The 4th ASEAN Summit in 1992 called for ASEAN Member Countries to help “hasten the solidarity and development of a regional identity through the promotion of human resource development so as to further strengthen the existing network of leading universities and institutions of higher learning in the region.” This idea led to the establishment of the AUN in November 1995 with the signing of its Charter by the Ministers responsible for higher education from six Member Countries, and with initial participation of eleven universities from six countries. A Memorandum of Agreement on the establishment of the ASEAN University Network was subsequently signed by the presidents/rectors/vice-chancellors of the participating Member Universities. The Agreement mandated the formation of a Board of Trustees and a Secretariat headed by an Executive Director.

The AUN’s strategic focus built on those identified by ASEAN to facilitate regional cooperation in developing:

  • Southeast Asian studies interdisciplinary academic programmes and the availability of academic degrees in these fields of study in at least one major university in each of the member states;
  • ASEAN MA and PhD programmes to be undertaken as cooperative regional academic programmes, each involving courses offered by instit- utions of higher education in more than one member state;
  • ASEAN regional research projects to be undertaken jointly by scientists/scholars of more than one member state; and
  • ASEAN Visiting Professors programmes to enable academics from one member state to lecture for a given period of time at an institution of higher education of another member state.

When the First AUN Board of Trustees Meeting convened in November 1996, the above priorities guided the AUN’s immediate plan of work in four key areas: student and faculty exchanges, ASEAN studies, information networking, and collaborative research.

Later, when the ASEAN Charter was signed by the Ministries of 10 ASEAN Member States in 2007, AUN became tasked as a key implementing agency of ASEAN in the Socio-cultural portfolio. AUN conducts programmes and activities to encourage and promote higher education cooperation and development to enhance regional integration in achieving global standards. Our current activities are categorised into five areas covers (1) Youth Mobility, (2) Academic Collaboration, (3) Standards, Mechanisms, Systems and Policies of Higher Education Collaboration, (4) Courses and Programmes Development and (5) Regional and Global Policy Platforms.

The AUN’s strategic focus built on those identified by ASEAN to facilitate regional cooperation in developing:

  • To strengthen the existing network of cooperation among universities in ASEAN and beyond;
  • To promote collaborative study, research and educational programmes in the priority areas identified by ASEAN;
  • To promote cooperation and solidarity among scholars, academicians and researchers in the ASEAN Member States; and,
  • To serve as the policy-oriented body in higher education in the ASEAN region.