On the 10th Anniversary of the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation, the 11th ASEAN+3 Summit was held on 20 November 2007 in Singapore. At the Summit, the ASEAN Plus Three Leaders adopted the Second Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation entitled “Building on the Foundations of ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation” and the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Work Plan (2007-2017). The Work Plan serves as the master plan for enhancing ASEAN Plus Three relations and cooperation in a comprehensive and mutually beneficial manner. It also contributes to the establishment of the ASEAN Community by 2015. Under the Work Plan, the ASEAN University Network (AUN) is tasked to promote higher education, increase linkages between universities and encourage credit transfer in ASEAN+3 countries.

The ASEAN+3 Higher Education Policy Dialogue convened in Phuket, Thailand, on 21 - 22 March 2009. The forum was organised and funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, Commission on Higher Education, Ministry of Education of Thailand and the AUN Secretariat. The theme was “Intellectual Contribution to Enhancing the Future of Higher Education in the East Asian Community”. The Dialogue highlighted the need to intensify collaborative initiatives involving universities in the ASEAN+3 region and made suggestions for formulating a higher education framework to promote regional identity and solidarity in the region.

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

  • Academic cooperation: East Asian Studies and ASEAN Studies
  • Academic mobility: Student and staff mobility
  • ASEAN+3 Universities Networking: International Relations Offices (IROs)

The Conference participants agreed to:

  • establish an ASEAN+3 University Network to strengthen collaboration and solidarity between higher education institutions in ASEAN, China, Japan and Korea. In order to ensure the success of this collaborative network, the AUN Secretariat shall leverage its role as the established higher education coordinating body in ASEAN.
  • establish an ASEAN+3 University Network supported by the AUN Member Universities, and Universities from Plus Three Countries.
  • convene the ASEAN+3 Rectors’ Conference as well as the heads of ASEAN+3 Interna tional Relations Offices (IROs) annually. Both events will be held in rotation between the AUN Member Universities and Universities from Plus Three Countries.
  • enhance higher education networking, facilitate student and staff exchanges, encourage professional interactions and create research clusters among ASEAN+3 Universities via the ASEAN+3 University Network.
  • initiate the ASEAN+3 Collaborative Academic Programme in various fields of common interests including Science & Technology, Art and Culture, Economics, ASEAN Studies, and East Asian Studies. These programmes should comprise a minimum of two ASEAN Universities and at least one university from any of the Plus Three Countries.
  • strengthen student mobility through the expansion of various existing activities, such as the AUN Educational Forum and Young Speakers Contest, the AUN Youth Cultural Forum and the AUN Study Awards programme into the ASEAN+3 Educational Forum and Young Speakers Contest, the ASEAN+3 Youth Cultural Forum and the ASEAN+3 Study Awards Programme respectively.
  • create a voluntary, non-intrusive credit transfer system to accelerate student mobility among ASEAN+3 Universities.
  • expand the AUN Distinguished Scholars Programme into the ASEAN+3 Distinguished Scholars Programme to widen opportunities for staff mobility.
  • develop and offer courses on ASEAN and East Asian Studies at both Masters and PhD levels in order to foster community building in East Asia.
  • develop microsites within the AUN website that will serve as a regional International Relations Office directory as well as a database that contains necessary and relevant information, such as existing ASEAN and East Asian Studies Programmes, to promote the mobility of students, staff and researchers.

The Conference suggested the following recommendations which will be submitted for consideration to the 4th ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting (ASED) on 5-6 April 2009 in Phuket, Thailand, as well as the 12th ASEAN+3 Summit on 11 April 2009 in Pattaya, Thailand :

  • The ASEAN+3 University Network should support the East Asian Community building process based on collective wisdom and common interests.
  • The ASEAN+3 governments shall provide financial support towards the establishment of an ASEAN+3 Collaborative Academic Programme which aims to promote greater mobility of students, staff and researchers.
  • The ASEAN+3 governments to consider establishing an ASEAN+3 Ministerial Meeting on Education.

The Conference welcomed Peking University’s interest to host the 1st ASEAN+3 Rectors’ Conference in 2010 and Universiti Brunei Darussalum’s and Daejeon University’s offer to host the 1st and 2nd ASEAN+3 Heads of International Relations Offices’ Meeting in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Agreed upon by the representatives of the ASEAN+3 participating universities at the ASEAN+3 Higher Education Policy Dialogue 2009 - Intellectual Contribution to Enhancing the Future of Higher Education in the East Asian Community – on 22 March 2009, Phuket, Thailand.