AUN helps facilitate collaboration among academics and policymakers at the ASEAN-China University Think-Tank Network Video Forum

By Phasawit Jutatungcharoen, Programme Officer
4 January 2021

Blurb: AUN Executive Director Dr. Choltis Dhirathiti delivered an opening remark in November at the Video Forum of ASEAN-China University (Country and Regional Studies) Think-Tank Network 2020, with an aim to promote collaboration between ASEAN institutions and China’s policymakers and their experts in university think-tanks.

The Video Forum of ASEAN-China University (Country and Regional Studies) Think-Tank Network was held on 26 November 2020. The aim of the online forum was to promote practical cooperation and bilateral relations by inviting academics, researchers and policymakers from China and ASEAN countries to share information and exchange views on a multitude of subjects. The ASEAN University Network (AUN) was invited to participate in this forum, facilitating such connections.

AUN Executive Director Dr. Choltis Dhirathiti was invited by the ASEAN Research Institute of Guangxi University to deliver a 10-minute opening speech at the forum with simultaneous translation. In this speech, he expresses his gratitude for being invited to this event, praising the efforts of the organizers for promoting cross-border collaboration among experts and scholars despite the difficulties caused by the recent COVID-19 pandemic. He emphasized the important role of think tank networks in providing theoretical and practical support, and how AUN could play a role in facilitating such connections at the university and youth level. Dr. Choltis expressed his hopes for increased collaboration with Guangxi University and other Chinese institutions, not just with the AUN but also its large network of member universities and thematic networks.

The forum was attended by a multitude of important policymakers and academics in China. Some of the honorable guests include Liu Zhengdong, Vice-chairman of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Regional Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference; Secretary of CPC Committee of Guangxi University, Mr. Du Kewei, Director General of China Center for International People-to-people Exchange, Ministry of Education, PRC, Mr. Yuan Mindao , Secretary General of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Mr. Wang Liyong, Deputy Director of China Center for Contemporary World Studies, International Department of Central Committee of Communist Party of China and Mr. Fan Zuojun, Vice President of Guangxi University; Dean of International College, Guangxi University.

After the opening ceremony, a keynote speech was delivered before the participants were split into three different simultaneous sessions, each approximately three hours long. Session 1 was about the Joint Research on Poverty Reduction Through Education in Lancang-Mekong. Session 2 discussed the New Western Land-Sea Corridor (WLSC) and Economic Development of Indo-China Peninsula. Finally, Session 3 pertains to the China-ASEAN Digital Economic Cooperation (Digital Finance, Digital Technology). Each session involved fruitful discussion among the participants, all coming from various backgrounds.

The Video Forum served as another step in further cross-border cooperation among policymakers and academics in both China and the ASEAN countries. The involvement of the AUN and its network may help facilitate such efforts, opening opportunities for new nodes of inter-regional collaborative research in the future.