The University of Helsinki strengthens collaboration in Asia

Some 80 Rectors of Asian and European universities exchanged ideas on relevant trends on higher education in a conference promoting academic networking and collaboration.

Rector Thomas Wilhelmsson

Education has been included on the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) agenda since the 6th Summit, held in 2006 in Helsinki. The collaboration between European and Asian universities is anticipated to contribute to defining the role higher education plays in a globalised society.

– The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) considers education central for the development of the individual, says ASEF Executive Director, Ambassador Dominique Girard.

The second ASEM Rectors’ Conference – held in Seoul on Oct 26-27 – aimed at improving institutional exchange and academic cooperation between universities in the 46 ASEM member countries. The conference prepared recommendations for the upcoming Asia-Europe Meeting of Ministers for Education, to be held in Copenhagen in May 2011.

According to Thomas Wilhelmsson, the Rector of the University of Helsinki, ASEM has already significantly promoted Asia-Europe collaboration and networking of academic institutions. Also its relevance concerning collaboration in research is on the increase.

– The best Asian universities are heading to the very top. Thus it is important to foster and further strengthen the relations to them, says Rector Wilhelmsson.

Especially Chinese universities are central partners in Asian networks of the University.

– Participating in the ASEM Rectors’ Conference has further promoted our partnerships in Asia. We have recently signed an extensive agreement with the largest private university in South-Korea, Rector Wilhelmsson adds.

– Asian universities weigh rankings and thus esteem the University of Helsinki. We are considered worthy of collaboration.

Text: Milla Karvonen
Photo: Veikko Somerpuro

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