultaneously. 

The 2nd day closed off the conference with a discussion session on internationalization indicators and quality assurance for the AUAP Quality Assurance Committee, followed by the final plenary session on internationalization After a brief guided campus tour of UBaya, an inspiring session on networking by Dr. Lamagna, leading up to the official signing of around 60 Memorandums of Understanding [MoUs] between the 30 of the participating universities. The day was concluded with an amazing farewell dinner and breathtaking cultural performance, followed by a celebratory speech by Prof. Parung on the occasion of Ubaya’s 50th Anniversary. 

While some of the participants departed the next day, the majority were taken on a city tour of Surabaya. The program not only gave the participating universities a platform to engage in international dialogue on various issues of critical importance in the global academic landscape, but enabled them to exchange ideas, views, and cultures that set the pace for their future ventures to work towards evolving their institutions and the world of education in its entirety. All in all, the joint conference brought together various national, regional, and local authorities of academic significance, enabling them to collaborate, integrate, and pursue sustainable development, not only in the core curriculum and quality assurance of the institutions, but even the co-curricular, internationalization, partnerships, and infrastructure.

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