Date: September 14-17, 2008
Location: Hefei, China
Host University: Anhui University
Number of Attendees: 121
Number of Participating Countries and Regions: 16
Number of HEIs attending: 65
Theme: Education and Employability; International Communications; University Culture
The seventh AUPF was held by Anhui University from September 14-17, 2008. This session coincided with the 80th Anniversary of Anhui University. The host invited not only Asian presidents but also counterparts from Europe and America. Over 121 presidents from 65 universities located in 16 countries and regions attended this session to have discussions centering on “Education and Employability; International Communications; University Culture” as well as the development and cooperation of higher education against the backdrop of economic globalization. The Anhui Provincial Government attached great importance to this session. Mr. Xie Guangxiang spoke at the opening ceremony on behalf of the government to welcome all of the participating presidents, and Mr. Cheng Yi, Director-General of the Provincial Department of Education, made a key-note speech. On the evening of the ceremony, Mr. Wang Shanyun, then Governor of Anhui Province, met with the attending presidents and held a banquet to extend to them his welcome.
This session defined the exact number of sessions that had been held so far and clearly stated that the first Asian University Presidents Forum was initiated by universities from China and Thailand in 2002. The Vice Governor Mr. Xie Guangxiang also articulated in his speech that the AUPF started in 2002. When Srinakharinwirot University held the 2002 session, the forum was named the Presidents Conference of Sino-Thai Higher Education Institutions. This conference, the prototype and predecessor of the AUPF, was initiated by four universities from both China and Thailand (Guangdong University of Foreign Studies and Chaoshan College of China and Srinakharinwirot University and Siam University of Thailand). The Conference was officially named the “Asian University Presidents Forum” in 2003 when Guangdong University of Foreign Studies acted as the host. To honor the legacy of the AUPF, the 2008 session clearly defined the Presidents Conference of Sino-Thai Higher Education Institutions as the predecessor and first session of the AUPF.
In addition, the 2008 session formally determined the logo and flag of the forum. The flag handover ceremony was solemn and gave a sense of mission and responsibility to the next hosts.
A creative measure was taken at this session where a “Dialogue of Presidents” and parallel discussion session were added in addition to the traditional key-note speeches.