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No Easy Answers on Protection of AI Data Rights, Webinar by HBS and APRU Shows
On June 15, a webinar held jointly by the Hong Kong office of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung (HBS) and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), a consortium of leading research universities in 19 economies of the Pacific Rim, highlighted the complexity of data rights for citizens and users, with risks deriving from both under-regulation and over-regulation of AI applications. The webinar held under the theme Protection of Data Rights for Citizens and Users completed a joint hbs-APRU series consisting of three webinars on regulating AI. The series came against the backdrop of ever more AI-based systems leaving the laboratory stage and entering our everyday lives. While AI enables private sector enterprises and governments to collect, store, access, and analyse data that influence crucial aspects of life, the challenge for regulators is to strike a balance between data rights of users and the rights for enterprises and governments to make use of AI to improve their services. The webinar’s three speakers representing an NGO network, academia and the private sector explained that the fair use of personal data should be protected while abusive manipulation and surveillance should be limited. Conversely, regulators should leave reasonable room for robust innovation and effective business strategies and facilitate effective operation of government bureaus to deliver public services. “We not only talk about the use of personal data but also a broader range of fundamental rights, such as rights to social protection, non-discrimination and freedom of expression,” said Sarah Chander, Senior Policy Adviser at European Digital Rights (EDRi), a Brussels-based advocacy group leading the work on AI policy and specifically the EU AI Act. “Besides these rights in an individual sense, we have also been looking into AI systems’ impact on our society, impact on broader forms of marginalization, potential invasiveness, as well as economic and social justice, and the starting point of our talks with the different stakeholders is the question of how we can empower the people in this context,” she added. M. Jae Moon, Underwood Distinguished Professor and Director of the Institute for Future Government at Yonsei University, whose research focuses on digital government, explained that governments are increasingly driven to implement AI systems by their desire to improve evidence-based policy decision-making. “The availability of personal data is very important to make good decisions for public interest, and, of course, privacy protection and data security should always be ensured,” Moon said. “The citizens, for their part, are increasingly demanding customized and targeted public services, and the balancing of these two sides’ demands requires good social consensus,” he added. Moon went on to emphasize that citizens after consenting to the use of their private data by the government should be able to track the data usage while also being able to withdraw their consent. Sankha Som, Chief Innovation Evangelist of Tata Consultancy Services, explained that the terms Big Data and AI are often intertwined despite describing very different things. According to Som, Big Data is the ability to manage the input side of AI and drawing insights from the data whereas AI is about predictions and decision-making. “If you look at how AI systems are built today, there are several different Big Data approaches used on the input side, but there are also processing steps such as data labelling which are AI specific; and many issues related to AI actually come from the these processing steps,” Som said. “Biases can, intentionally or unintentionally, cause long-term harm to individuals and groups, and they can creep into these processes, so it will not only take regulation on use of input data but also on end use, while at the same time complying with enterprise specific policies,” he added. The webinar was moderated by Dr. Axel Harneit-Sievers, Director, Heinrich Böll Stiftung Hong Kong Office. The series’ previous two webinars were held in May under the themes Risk-based Approach of AI Regulation and Explainable AI. More information Listen to the recording here. Find out more about the webinar series here. Contact Us Lucia Siu Programme Manager, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Hong Kong, Asia | Global Dialogue Email: Lucia.Siu [at] hk.boell.org Christina Schönleber Senior Director, Policy and Research Programs, APRU Email: policyprograms [at] apru.org
June 27, 2022
APRU Global Sustainability: Waste & The City Seminar Course Helps Graduate Students Shape Green Leadership Concepts
APRU successfully concluded its APRU Global Sustainability: Waste & The City seminar course, providing APRU graduate students an opportunity to gain insights how industry and academic leaders from around the world work with key stakeholders in implementing sustainability in their organizations. Delivered via videoconferencing in February-May in a seminar-lecture/ student peer-to-peer session mix, the course investigated a range of topics related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG), Environmental, Social, Corporate Governance (ESG), the linear/circular economy, and urban development. The course was a collaboration between Nanyang Technological University Singapore; the APRU Sustainable Cities & Landscapes Program (led by University of Oregon); and the APRU Sustainable Waste Management Program (led by Korea University). Its format has been closely aligned with the APRU Global Health Distance Education Courses that have been running very successfully for over five years. “As shared in the class, we know that more people want businesses to take concrete actions to address climate change, with the rise of eco-awakening starting to push leaders and organizations to move rapidly toward environmentally sustainable business outcomes,” said Amit Midha, Dell Technologies’s President Asia Pacific, one of the industry expert speakers participating in the course. “Indeed, sustainability and the impact it must have for generations to come is a topic I get often asked about by my children,” he added. Other industry expert speakers were Kirsty Salmon, Vice President Advanced Bio and Physical Sciences for Low Carbon Energy at BP; Clint Navales, P&G’s VP Communications Asia Pacific; and Seung Jin Kim, Project Sourcing and Development Lead of Alliance to End Plastic Waste. “It will take a multi-stakeholder approach to address global challenges such as the circular economy,” said Salmon. She shared that “bp’s ambition is to become a net zero energy company by 2050 or sooner, and to help the world to do the same. This can only happen by working with current and future stakeholders, suppliers, consumers and policy-makers to make this happen”. Subject experts from within APRU included David Wardle, NTU Professor and Co-Chair APRU Sustainable Waste Management; Yekang Ko, University of Oregon Professor and Director of the APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Program; and Yong Sik OK, Korea University Professor and Director of the APRU Sustainable Waste Management Program. Student feedback about the course was very good specifically highlighting the valuable learning experience it offers participants. Academic lead for the development and implementation of the course was provided by Sierin Lim, Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Global Partnerships at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Lim stressed the importance of students across all disciplines gaining green knowledge through active discussions as part of their studies. “Our course aims to equip students with not only the knowledge on sustainability but also the thinking process and implementation in the industry. Offering this course within an international platform such as that on the APRU provides the students with the opportunity to hone their analytical and intercultural communication skills. We are looking forward to develop the course together with our partner universities for the next cohort to bring in new perspectives on sustainability,” Lim said. Contact the APRU Program Team (programs@apru.org) if you are interested to bring your students to the next iteration of the course.
May 20, 2022
APRU Supports Collaborations with UNFCCC University Partnership Programme, Actively Develops Member Information Sessions
The Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) has supported the development of two successful information sessions to promote the UNFCCC University Partnership Programme and explore the possibility of developing further engagement sessions with its members. The UNFCCC University Partnership Programme, launched at the United Nations Climate Dialogues 2020 to strengthen collaboration between the UNFCCC and research institutions, aims to address knowledge gaps that remain a critical barrier to countries implementing climate change adaptation measures. The two APRU information sessions were hosted by the University of Auckland and UNSW Sydney. Attending academics represented a wide range of research areas, including Environmental Law, Science, Maori Studies, Climate, Urban Planning and Architecture. “The UNFCCC University Partnership Programme offers students the unique opportunity to partner with UN agencies and regional partners to conduct a specific capstone or Master’s project that will fill identified knowledge gaps in the region on key sustainability issues,” said Professor Leanne Piggott, Director of Experience, in the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Education and Student Experience Portfolio at UNSW. “Not only will this enhance the scientific and professional capacity of students, but the projects will also provide tangible outputs addressing needs of local and regional partners,” she added. All attendees expressed their keenness to be kept in the loop and involved in discussions going forward. “The UNFCCC University Partnership Program allows schools to develop strong collaboration with UNFCCC, other UN agencies and regional partners to gain a better understanding of research needs. This new knowledge will further inform and ultimately support future research to address regional climate change adaptation needs’ emphazised Deborah McAllister, Interim Deputy Director, International Partnerships & Services at the University of Auckland the multifaceted benefits of such a collaboration. University partners are welcome to share proposal ideas with the UNFCCC University Partnership Programme in the Asia Pacific region. These will be reviewed by the UNFCCC team with the aim to co-develop the project proposal, including definition of target users, and identification of expert organisations to involve in the defining of expected outputs. There are three key areas of focus that a university partner can develop a proposal to support, including: 1. Closing knowledge gaps under the Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative 2. Formulation and implementation of National Adaptation Plans 3. UNFCCC Thematic Work areas, including biodiversity, ecosystems and water resources, human settlements, oceans, health, private sector initiative, gender sensitive approaches, local indigenous and traditional knowledge. Find out more information about the UNFCCC University Partnership Programme here. Contact the APRU Program team (programs@apru.org) if you are interested to develop an information sharing session.
April 29, 2022
Tec News: Tec Professors, in a Global Mentoring Project for Women
Original post on Tec News Written by: Mónica Torres Five Tec de Monterrey’s professors were selected to participate in a mentoring program of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) to support the empowerment of aspiring women leaders. The School of Engineering and Sciences (EIC) and the School of Medicine and Health Sciences (EMCS) teachers joined the Asia-Pacific Women in Leadership (APWiL) Mentoring Program. The five representatives have had the opportunity to work with mentors and people who receive mentoring via Zoom, and who work in more than 60 universities belonging to APRU. “At Tec de Monterrey, we are very proud to participate in what is considered the first formal version of the program,” said Adriana Rojas, leader of Institutional Networks and Alliances at the Center for the Recognition of Human Dignity. As a common goal, the program seeks to provide international and intercultural opportunities for the professional growth and development of women. More than an effort to combat gender inequality From the School of Engineering and Sciences (EIC), participating in this initiative: María Ileana Ruiz Luz María Martínez. On the other hand, from the School of Medicine and Health Sciences (EMCS): Gabriela María Ruiz Nancy de los Ángeles Segura Silvia Lorraine Montes. In the academic and labor world, the opportunity gap is one of the most visible challenges that continue blocking the progress and participation of women in their jobs, explained Dr. María Ileana Ruiz. “As a woman, we cannot question whether or not we are capable of doing something, we have to do it and, usually, we have to achieve it without showing any weakness,” reflected Ruiz. According to the APRU, women from universities in the Pacific Rim have made relatively little progress in gaining access to leadership positions in the last 5 years, despite the presence of institutional initiatives. “On the participation of women in different professional areas, we swept, but it is in leadership competitions where we still see a panorama dominated by men,” explained Professor Silvia Montes. The APWiL pretends to promote change by taking into consideration the several contexts in which this search for gender equity in universities takes place. “We start by seeing what makes us different, but then we realize what unites us, and in the end, we understand that we are part of the same community,” Rojas said. Meet the Tec women who took the challenge To be part of this ongoing initiative, which began in October 2021 and intends to conclude in September 2022, the five teachers from the areas of Engineering and Medicine were invited to apply. These professors joined the experience as part of the 94 participants from 26 institutions that were involved, a noticeable increase from the pilot in 2020, which registered 30 participants from 10 institutions. “Being selected is a distinction. They value your professional career, but also that you can transmit knowledge, strategies, resources, and support to other professors and researchers”, assured Dr. Gabriela Ruíz. After being designated as mentors, these Tec women were paired with different professionals at universities around the world, from the United States to Australia. “Being part of this program as a mentor is a challenge and satisfaction. I have the honor of having two mentees and I am learning a lot from them”, shares Dr. Nancy de los Ángeles. Human relationships that go for long While the teachers have highlighted the honor of being part of this APRU initiative, most of them agree that the real gift of this experience was the professional and personal relationships they formed. “My experience was with a professional in the area of ​​psychology with whom I was amazed. Because of her training, I thought that she should teach me, but we learned together,” said Dr. María Ileana Ruiz. Rojas highlights that, with this mentoring initiative, women can demonstrate how there are different avenues to collaborate on gender equality throughout the world and based on common concerns. “I had the opportunity to meet a teacher from Korea who started a YouTube channel during the pandemic to teach her children to read in a fun way,” said teacher Silvia Montes. “Not only was she an excellent academic, but she cared about supporting other working moms, and it’s these kinds of experiences that made me realize I wasn’t alone,” she reflected. Being able to collaborate with colleagues and students from different parts of the world working for equality and professional growth is a vision shared by Tec mentors for the future of this initiative. “If they find the opportunity to participate in this type of program, I think it is always good to give something back to the community that we have benefited from,” exhorts Dr. Gabriela. “I think the answer to the current environment is these kinds of activities that allow us to get closer to and between women. We can change what we are experiencing, this is my way of fighting”, concluded María Ileana.
May 4, 2022
UBC News: 2 UBC Esports undergrads win industry research scholarships
Original post on UBC News Gamers often get a bad rap. Critics argue that online gaming is a time waster, exclusionary and male-dominated, even leading to aggression and addiction. In practice, though, virtual games and tournaments connect people across the globe over shared interests, says Zachary McKay, Co-President of UBC Esports Association, an initiative and club. With the motto “where gamers meet UBC,” it is the university’s largest club with nearly 4,000 members, compared to others which average in the hundreds or dozens. UBC Esports aims to build a community of students with no borders, and engage with colleagues and peers worldwide through online video game competitions, social events, tournaments, celebrity meet-ups and their crown jewel, the Legion Lounge where students can play games on campus. Not only does the club want to reverse negative perceptions and attract new people from all walks of life, it is investing in its student members. Case in point: the club and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) recently awarded scholarships to two UBC students through a research paper competition. The Legion Lounge is the crown jewel of the UBC Esports Association and a place for members of the UBC community to connect and play games on campus (video: UBC Esports Association) “The competition is about supporting Esports as an academic area of study, and encouraging students to have innovative and quality research in the field, as well as promote long-term investment in Esports research to enrich students’ and universities’ resources in an emerging field,” says Matthew Tan, UBC Athletics and Recreation Associate Director of Partnerships, and Senator at UBC Vancouver Senate and UBC Council of Senates. Tan collaborates regularly with UBC Esports. At the 2021 APRU Student Esports Paper Competition and Awards, McKay came in first for his piece on Business Models for the Esports Industry, taking home a USD $3,000 scholarship. He is in a fifth and final year at UBC, earning a philosophy degree with a minor in creative writing. Another undergraduate, Kaden MacKay, also won USD $3,000 for first place in the category Esports for Social Good, “writing about different countries and cultures,” MacKay says. “For example, Pakistan winning the biggest tournament ever held: these success stories show that you can’t judge anyone as an Esports player by where they come from – it’s just so diverse.” A club finance executive, MacKay is in year two at UBC, focusing on cognitive systems. Both winning papers will be published in the International Journal of Esports. The students plan to use the scholarship money to pay for university tuition and, because he is in his last term, McKay will use $1,000 of his winnings to establish the first UBC Esports leadership award. UBC Esports is a non-profit, volunteer, student-led organization under the UBC Alma Mater Society umbrella. The club runs as seamlessly as a well-oiled corporate enterprise. And anyone who thinks gamers might be lacking in smarts and motivation need only listen to McKay detail the start-up structure model, workings of its HR department and foundational principles in a manner far more articulate than many CEOs twice his age. Founded 11 years ago, today UBC Esports is internationally recognized – and popular. More than 1,000 entrants have signed up so far for June’s upcoming Smash Tournament “Battle of BC 4,” for example. Club executives of the UBC Esports Association, led by Co-Presidents Zach McKay and Branson Chan, at the UBC Esports Icebreaker event held in person (photo: UBC Esports Association, October 2021) Members can get involved as much, or as little, as they like, McKay says. The action ranges from laidback and leisurely to competitive tournaments in a high-stakes environment, and no prior experience is necessary. The only agenda is getting people excited about and enjoying video games, trying new things and making friends, he says. Some of the most popular games include League of Legends, Valorant and Super Smash Brothers. “We are incredibly approachable,” McKay says. “For myself, I’m not very good at games. I do it for the fun of it. What motivates me is that I’ve been able to make lifelong friendships with people through the club. Our community is really vibrant and the social aspect is a unifying feature.” Busting misconceptions is also part of the club mandate, in particular, leading by example to be diverse, secure and inclusive. Half of the club’s several vice presidents were women in 2021. UBC Esports hosts a women’s night for female-only competitions and boasts a team culture that prioritizes a safe atmosphere for women and marginalized communities. The association also puts on professional development workshops centered on Esports with the goal of preparing students for careers in the video game industry. Topics cover everything from partnerships, project management and event logistics to human resources and graphic design. Prospective students learn more about the UBC Esports Association at their booth on Clubs Day (photo: UBC Esports Association, 2021) APRU decided to get involved when UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Santa Ono first flagged the opportunity back in 2018. Noting the almost 3 billion gamers worldwide, and 2.5 million college and university students likely involved in esports in APRU alone, President Ono voiced his support for UBC to get involved. UBC then became one of 11 founding partners in the APRU Esports Fellowship Initiative, which brought in consultants to advise on what universities could do collectively and individually. An international Esports fellowship and greater support for the club topped the list of recommendations. Along with UBC, founding members of the initiative are Far Eastern Federal University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Keio University, Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore, Tecnológico de Monterrey, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Southern California, University of Washington and Yonsei University. And the movement is growing. Connecting with others from all over the map is at the core, says MacKay. “How rare is it to talk to someone in Chile and Australia at the same time?” he says. “It’s usually very country- or continent-specific, so it’s so cool to do this globally. Everyone who does this is very passionate about what they think Esports can be – and it’s about sharing ideas across the world.” Find out more about the UBC Esports club. Read more about the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU). Read the winning APRU Esports research papers. See the recent Ubyssey feature story on UBC Esports.
March 29, 2022
APRU on UNESCO News: New report “Moving minds: Opportunities and challenges for virtual student mobility in a post-pandemic world”
The UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean has undertaken a study on virtual exchanges and looked at some case studies including the APRU Virtual Student Exchange Program.  Please see more information about the report “Moving minds: Opportunities and challenges for virtual student mobility in a post-pandemic world” below.    Original post on UNESCO The UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (IESALC) launches on 28 February 2022 a major new report entitled “Moving minds: Opportunities and challenges for virtual student mobility in a post-pandemic world”, which addresses how the incredible creativity and innovation shown in higher education during the Covid-19 can be harnessed and further developed so that student mobility becomes possible, not only physically but through virtual modalities. The aim of this report is to ensure that students can continue to benefit from intercultural exchanges through the use of technology. These new forms of learning would make student mobility possible not only face-to-face but also virtually. The report is based on 14 case studies of virtual student mobility that have been implemented by 73 higher education institutions (HEIs) and through partnerships in 38 countries in all regions of the world. Based on the case studies, recommendations are offered to incorporate virtual student mobility as an additional form of student mobility, which can play a key role in reshaping the internationalization of higher education in the post-pandemic landscape. These practical recommendations are addressed to the different groups for whom virtual student mobility should be an important consideration: students themselves; those who develop and implement virtual student mobility (faculty members, staff of international relations offices); decision-makers (HEI leaders, HE alliances, governments); and funders (governments, NGOs). Access the full report here.
February 27, 2022
UC Davis News: APRU, UC Davis and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Launch Second Cohort of Asia-Pacific Women in Leadership Mentoring Program
Original post on UC Davis Global Affairs The University of California, Davis, and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) launched the second cohort of the Asia-Pacific Women in Leadership (APWiL) Mentoring Program, kicking off with 87 participants, nearly three times the number during its pilot year. The program is focused on providing mentoring to aspiring leaders from 25 institutions in the APRU network. Now in its second year, the APRU APWiL Mentoring Program offers leaders—both women and men—at APRU universities an opportunity to grow the pipeline of aspiring women leaders, increase awareness of challenges that aspiring women leaders face within the region, and introduce global and intercultural dimensions to leaders across the APRU network and beyond. The pilot program in 2020-21 served 30 participants from 10 universities. The program is led by co-chairs Sabrina Lin, senior advisor to the president at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), and Joanna Regulska, vice provost and dean of Global Affairs and a professor of gender, sexuality, and women’s studies at UC Davis. Along with Global Affairs at UC Davis and HKUST, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at UC Davis is a co-leader of the initiative. This collaboration is also supported by Jackie Wong, director of network and student programs, and Anya Wong, program officer, from the APRU International Secretariat. “The first APWiL Mentoring Program cohort was filled with wonderful connections between mentors and mentees. Now, with almost triple the number of enthusiastic participants in our 2021-22 cohort, we have a tremendous opportunity to continue forming a lasting collaborative network of women global leaders in academia. It is critical for the empowerment of women across the world to engage in intercultural conversations and recognize the commonality of challenges, but also of great opportunities as showcased by the participants. This program aims to create both formal and informal spaces where meaningful dialogues can take place,” said Regulska. A Framework For Success Jessica Bissett Perea, one of the mentees from the first cohort in 2020-21, chose to participate in the APWiL program to explore opportunities for leadership that could help her in her future pursuits. Her meaningful connections have helped further her understanding of the various leadership structures and practices throughout organizations. “I was extremely fortunate to be paired with an experienced and dynamic mentor, Dr. Yvonne Lim Ai Lian (Health Sciences), Director of International Relations and Professor of Parasitology. Her thoughtful and supportive mentorship and guidance helped me to better appreciate the densities of university leadership styles and how these styles do (or do not) align with Indigenous leadership styles. I am very pleased to report that I have significantly expanded my network of women leaders,” said Perea. Building on the success of the inaugural program, APWiL has the potential this year to influence even more participants like Perea. Organizers look to increased programming to give them ample opportunity to encourage networking and dialogue between mentees and mentors. “The pilot program this past year was well received by the mentors and mentees. I am thrilled to see the tremendous growth in the number of universities supporting the program, and a three-times increase in the number of mentor and mentee participants,” said Lin. “With continued efforts in our matching process and in adding more webinars and networking activities, I look forward to a rewarding experience again this year.” The increased growth within the second cohort led organizers to return to some of the infrastructure used in the planning of the first cohort. The individual matching process used this year to pair mentors and mentees is the same method as last year. They brought back a template for a mentoring agreement, allowing mentees to outline goals to help mentors focus on areas of interest and development. Organizers also took significant learnings from their year of hosting remote workshops. Building on this framework, the APWiL team is already seeing connections form across the globe. “We’re off to a great start,” said Chelsey Hawes, study abroad enrollment and operations officer in Global Affairs and program manager of the APWiL Mentoring Program. “Mentors and mentees have met at least once so far and joined us for our orientation program and first seminar, Women’s Representation in Higher Education in the Pacific Rim, in partnership with the American Council on Education and the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College. During this seminar, we heard from scholars from Australia, Hong Kong, and Malaysia on the commonalities and differences in barriers to women’s advancement in leadership and how each country is addressing or not addressing these barriers.” These partnerships between universities, mentors, mentees, scholars and others are the heart of APWiL. For this program, success is greater than the number of participants and events; success is rooted in connections and the positive impact of forming networks. “It has been a pleasure to work with the APWiL program and to be affiliated with other universities in the U.S. and around the world. I believe in the power of collaborative networks, working together for common goals, and connecting across boundaries for mutual advancement. We have so many commonalities across the globe that can unite us. This program provides women with opportunities to be in community with other scholars from other schools, to be encouraged, and to be equipped with additional tips for success that will contribute to their ability to be change agents within their spaces. When we are engaged in work as an international community, we have a chance to see the world differently, to enhance our understanding, and to be more comprehensive in our own jobs, as we apply the new, and broader world perspectives that programs like APWiL provide,” said Renetta Garrison Tull, vice chancellor of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at UC Davis. To further support the second cohort, APWiL leadership has grown too. Kimberly Bellows, intercultural programs coordinator in Global Affairs, joined the team as the program coordinator for the APWiL Mentoring Program. “I’m very excited to be supporting the APWiL Mentoring Program as it begins its second year,” she said. “From attending the pilot program’s graduation ceremony, I know how impactful the program was on that first cohort, and I’m looking forward to supporting the second cohort’s journey. We’ve heard from current mentors and mentees that their first meetings have gone well, and it’s truly inspiring to see their goals and plans for the coming year.” Carrying The Momentum Forward The success of APWiL continues to spread as its influence extends beyond its participants. Fulfilling its promise of inspiring leadership, the program’s mentors and mentees are having an effect on other connections and communities. “The impact that the program has had on both mentees and mentors is beyond what I could have imagined,” said Hawes. “Following the first cohort, there were mentors and mentees who started women in leadership groups on their own campuses modeled after APWiL, mentees who held networking events and workshops on DEI as it pertains to women’s gender equity at their institution, and a mentor and mentee who formalized the relationship between their two institutions through an agreement where they held a monthly seminar series for folks at both institutions during the fall term.” Time will tell what the 2021-22 cohort will be inspired to develop next. Nearly 90 participants from 25 institutions include six UC Davis faculty and administrators: Cynthia Carter CHING, University of California, Davis (mentor) Jennifer CURTIS, University of California, Davis (mentor) Lisa TELL, University of California, Davis (mentor) Norkamari Shakira BANDOLIN, University of California, Davis (mentee) Christine MCBETH, University of California, Davis (mentee) Cecilia TSU, University of California, Davis (mentee)
February 18, 2022
UCLA News: Building the foundation — and networks — needed to diversify university leadership
Written by Peggy McInerny, Director of Communications, UCLA Original post on UCLA International Institute UCLA participants in the APRU Asia Pacific Women in Leadership Mentorship Program. Top row, from left: Mentors Cindy Fan, Christine Dunkel Schetter, Victoria Sork and Janina Montero. Bottom row, from left: UCLA mentees Derjung Mimi Tarn, Margaret Peters and Yuen Huo. (Photos:UCLA or provided by subject. Janina Montero photo by Jintak Han/ Daily Bruin. Graphic courtesy of APWiL/ APRU.) “The Asia Pacific Women in Leadership (APWiL) Mentoring Program has been invaluable for me,” says Derjung Mimi Tarn, M.D., professor of family medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “The program created a safe space to discuss struggles and successes that are pertinent to women, and provided a wonderful opportunity to learn from prominent female leaders. Unfortunately, the problems faced by women in academic medicine are not isolated to one university or country, but are shared globally,” added the doctor, who also has a Ph.D. in health services. “This mentoring program gave me the opportunity to develop a global support network, to learn about the unique challenges of those from different countries and cultures and to reflect on how to build on the experiences of others in my own leadership roles.” Tarn was one of three UCLA representatives to participate in the initial APWiL Mentoring Program pilot year (2020–21), which paired 15 mentors with 15 mentees at 10 of the 61 member universities of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU).* Margaret Peters, associate professor of political science at UCLA and a member of the current APWiL cohort, comments, “I am greatly enjoying working with my mentor, Mark Edele, who is at the University of Melbourne [Hansen Professor of History and deputy associate dean, faculty of the arts]. He has provided great advice and it is very interesting to learn how different universities function around the world.” APRU, UCLA and APWiL APRU is a network of leading research universities located on both sides of the Pacific that facilitates the exchange of ideas and collaborative research to devise effective solutions to the challenges of the 21st century. UCLA is a founding and active member of APRU. Chancellor Gene Block is the current APRU chair, Vice Provost for International Studies and Global Engagement Cindy Fan is former co-chair of its International Policy Advisory Committee and in 2019, UCLA hosted the 23rd APRU Annual Presidents’ Meeting as part of its Centennial Celebration on campus. APWil Co-Chair Joanna Regulska. (Photo: UC Davis.) The APWiL Mentoring Program was created in 2020 as part of a larger strategy to close the gender gap and give diversity efforts greater traction across APRU member institutions. The program is co-chaired by Joanna Regulska, vice provost and dean of global affairs at UC Davis, and Sabrina Lin, Ph.D., senior advisor to the president of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), former HKUST vice president for institutional advancement and a veteran of the IT industry. (See a recent op-ed by the co-chairs on the impact of the pandemic on women in academia.) Day-to-day program operations are managed by Kimberly Bellows and Chelsey Hawes of UC Davis Global Affairs. APWil Co-Chair Sabrina Lin. (Photo courtesy of APWiL/APRU.) “I am inspired by the conversation among women of APRU member institutions about the challenges we face, but more importantly, by the opportunity to engage in intercultural and collective effort to support women’s leadership in our institutions,” said Regulska. “Advancing women’s empowerment and global engagement are my two most critical commitments, and this program offers both. The fact that just in the second year of the program existence we have tripled participation speaks volumes to the need for such global conversations, but also interest on the part of women and the commitment of their institutions to advance women’s leadership,” she added. UCLA Vice Provost Fan and Christine Dunkel Schetter, distinguished professor of psychology and psychiatry and associate vice chancellor of faculty development at UCLA, participated as mentors during the program’s pilot year. Fan worked with Surabhi Chopra, associate professor of law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who had worked as an attorney in nonprofit organizations before starting an academic career. “I can honestly say that, without the many mentors in my professional life, both men and women, I would not have aspired to senior leadership in academia,” said Fan at a graduation ceremony for the first APWiL cohort. “I found that listening is the most important criterion in the mentor’s job description. … [And] I’ve found that the most important experiences that I have shared are my own failures. I’ve learned so much from false starts, mistakes and setbacks.” Graphic courtesy of APWil/ APRU. Recognizing the difficulties of gaining traction In remarks to the first cohort of APWiL mentees last fall,** Dawn Freshwater, vice chancellor of the University of Auckland (New Zealand), highlighted the lack of improvement in the number of women university leaders at APRU member institutions in the preceding half-decade (see “2019 APRU Gender Gap Report”). In a similar vein, Fan pointed to findings from a 2017 publication of the American Council on Education, which documented that women have earned more than 50 percent of all doctoral degrees in the U.S. since 2006, but as of 2015, held only 32 percent of full professorships in U.S. degree-granting institutions. University of Auckland Vice Chancellor Dawn Freshwater. (Photo: University of Auckland.) Freshwater — like Fan, a first-generation college graduate who became a university leader — stressed the importance of informal leadership for changing organizational culture. “[I]n my experience, policies are one thing… but their existence alone isn’t enough. Policies must be implemented by their leaders’ commitment to their purpose and they can only be successful where there is an environment and organizational culture that supports them. “[W]hat I have witnessed and experienced is that good intention without meaningful interaction and meaningful engagement across the whole of the institution is irrelevant. So, for me, I focus as a leader on building culture.” Effecting change requires consistent focus, she emphasized. Gender equity in universities is more imperative than ever, given the impacts of the global coronavirus pandemic on young female academics, said Freshwater. “As leaders we must act to ensure careers are not permanently scarred by COVID-19 disruptions. We know that early-stage female researchers are some of the most seriously impacted members of our university communities as a result of the pandemic. “Their work has had to be put on hold as lockdowns forced them home and to full-time childcare and home responsibilities. Research output for women has… decreased, especially for women with children under the age of five, and systemic racism faced by women of color has worsened.” Whether universities are responding to the gender and equity gap, the climate crisis or the pandemic, Freshwater said, “Diverse and inclusive leadership holds the key to meeting these challenges for the future. “This means women. It means women of color. It means young women. It means women with disability. It means people of rainbow communities. It means university leadership within our universities must reflect society.” APWiL co-chair Sabrina Lin identified another key component in advancing women into university leadership: male allies. “Without the advocacy of our male allies, I think it would be very difficult to improve diversity overall,” she said. UCLA participants weigh in on the challenges As APWiL Co-Chair Regulska noted, the mentoring program has tripled in size in its second year, with 87 participants across 26 APRU member universities. UCLA participants in the 2021–22 cohort include mentees Margaret Peters and Yuen Huo, professor of psychology; and mentors Janina Montero, vice chancellor-student affairs emerita, and Victoria Sork, distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and former dean of life sciences. Several of these participants, together with Vice Provost Fan and Dr. Derjung Mimi Tarn of the program’s first year, shared their thoughts on some of the priorities identified by Freshwater and Lin. APWiL held an orientation for its second cohort of mentors and mentees in early November 2021. Graphic courtesy of APWiL/ APRU. The pandemic has hit women academics in medicine particularly hard, said Tarn. “Female researchers have definitely been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Women have had more work-life conflicts than men, and more are suffering from depression. “Among physicians, gender disparities in mental health have increased. Without immediate intervention to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on these young researchers, many who would otherwise have been successful will end up leaving academia.” Peters concurred, “This is a very important issue right now for all academic parents, but especially women, upon whom the burden of caregiving usually falls. “It is great that UCLA is providing more funding and providing clock extensions, but I think more needs to be done,” she continued. “I constantly hear about faculty who are thinking about leaving the profession because they are burned out, having had little time for research. I think the university should think about providing additional sabbaticals for those who have suffered a disproportionate impact due to their care duties during the pandemic.” On the need for male allies, Tarn remarked of her experience in medical academia, “I can’t say enough about them. They are critical to improving diversity and gender equity. My strongest and most effective supporters have been male faculty members who stood up for me and supported me during my career. “I have had strong female allies as well, but often other men were more receptive to the thoughts and opinions of other men [i.e., male allies]. Without these supportive men, I would likely have left academics early in my career.” Huo, a current program mentee, agreed. “This effort should not be a ‘woman only’ issue. Initiatives and policies to support women can be most successful if people at the institution — men and women — work to change norms. “What resonated with me is hearing UBC President Santa Ono (a male ally) mention that men have historically nominated each other for awards and positions and that in his TED talk, he started the hashtag #nominateher to encourage both men and women to promote talented women in higher education. I think that’s an exciting movement.” (President and Vice Chancellor of the University of British Columbia, Ono is the current APWiL presidential champion.) Janina Montero, whose long and distinguished career in student affairs included the creation and management of enduring mentorship programs, noted that one of her greatest mentors was a male professor. “I don’t see women as being the only ones who can provide career guidance and a push to other women. But we have more direct experience — we’re the ones that bear the children, if you will — and that affects the way we do our work,” she commented. “Women who have families or who have both a job and a set of personal responsibilities — there’s a degree of juggling, really wrestling with more than juggling, those multiple demands. “I feel it’s important for older women like me to engage with professional women going through this kind of questioning: ‘How do I take the next step?’ ‘Do you juggle?’ ‘How do you juggle? ‘How do you view particular opportunities?’ How do you seek particular opportunities?’ In its second year, the APWiL Mentoring Program began offering online seminars to current and past program participants and created a private website where they can interact and share information. Gracphic courtesy of APWiL/ APRU. With respect to organizational culture, former UCLA mentee Tarn reflected, “Informal leaders can be instrumental in cultivating supporting environments. Women need trusted informal leaders who they can approach for support and advice.” Montero commented, “I think there has been progress in organizational culture, but I think we all need to be thinking in more inclusive ways. For example, if there are no women or no people of color applying for a position, ‘Nobody applied’ is no longer the answer. “I go back to the structural reality. What do you want your hiring pools to look like? What opportunities do you give your faculty? Who are you giving opportunity to, in terms of conferences, committee work and exposure? Are you paying attention that if today you give it to Peter, are you going to be sure to give it to Sally or Molly the next time? Montero stressed that to be effective, a commitment to equity and diversity must be present at all levels of management of a university — “not only among the obvious leadership, but also among boards and trustees. If they don’t see the value in these goals, that will permeate the pyramid and the culture. “Diversity is never a one-way street. It’s stunning how much a diversity of voices — especially if you give people the opportunity not to be there just as a potted plant, but to contribute — produces an outcome that is infinitely better than a more homogeneous approach.” * APRU member universities that participated in the pilot year were the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Keio University (Japan), Osaka University (Japan), University of British Columbia (Canada), UC Davis (USA), UCLA (USA), University of Malaya (Malaysia), University of New South Wales (Australia) and University of Sydney (Australia). ** To view the video of the pilot program graduation ceremony, copy and paste this link into your web browser: https://bit.ly/3JrGPcv. Read the APRU article on the second cohort of the APWiL Mentoring Program here.
February 18, 2022
APRU on SCMP: Covid-19 wrecks exchange programme plans, as record low number of Hong Kong university students went overseas in last academic year
Written by William Yiu Original post on South China Morning Post Students walk past Widener Library at Harvard University in 2019. Photo: AP A record low of only 280 Hong Kong university students went on exchange programmes overseas or to mainland China in the last academic year, as Covid-19 travel restrictions wrecked plans for these much sought-after trips. That was 95 per cent fewer than the 5,391 students who spent time away in 2019-20 and the record high of nearly 6,700 in 2018-19. Although Hong Kong universities worked with institutions elsewhere to provide virtual exchange programmes, students said these paled in comparison with visiting a new destination and getting to know the people and culture there. A board at Hong Kong International Airport shows flights being cancelled in January. Photo: Dickson Lee Some universities have begun restarting their exchange trips, with more students likely to go this year even though strict travel restrictions remain. The latest figures for exchange students were announced in December by the University Grants Committee, which funds public institutions of higher education. Hong Kong universities have been expanding opportunities for undergraduates to spend a semester or a full academic year at another university, while continuing to pay the local tuition fee. Students apply to universities all over the world, especially in the United States, Britain, Japan and mainland China, which have exchange partnerships with local institutions. For many, the time away allows them to learn to be more independent, improve their language proficiency, make new friends and experience the culture of the place they are visiting. But the pandemic has continued to disrupt travel for everyone since 2020, particularly with Hong Kong’s strict requirement for arrivals from most places to undergo 21 days of quarantine. Most universities switched to virtual exchange programmes, which meant students remained in Hong Kong but attended online lectures and seminars at institutions elsewhere. Various other activities on culture, social skills, leadership and career development enabled them to make friends despite being separated by long distances. Chinese University (CUHK) said 1,400 of its undergraduates enrolled in its Virtual Student Exchange programme, organised since August 2020 and involving 61 institutions belonging to the Association of Pacific Rim Universities. Chinese University says 1,400 of its undergraduates have enrolled for its Virtual Student Exchange programme. Photo: Winson Wong In an opinion piece published in the Post last month, CUHK president Rocky Tuan Sung-chi said the virtual programme had the potential to make global education accessible to anyone with an internet connection, “rather than merely to those privileged few with financial means to jump on a plane and spend up to a year in a foreign land”. Competition is keen for exchange trips, as applicants must have a good academic track record and meet the language requirements at the universities they hope to go to. Not everyone can afford an exchange either. Students have to cover the cost of their air tickets, accommodation, meals, insurance and visa fees themselves. For those who choose universities in the US, the most expensive choice, this can add up to about HK$100,000 (US$12,840) per semester. Kristen Cheung, a fourth-year English major at CUHK, considered herself fortunate enough to attend a two-week exchange programme at Yale University in the US in 2020, before it was suspended because of Covid-19. She did not think a virtual programme could compare. “Students joining an exchange programme aim not only to study, but also to visit the host country and get to know people from different backgrounds. All these experiences cannot be provided in a virtual programme,” she said. Cheung said some students she knew who joined the virtual programme did so only to polish their resume and were not serious during the online classes. Residents in Nagoya, Japan. The country is among popular destinations for students wishing to go on exchange programmes overseas. Photo: Kyodo Alex Lau, a second-year sociology major at CUHK, took part in a two-month summer virtual exchange programme with a Japanese university and had mixed feelings about it. There were online lectures twice a week, from 11am to 3pm, with optional cultural activities in small group sessions. He said the programme helped him meet more people from Taiwan, mainland China, North America and Japan, but he missed out on experiencing the country and the social environment. “If you just want to get to know people from different places and join something for free, you could go for it,” he said. Now he is counting on travelling to Britain next year for an exchange programme at University College London, so that he can soak up the atmosphere and join in various activities. Some universities said their students were beginning to make plans for exchange trips this year. A spokesman for Education University said fully vaccinated students could go on these trips, but it would still offer virtual exchange programmes that included online immersion programmes, online courses, seminars and cultural exchange activities. For its students preparing to teach English and Chinese language, attending a course overseas or on the mainland was compulsory to help them improve their language proficiency and learn about the culture and education system there. The University of Science and Technology and Lingnan University said they had resumed sending students on exchange programmes since the second term this year. Both also offer virtual programmes as an alternative. City University also said it had resumed the physical programme in the 2020-21 academic year “under safe conditions”. Polytechnic University said its students were able to go on exchange trips to limited destinations such as the mainland, Australia or New Zealand during the earlier stages of the pandemic, or opt for the virtual programme.
February 20, 2022
APRU on HKMB: Digital games exercise minds
Original post on HKMB “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players,” wrote William Shakespeare in As You Like It. Substitute “screen” for stage and that quote remains as apt four centuries after the play’s first performance. The interplay between performance and reality was on global display at the Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum (DELF) hosted by Cyberport in Hong Kong in December. Appropriately for the digital 21st century, the physical show was held in parallel in three centres, with simultaneous events in Hong Kong as well as Los Angeles in California and Vancouver, Canada. Play to learn Organised by APRU (the Association of Pacific Rim Universities), which brings together tertiary education institutions in technology hotspots such as California and Hong Kong, Metagame Conference 2021 emphasised how electronic games and e-sports are boosting education and playing a growing role in solving real-world issues such as emissions-reduction and conservation. “We are all getting used to new ways of communicating in the metaverse,” Sherman Cheng, APRU CFO said, explaining the three-cities format. “We have virtual conferences, meetings and tournaments in the morning, afternoon and evening, with people around the world. In the APRU Senior International Leaders’ Week held in October, we worked with the University of Sydney to create a spatial chat space for networking at the end of each day.” APRU has three members in Hong Kong – the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), University of Hong Kong (HKU) and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). “Hong Kong being an education centre was definitely one of the key factors for APRU in deciding on the location for our second MetaGame Conference,” Mr Cheng said. “Our first one last year was also in Hong Kong. But more importantly, as a strategic partner of Cyberport and having APRU’s International University Centre opened here in 2021, APRU wants to support and work with Cyberport to create greater impact.” Games business Mr Cheng explained that many universities have incorporated games into their learning – known as gamification – as well as offering courses in games production. “USC Games at the University of Southern California – an APRU member – has one of North America’s top games undergraduate programmes and is paying homage to gaming trailblazer Gerald ‘Jerry’ Lawson by establishing an academic endowment in his name. Lawson was a Black engineer who led the design of one of the earliest game consoles.” Giving an example of using games for the greater good, Mr Cheng pointed to the University of Washington (an APRU member in Seattle), which is participating in the Campus Conservation Nationals, a competition to conserve energy and water on campus. “The competition is part of a gamification trend – using game mechanics to engage people to achieve non-game goals. [The university] views it as education outside the classroom, a catalyst that will change how students think about their lifestyles.” Giving an example from Asia, he referenced the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine of the National University of Singapore (also an APRU member), which has created an innovation called HEALING, or Health Economics Awareness LearnING, a technology-enhanced simulation game that educates medical students on the importance of healthcare economics. “The main pedagogy in this game utilises information and knowledge in healthcare spending, including the cost of investigations and treatments as well as methods of financing hospital bills, to train players on what constitutes optimal cost-efficient clinical care to patients,” Mr Cheng said. “Through this learning tool, learners are exposed to diverse clinical scenarios involving patients of various demographic profiles which require their decision-making on the ordering of investigations and management procedures.” Turning to Hong Kong, he said: “HKU’s Department of Computer Science offers a course on Computer Game Design and Programming. This course introduces the concepts and techniques for computer game design and development. Topics include game history and genres, game design process, game engine, audio and visual design, 2D and 3D graphics, physics, optimisation, camera, network, artificial intelligence and user interface design. Students participate in group projects to gain hands-on experience in using common game engines in the market.” Multitasking Other examples include CUHK’s Computer Game Development and Video Game and Play Culture courses. Such courses in computer game development touch on many facets of computer science, including computer graphics, artificial intelligence, algorithms, networking, human-computer interaction, music and sound, allowing students to get a hands-on experience in designing and implementing real-world computer games. HKUST offers a similar computer game development course. Mr Cheng said that the Playing for the Planet Alliance, facilitated by UNEP – the United Nations Environment Programme – is a good example of how business and industry can support conservation and wildlife protection through game design. “The Playing for the Planet Alliance was launched during the Climate Summit at the UN Headquarters in New York. In total, the members of the alliance (including the biggest gaming companies) have the ability to reach more than 1 billion video game players. In joining the alliance, members have made commitments ranging from integrating green activations in games, reducing their emissions, and supporting the global environmental agenda through initiatives ranging from planting millions of trees to reducing plastic in their products. “Our speaker at the APRU MetaGame Conference, Sam Barrett, Chief of Youth, Education and Advocacy Unit, Ecosystems Division, with UNEP, founded the Playing for the Planet Alliance as a collaboration with the video gaming industry to nudge gamers’ behaviour and push the industry to use cleaner energy.”
February 18, 2022
APRU on Nikkei: COVID has made a bad situation worse for women academics
Written by Joanna Regulska and Sabrina Lin Original post on Nikkei COVID-19 has added new challenges for women.   © AP Joanna Regulska is co-chair of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities’ Women in Leadership (APRU APWiL) Program and vice-provost and dean of global affairs, professor of gender, sexuality and women’s studies, University of California, Davis. Sabrina Lin is co-chair, APRU APWiL, and senior adviser to president of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. COVID-19 has brought with it the blurring of our personal and professional lives. In the field of higher education, where career advancement depends so much on hitting numbers, including publication numbers, citation numbers, grants earned, students advised, women have been hit the hardest. At the onset of the pandemic, the virus resulted in women’s decreased research productivity. Initial evidence suggests that while women academics working from home are submitting fewer manuscripts and external funding submissions, their male counterparts are submitting more. Despite assuming fewer leadership positions in general, the pandemic has also given rise to the glass cliff effect, or the overrepresentation of women advancing to leadership positions during periods of crisis when the risk of failure is highest. Indeed, COVID-19 has added new challenges for women in academia. But to peg the pandemic as a vacuum out of which these implications arose would be narrow-minded. Social inequities in academia have existed for decades. The field itself emerged at a time when, typically, male academics received the support of their stay-at-home spouses. Once women did enter the field, they were often met with gender-based obstacles to achieving tenure, being granted promotions, or simply earning the same respect afforded to their male counterparts. The pandemic has shone a glaring light on disparities that date back longer than we wish to admit. We can begin to make amends by first acknowledging the full spectrum of complexities that women face, ones that are inextricably linked to other systemic barriers. Women are the backbone of the care economy, what might be better termed as the “actual” economy, and the reality is that most women do not have the luxury of separating work from home. The care economy can be defined as any care — child care, social or domestic services — provided in formal and informal settings. Women around the world, particularly in Japan, were already doing most of the world’s unpaid care work prior to the pandemic, and COVID-19 has only amplified this burden. A report by the International Labor Organization identified unpaid care work as the biggest impediment to women’s formal employment, affecting 21.7% of women compared to 1.7% of men. Such obligations often result in women devoting less time to their career advancement. In some cases, causing them to postpone promotions or leave the field of academia altogether. One step in the right direction could be incorporating care work into teaching evaluations, which tend to disfavor women. As it stands, many academic institutions put too much weight into evaluating professors based on their research output. It is time for us to ditch the publish or perish pretense that has become so prevalent in academia. This method is simply not viable today and especially disadvantages women who are contributing to multiple areas of university life in addition to research. While women make up the majority of undergraduate and master’s degree holders, their representation in research is only 28% globally. Such underrepresentation varies by country and discipline, and while in some cases gender parity in research is almost achieved, in many other instances there is a long path ahead to meeting such a benchmark. How can we better support women in academia? It comes down to dialogue. During the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) virtual annual presidents’ meeting, international experts in higher education came together to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on women academics. The conclusion we came to was simple: there is no such thing as a best fit solution. Challenges women face in academia are not always plain to see, often materializing in subtle ways, like when women are not considered to serve on certain committees, when their contributions during meetings are appropriated, or when they are silenced by louder voices. Rather than assuming you know what is best for your women faculty, ask them. What do you need? An extra year in your tenure clock? Additional material support? Childcare and mental health support resources? New, nondiscriminatory criteria that make it possible to appreciate the contributions of all faculty members? Commitment to hiring dual career partners? Similarly, not all academic institutions are uniform, with different universities boasting different institutional cultures and access to financial and personal resources. While some institutions maintain an equal footing in research, teaching and service, others are more focused on one cause. We must remain committed to gender, racial and social equity while recognizing the nuanced constraints of each individual institution. We have presented a snippet of the full picture of women academics’ experiences, which differ vastly across racial, ethnic, cultural and other contexts. As exemplified during the APRU senior international leaders’ meeting, which brought together leaders from 18 different countries, it is increasingly important to leverage international networks like APRU in order to adopt global solutions to issues of inequity. And to bear in mind that equity is different from equality.
February 11, 2022
APRU on SCMP: Virtual foreign exchange allowing students to ‘study abroad’ without leaving home will outlast Covid-19
Written by Professor Rocky S. Tuan Original post on SCMP A lecturer at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University leads an online class on March 17, 2020. Photo: Xiaomei Chen Knowledge has no boundaries. This is especially true in a global society, with more and more students crossing borders to access overseas education. Going abroad to study or on exchange has become a rite of passage for millions of young people around the world. According to an OECD report published in 2020, the number of tertiary students pursuing education in a foreign country reached 5.6 million in 2018, more than doubling over the last 20 years. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development also projected that the international student population is likely to reach 8 million by 2025. This phenomenal growth is attributed to the rise of the middle class in developing economies as well as a shortage of high-quality institutions in much of the developing world. The relative affordability and accessibility of international air travel, as well as the rapid development of communication technology, means students can be increasingly mobile while remaining connected to friends and family in their home countries. But the emergence of Covid-19 changed all this. As with so many areas of our lives, the pandemic has massively disrupted the traditional approach to international education; it threatened to erase decades of progress as the world retreated into quarantine almost two years ago. Travel restrictions, border closures, public health measures and pandemic politics have led to a significant decline in international student enrolment levels in most leading host countries. International students in Sydney, Australia, return to China following the outbreak of Covid-19, on August 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters Short-term exchange programmes, which are the backbone of the internationalisation agenda for so many universities, have seen a particularly sharp drop. Short-term overseas experiences are critical for fostering people-to-people links across nations, and provide students with the cultural smarts to forge global careers. Their absence is a potential tragedy for globalisation. Demand for full-degree programmes in top host countries has declined by as much as 20 per cent, but short-term programmes have fallen even further, with demand in many cases evaporating altogether. As universities and analysts think about recovery, it is forecast to take at least five years for international student mobility to return to pre-pandemic levels. What are universities doing about this, and where does a place like Hong Kong fit in? Far from passively waiting for borders to reopen, universities have been reimagining their approach to student mobility and harnessing the power of technology to deliver immersive international student experiences. This is much bigger than putting everything on Zoom or other virtual platforms. The novel approach has the potential to revolutionise access to international experiences and make global education accessible to anyone with an internet connection, rather than merely to those privileged few with financial means to jump on a plane and spend up to a year in a foreign land. According to a survey by the International Association of Universities in 2020, 60 per cent of universities have replaced physical student mobility with virtual mobility or collaborative online learning. Hong Kong is a global city, and its openness to international talent has underwritten much of its development and prosperity – the territory was simply not built to be isolated from the rest of the world. The pandemic could have been catastrophic to its educational exchanges, and indeed to the very fabric of Hong Kong’s people-to-people links with mainland China and overseas. Home to four top-100 global universities and the headquarters of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), an alliance of 61 leading universities from four continents on both sides of the Pacific, Hong Kong has taken a leadership role in developing innovative solutions which allow crucial international student exchange to thrive despite the headwinds of a once-in-a-century global health crisis. One prime example is the Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) programme conceptualised and managed by the Chinese University of Hong Kong under the auspices of APRU. Launched in August 2020, the exchange programme enables students of APRU member universities to take online academic courses on a plethora of topics and participate in culturally enriched co-curricular programmes as well as establish social peer networks, without needing to leave their home countries. Tech-driven and highly immersive, the programme received a commendation at the Times Higher Education’s prestigious Asia awards in 2021. Today, thousands of students from around the world have completed an exchange via the Virtual Student Exchange, and such virtual international experiences look set to endure post pandemic. Students of Chinese University of Hong Kong celebrate their graduation on November 4 last year. Even as we recover from the pandemic, the virtual student exchange platform pioneered during the pandemic is likely to endure. Photo: K. Y. Cheng This has got to be a good thing for expanding access to high-quality university education and achieving one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals – to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Academic studies show that students who undertake international exchange outperform their peers in areas such as teamwork, empathy, work ethic and communication – areas essential for the future of work and economies everywhere. It is clear that, as much as we all yearn for the return of quarantine-free international travel, a simple return to physical overseas experiences would mean only those with adequate economic means can benefit from them. As the world thinks about navigating a new normal at the other side of this seemingly endless pandemic, it is fitting that Hong Kong – Asia’s World City – is blazing a new trail for the future of international education.
January 12, 2022
UH News: Esports fellowship creates global opportunities for UH students
Written by Marc Arakaki Original post on University of Hawai’i News University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa esports has solidified its standing as one of the top 10 university esports programs in the nation. Now, five students have been chosen for an international fellowship, which will bring more experience and knowledge back to the program. The Association of Pacific Rim Universities is a consortium of 61 universities across the Pacific region, including North America, Asia, Oceania and South America. The second cohort of its esports fellowship program will bring together dozens of students from its member institutions to discuss, share and collaborate on growing opportunities in the esports industry, with a special focus on the Asia region. Students were selected based on a nomination process by their advisors. They will attend monthly meetings virtually with other participants throughout the spring semester. “I’m most looking forward to getting a more global perspective on esports,” said UH Mānoa student Kwan Ho Cheung. “I think my current perspective is all about franchising and less so about what goes on behind the scenes of an esports broadcast, and all the intricate parts required to pull off some of the international events, the pinnacle of esports.” Lana Kawauchi added, “This is such an amazing opportunity and unlike anything I have ever participated in before. I’m looking forward to networking with students from all across Asia and working with them to create healthy environments in the esports community. I’m also looking forward to being placed in jobs and internships with companies that will help us achieve these goals.” The other UH Mānoa participants are Kelsy Padilla, Alohi Tolentino and Micah Tossey. “The fellowship will provide the selected students with an understanding of how the esports industry in Asia (Hong Kong, Japan and Korea) works, with educational, networking, business and internship opportunities. I am excited by the development of the academic and curricular component of our esports program at UH Mānoa,” said Nyle Sky Kauweloa—a communication and information sciences PhD student, head of the UH Mānoa Esports Task Force in the College of Social Sciences and instructor. UH’s position within the Asia esports market is crucial as the State of Hawaiʻi is in a prime location that bridges the East and West. One of the reasons why UH was selected as a host site for the Overwatch League’s summer tournaments, playoffs and grand finals was to improve the online latency difference as teams from North America and Asia competed virtually head-to-head in real-time. Visit the UH esports team’s Twitter and Discord pages. More stories on UH’s esports program. This program is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Enhancing Student Success (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020. More info about APRU Esports Fellowship Program 2nd Cohort
January 11, 2022
APRU Metagame Conference 2021 Returns at Cyberport’s Annual Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum
HONG KONG–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In partnership with Cyberport, the 2nd Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Metagame Conference will take place within a broader convening titled the Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum (DELF) hosted at Cyberport in Hong Kong, December 10-12, 2021 in hybrid format (virtual and in-person). Focusing on Hong Kong as an emerging esports leader in the region, leading scholars and industry professionals will gather to examine how this captivating industry can further its scope within universities and society from esports as digital entertainment to developing career pathways for students in the esports ecosystem. “The skills that are learned in esports can be applied to any industry. Students are learning how to work effectively in diverse teams, across geographies, how to lead and communicate. Courses relating to esports can be multidisciplinary, across the creative arts, business, computer science and engineering, social sciences, law, neuroscience and many more,” said Dr. Christopher Tremewan, Secretary General of APRU. “APRU connects universities and students across the Pacific Rim through international esports coordination. As an international network, we aim to develop a comprehensive esports platform for APRU member universities to help students develop their skills through fellowship programs, student competitions, tournaments, equity initiatives, career development, and more.” The panel is also expected to touch upon opportunities for esports regarding metaverse, blockchain, digital arts and other emerging technologies. Mr. Peter Yan, CEO of Cyberport, said, “Talent cultivation is one of the three strategic pillars of Cyberport. Our partnership with APRU has allowed us to explore ways to cultivate leaders of tomorrow through the lens of esports and the expansive value chain within this growing industry. With the 2nd APRU Metagame Conference as part of the flagship DELF event, the recent establishment of the APRU International University Centre at Cyberport, and several collaborations in the works, we look forward to further coupling APRU’s international network of universities with the flourishing digital entertainment community at Cyberport to help young talents hone their skills and delve into an exciting career in esports.” The conference will also shed light on how gaming as digital entertainment can play a leading role in solving environmental challenges such as wildlife conservation, decarbonization, and even diversity and inclusion. The discussions will feature case studies from universities and experts, including a keynote address from Mr. Sam Barratt, Chief of Youth, Education and Advocacy Unit, Ecosystems Division, The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). “We want to inspire the gaming industry to think about what role they can play in tackling both the climate and nature crises,” said Sam Barratt.“Gaming is the most powerful entertainment medium in the world reaching some 2.7 billion globally, reaching across all geographies and generations. The awe of landscapes has always been a big part of the back-drop of gaming. Now we want to bring these issues into the foreground for gamers and the industry so that combined, their efforts are harnessed for the good of the environment.” More interesting findings will be offered at the conference along with the signature League of Legends Wild Rift show match to officially kick off the regional tournaments in North America and Asia Pacific with Nexten Esports. To learn more about the future of esports and the opportunities it presents, register today at www.apru.org/event/apru-metagame-conference-2021 About APRU As a network of 61 leading universities linking the Americas, Asia and Australasia, APRU (the Association of Pacific Rim Universities) brings together thought leaders, researchers, and policy-makers to exchange ideas and collaborate on effective solutions to the challenges of the 21st century. We leverage collective education and research capabilities of our members into the international public policy process. In the post-pandemic era, our strategic priorities focus on providing a neutral platform for high-level policy dialogue, taking actions on climate change, and supporting diversity, inclusion, and minorities. APRU’s primary activities support these strategic priorities with a focus on key areas such as disaster risk reduction, women in leadership, indigenous knowledge, virtual student exchange, esports, population aging, global health, sustainable cities, artificial intelligence, waste management and more. For more information, please visit www.apru.org About Cyberport Cyberport is an innovative digital community with around 800 on-site start-ups and technology companies. It is managed by Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, wholly owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government. With a vision to be the hub for digital technology, thereby creating a new economic driver for Hong Kong, Cyberport is committed to nurturing a vibrant tech ecosystem by cultivating talent, promoting entrepreneurship among youth, supporting start-ups, fostering industry development by promoting strategic collaboration with local and international partners, and integrating new and traditional economies by accelerating digital transformation in public and private sectors. For more information, please visit www.cyberport.hk   Contacts Jack Ng, Director, Communications, APRU jack.ng@apru.org Diane Chow, Associate Account Director, Gusto Luxe Diane.chow@gusto-luxe.com
January 4, 2022
APRU Celebrates Successful Completion of Its APWiL Mentoring Program’s First Cohort
The second cohort sees number of mentor-mentee pairs more than triple HONG KONG–(BUSINESS WIRE)–APRU celebrated the completion of the first cohort of its APWiL Mentoring Program. The APWiL Mentoring Program Inaugural Graduation Ceremony was part of the APRU Senior International Leaders’ (SIL) Week 2021, hosted virtually on October 19-21 by the University of Sydney. The APWiL Mentoring Program was launched almost exactly one year earlier under the leadership of Prof. Joanna Regulska (Vice Provost and Dean – Global Affairs at the University of California, Davis) and Dr. Sabrina Lin (Senior Advisor to the President at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology). The first cohort matched 15 pairs of mentors and mentees to provide international and intercultural opportunities for the development of aspiring women leaders within APRU. It was created against the backdrop of the World Economic Forum’s 2019 Gender Gap Report ringing alarm bells on the lack of improvement in the previous years. The current cohort, running from October 2021 – September 2022, comprises 47 mentor-mentee pairs, reflecting strongly growing receptiveness of the APWiL Mentoring Program. Participants used the ceremony to report on the program’s impact and introduced the second cohort to Senior International Leaders (SILs). The SILs convene annually to discuss important themes in higher education, advancing the impact of APRU initiatives and programs. “Throughout this year, the mentor and mentee relationships have been sustained by a shared commitment to the future, to higher education and to ensuring women leaders are prepared to be part of higher education’s future,” said Professor Dawn Freshwater, Vice-Chancellor, University of Auckland, in her keynote. “We know there are many complex social and economic barriers to women’s advancement in leadership within our institutions, and we know that it is only with diverse and inclusive leadership that our institutions will be able to navigate the global and societal issues that are confronting us,” she added. Among the mentor-mentee pairs sharing their experiences were mentor Professor Cindy Fan, Vice Provost, International Studies and Global Engagement, UCLA, and mentee Professor Surabhi Chopra, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Professor Chopra recalled that she entered the APWiL Mentoring Program when nearing her mid-career mark, not being perfectly sure where to direct her attention to in the coming years. The six meetings Professor Chopra had over the course of the year with Professor Fan then facilitated an important process of reflection. “Professor Fan was a coach who drew me out and pushed me to think more concretely,” Professor Chopra said. “That process of having someone engaged, intelligent and experienced was incredibly valuable for me in deciding how I want to engage in academic leadership.” Professor Fan, for her part, underlined that the status quo is far from perfect for aspiring women leaders. She cited findings showing that overall access to higher education for women students has been improving only in a handful of regions of the world, with the picture becoming even patchier in terms of women academics’ access to the highest levels of institutional administration. “The proportion of women in the highest echelons range from 0% in some Asia Pacific countries to about 20% in Australia,” Professor Fan said. “Without many mentors in my professional life, I would not have aspired to senior leadership in academia and become the first female and first Asian American senior international officer in my university.” About APRU As a network of 60 leading universities linking the Americas, Asia and Australasia, APRU (the Association of Pacific Rim Universities) brings together thought leaders, researchers, and policy-makers to exchange ideas and collaborate on effective solutions to the challenges of the 21st century. We leverage collective education and research capabilities of our members into the international public policy process. In the post-pandemic era, our strategic priorities focus on providing a neutral platform for high-level policy dialogue, taking actions on climate change, and supporting diversity, inclusion, and minorities. APRU’s primary activities support these strategic priorities with a focus on key areas such as disaster risk reduction, women in leadership, indigenous knowledge, virtual student exchange, esports, population aging, global health, sustainable cities, artificial intelligence, waste management and more. Contacts Jack Ng Director, Communications, APRU jack.ng@apru.org
November 30, 2021
APRU on UWN: Long way to go for parity for women in HE leadership
Written by Tessa DeLaquil Original post on University World News The latest International Brief for Higher Education Leaders from the American Council on Education (ACE) and the Center for International Higher Education (CIHE), titled Women’s Representation in Higher Education Leadership Around the World, reveals the “unfinished” business that is achieving gender equality at institutional, national and international levels. The brief includes country cases with new data from Hong Kong (Linda Chelan Li and Iris Chui Ping Kam); Indonesia (Dorothy Ferary); Kazakhstan (Aliya Kuzhabekova); Malaysia (Norzaini Azman); Ghana (Christine Adu-Yeboah, Georgina Yaa Oduro and Dorothy Takyiakwaa); South Africa (Adéle Moodly); Mexico (Alma Maldonado-Maldonado and Roberto Rodríguez Gómez); Australia (Amalia Di Iorio); and Finland (Terhi Nokkala). It also includes international analyses of women’s leadership in higher education by Fanny M Cheung and Joanna Regulska, as well as a section on the diverse dimensions of gender equality, including contributions on the subjects of leadership at women’s colleges (Kristen A Renn) and black women and intersectionality in US higher education (Ashley Gray), as well as a personal reflection on women’s leadership by Lily S Hsu. The brief argues that, while overall access of women to higher education as students has risen in some but not all regions (sometimes achieving more than parity), this development is not uniform and is by and large not paralleled in positions of either leadership and decision-making or at the highest levels of institutional administration. The proportion of women in senior leadership positions in the country cases of the brief range from practically non-existent participation at universities in Ghana or public universities in Hong Kong to 28% of vice-chancellor positions in Australian higher education. Although the barriers and support related to the achievement of women leaders in higher education vary by social and historical context, there are nonetheless certain identifiable commonalities across the country cases examined that make clear the unfinished nature of the project of achieving gender equality in women’s leadership in higher education. Context matters The unfinished nature of the achievement of the human right of gender equality, in terms of representation of women in leadership in general and in higher education in particular, may be understood as partial at three levels in relation to: (i) national or regional context; (ii) historical effects and socio-cultural foundations; and (iii) individuals and the complexity of individual identity, including marginalisation factors. For instance, the general paucity of women in leadership in higher education is visible even in some countries where representation of women in the pipeline (on undergraduate and graduate degree programmes) is reaching parity. This phenomenon varies by regional and national context, by institutional type (for instance, by university ranking and classification) and by societal culture, tradition and the related expectations of women. Intersectionality also determines outcomes, as other markers of marginalisation further restrict representation and participation for women in positions of higher education leadership. Barriers to equality in leadership Barriers to achieving gender equality in higher education leadership occur at each of three levels – national or institutional, cultural and individual. As such, effective support and structural change must be responsive to and present at each of these three levels. According to the cases in the brief, we see that when support is lacking at one of these levels, the overall project for achieving gender equality in higher education seems to stagnate or fails to materialise. Barriers that occur in society also occur within the system of higher education, since higher education institutions may be understood as what Adéle Moodly calls “microcosms of the broader society”, and so are pervaded by historical and cultural aspects embedded within our communities. While we are unable to address every cause of gender imbalance in leadership, the academic community is not powerless. The so-called glass ceiling is maintained at least in part through structural and cultural complacency within our institutions and our academic communities. Through our support for change within our institutions, we work slowly but surely towards social change for the common good in our societies and larger communities. The contributions in the brief raise certain barriers that re-occur at both institutional and societal levels. At national and societal levels, these include culturally and societally defined gender roles, historically and religiously entrenched cultural standards, an unfair division of domestic labour and a lack of recognition of the effects of intersectionality. Both institutionally and societally, barriers include the evident gender pay gap, gendered stereotypes with regard to leadership competency, sexual harassment within the realms of both higher education and society, the leaky pipeline through the fraught pathway of the professoriate, tokenism, hiring biases and the inevitable consequences on the potential for gender equality in the future due to the present under-representation in leadership and decision-making positions. A general lack of sex-disaggregated data further limits effective policy decision-making. The precarity of the gains made in gender equality is palpable in the exacerbation of these trends and barriers during the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, the persistence of gender inequality in relation to domestic labour and family care is discernible in the decline in academic manuscripts submitted by women during the pandemic period. The idea of the ‘glass cliff’ – a concept describing how women are overrepresented in leadership during periods of institutional crisis – suggests that taking on precarious leadership positions may ultimately discourage other women from pursuing advancement to academic leadership in the future. Towards gender equality Effective support must therefore also address barriers at the three levels of nation or institution, culture and individual. Broad national-level policies explicitly supporting gender equality may encourage cultural and structural change. Institutional policies are necessary in order to ensure procedural justice, for instance, around parental leave, workload expectations, recruitment and hiring and promotion practices. Sex-disaggregated data collection must be set up both within higher education institutions and national systems of higher education in order to support policy decision-making at each level of support. At an individual level, targeted programming for leadership development and other forms of mentorship programming have been put into place in several countries. Also, higher education networks, set up both within and external to institutional or national support structures, that include programmes and processes for finding, mentoring and training women in higher education seem to be a highly effective mechanism for supporting women’s leadership in higher education. However, it is not sufficient to merely support individual women in the navigation of the structures within which they find themselves. Structural injustice must be met by procedural justice through national- and institutional-level policy. Cultural changes can also begin within institutions, for example, through institutional policy changes championed by vocal leadership. Universities have the potential to exist as countercultural spaces – as Renn’s contribution on women’s colleges and universities demonstrates – in which justice can be achieved via a cultural change in our approach to women in leadership in higher education. Support and encouragement for individual women to achieve their career goals can be productive but are generally most useful when accompanied by institutional and national leadership and programming. Indeed, as Regulska asserts in this brief, ensuring that the human right of gender equality is met will require both individual and collective action. In the end, all of the contributions to the brief imply that the most significant barrier to women’s equality in higher education is a tenacious complacency within our academic communities. We have the tools in hand that are required to effect initial change. What is needed now is the will to work towards achieving true gender equality within our academic communities and our institutions, with the hope that these steps will also build towards the achievement of this human right beyond our universities, in our nations and across the globe. To learn more about APRU Asia Pacific Women in Leadership Program, please visit here.
July 24, 2021
Cyberport Brings Together Hong Kong and Pacific Rim Youth for Esports Exchange
Original by Cyberport, Media OutReach Workshop Organised with APRU Teaches How to Win Heavyweight Brand Sponsorships for Esports Development HONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach – 30 April 2021 – Hong Kong Cyberport and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), a consortium of 58 leading universities in the Pacific Rim region, today held the APRU Esports Fellowship Workshop on the Cyberport campus and online. Talon Esports, a Cyberport incubatee and well-known organiser of esports leagues, shared its perspective on the esports business ecosystem and how marketing and business sponsorship can benefit the industry’s development. 30 students from universities in Hong Kong and the Pacific Rim, including the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the School of Professional and Continuing Education of the University of Hong Kong (HKU SPACE) and the Open University of Hong Kong, joined the workshop and exchanged views with fellow students who share their passion for esports. Participating students conducted a mock sponsor pitch to enhance their knowledge of the esports ecosystem. Eric Chan, Chief Public Mission Officer of Cyberport, said, “Cyberport is committed to cultivating local young talent and providing them with diversified entrepreneurship and career opportunities. As a high-growth emerging industry, esports and digital entertainment present younger generations with a rich array of opportunities, from content development to team management and training, and from event planning to brand marketing. Through this workshop, participants learned about the esports industry’s business models and the unique advantages of Hong Kong’s esports companies. Those aspiring to a career in esports could also broaden their horizons and enjoy fruitful exchanges via the APRU network with their counterparts from other universities in the Pacific Rim.” Industry Leader Shares Tips on Winning Sponsorships According to the latest forecast from industry research institute Newzoo, the global esports market’s value will reach USD1.084 billion in 2021, representing year-on-year growth of 14.5%. Business sponsorship will account for USD641 million, close to 60% of the total value. This demonstrates that business sponsorship is the esports industry’s bread and butter. As a Cyberport incubatee, Talon Esports is well-known for its League of Legends team, PSG Talon, as well as for the successful esports events it has staged, such as the VALORANT competitions in Hong Kong and Taiwan which have attracted lucrative sponsorships from a wide variety of businesses including sportswear company Nike, KFC Thailand, Hong Kong virtual bank Mox and gaming seat developer Recaro. Today’s workshop tutor, Sean Zhang, CEO and Co-founder of Talon Esports, noted: “Everything begins with the fans. Esports fans typically represent a very valuable consumer segment for many brands, but they are also notoriously difficult to reach through traditional channels. So the most important thing for us to understand from a partnership perspective is what our partners are looking to achieve, from both a business and a branding standpoint, and then our job is to work out how we can best help them bridge that gap between them and the gaming community in a way that is authentic and adds value for our fans too.” Sponsor Pitch Simulations Each participating university, including the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, HKU SPACE, the Open University of Hong Kong, the Far Eastern Federal University, the National Taiwan University, the National University of Singapore, the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, the University of British Columbia, the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Washington, arranged for two to three representatives to join the workshop. Grouped into five teams, the students were required to conduct a sponsor pitch for a popular esports league. To enhance their knowledge of the esports ecosystem, feedback and suggestions were provided by the tutor. Organising inter-university tournaments and academic competitions Dr Christopher Tremewan, APRU Secretary General, said, “Empowering future Esports leaders in the Pacific Rim brought APRU and Cyberport together to create the APRU Esports Fellowship Program. Through Cyberport, the new generation will have access to the resources they need to develop skills and build networks for careers in the thriving Esports industry, including access to over 140 Esports start-ups. A perk of our program is that students will have the exclusive opportunity to pitch to industry leaders after learning about sponsorship relations and insider tips that cannot be found in textbooks. Going forward, we will forge ahead with this partnership and offer more opportunities for students to learn through student-led inter-university tournaments, academic competitions and fellowships.” APRU is a premier alliance of research universities, established in Los Angeles in 1997 by the presidents of UCLA, Berkeley, Caltech and the University of Southern California. It aims to foster collaboration between member universities to promote economic, scientific and cultural advancement in the Pacific Rim. APRU now has a membership of more than 50 leading research universities. Organised by Cyberport in partnership with APRU and the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, the APRU Esports Fellowship Program is a one-year programme dedicated to the esports industry. Cyberport’s session in Hong Kong is the programme’s third workshop, with the first two hosted by the National University of Singapore and the University of California, Los Angeles. The next workshop is planned for May, and will be hosted by the University of British Columbia. In addition to workshops, the programme also includes competitions which aim to boost the student’s esports skills and techniques. About Cyberport Cyberport is an innovative digital community with over 1,650 start-ups and technology companies. It is managed by Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, which is wholly owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government. With a vision to be the hub for digital technology thereby creating a new economic driver for Hong Kong, Cyberport is committed to nurturing a vibrant tech ecosystem by cultivating talent, promoting entrepreneurship among youth, supporting start-ups on their growth journey, fostering industry development by promoting strategic collaboration with local and international partners, and integrating new and traditional economies by accelerating digital transformation in the public and private sectors. For more information, please visit www.cyberport.hk.
May 3, 2021
YESPORTS ESPORTS APPRENTICESHIP Recipient Announced
Original from Yesports Grooming and supporting the next esports generations of all parts of the world, Yesports announces its recipient for its FIRST Yesports Esports Apprenticeship. After reviewing a pool of remarkable applications, we are thrilled to announce that Samuel He from the University of British Columbia of Canada will be awarded the USD$10,000 apprenticeship to support his college education and esports dream. He was selected out of hundreds of applicants around the world after displaying exceptional academic achievement, extra-curricular participation and passion for esports. Samuel is a former professional Starcraft2 player under the premier organization Complexity Gaming. His experience in esports spans over 8 years and has played on the top stages such as Red Bull Detroit and MLG Anaheim. Furthermore, he has trained in the Invictus Gaming team house and was also a student of Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn. He has also been sponsored by NCSoft to compete in England for the Blade and Soul World Championship Qualifiers in 2018. He is studying a Masters of Music under world-famous clarinetist Jose Franch-Ballester and is a recipient of the prestigious British Columbia Graduate Scholarship. “Thanks so much to Yesports and APRU for hosting this amazing initiative! I believe that the increased involvement of esports within our educational institutions is a strong step forward in popularizing esports as an industry, legitimizing it as a career path, and integrating it as part of our modern-day culture” Samuel said. Funded by Yesports, the apprenticeship program enables youth to continue their education at the collegiate level while developing their hobbies. The organization has been actively taking part in nurturing all-rounded talents and future leaders in the blooming and dynamic esports communities. This fund helps support those who exhibit the same commitment. Applications were accepted from students who are planning to further pursue their studies in colleges and universities. “Building on that commitment, in the coming year, Samuel will be our ambassador promoting esports and our brand in his local communities and schools by holding various events and networking with different esports societies,” says Yesports’ Apprenticeship Coordinator, Ms. Ariel Chu. “He will as well show up on our social platforms a lot as he will be creating content for us.” On the other hand, the recipient will be offered a 4-6 weeks work term at Yesports office based in Hong Kong, a chance to gain invaluable exposure to the esports industry that can give him a competitive edge. “With Yesports, Samuel will get a taste of how an Asian esports company operates, as well as the chance to help organize both online and offline world-class tournaments and events,” Ms. Chu further commented. Lastly, Yesports welcome all interested students to apply our new series of the Yesports Apprenticeship 2021-2022 which is now opened for application. We want to cater to students of all aspects; therefore, we have created 5 types of scholarships targeting applicants with different talents and skills. Please visit our website for more information. We look forward to seeing more all-round students like Samuel having the opportunity to glow in the esports world. Congratulations! For more information, please visit: https://yesports.asia/ Apply for Apprenticeship: https://www.yesportstalents.com/scholarship https://www.facebook.com/yesports.asia For further enquiry, please contact: Ms. Ariel Chu arielchu@yesports.asia +852 6514 9262 Natalie TT Wong admin@yesports.asia +852 5622 4680     About Yesports Yesports, the global O2O hub for talents to meet and connect to international employers and sponsors for unlimited career and business opportunities. Yesports is a global “esports +” social media platform where gamers meet celebrities for fun and opportunities to show their talent! It connects game lovers to a dynamic world of resources and people. Yesports Talent showcases talents from around the world and provides a platform for connecting to the corporates to maximize marketing synergies. Additional Important Information Yesports does not guarantee any of the applications will be successful in attaining the apprenticeship grant nor does the final amount offered. As the apprenticeship grant is provided by Yesports, the recipient(s) maybe subjected to additional terms and conditions, not currently presented in this document, as implemented by Yesports. The University does not have any input nor control over any of the terms and conditions as required by Yesports. The nominated recipient(s) should independently decide his/her acceptance of the apprenticeship grant.
April 14, 2021
APRU Steering Committee 2021-22
We are pleased to welcome the following presidents who will serve on the APRU Steering Committee, the executive body of the network which oversees its strategy, policy, programs and finances, for the year 2021-22. Steering Committee members (in alphabetical order of the name of universities): Chancellor Gene D. Block, UCLA (Chair) Vice-Chancellor and President Rocky S. Tuan, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Vice-Chair) President Bundhit Eua-arporn, Chulalongkorn University President Jin Taek Chung, Korea University President Subra Suresh, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore President Zhongqin Lin, Shanghai Jiao Tong University President David Garza, Tecnológico de Monterrey Vice-Chancellor Dawn Freshwater, The University of Auckland President and Vice-Chancellor Santa J. Ono, The University of British Columbia President and Vice-Chancellor Xiang Zhang, The University of Hong Kong Vice-Chancellor and President Deborah Terry, The University of Queensland Chancellor Carol T. Christ, UC Berkeley President Aiji Tanaka, Waseda University Dr Christopher Tremewan, Secretary General, APRU Mr Sherman Cheng, Chief Financial Officer, APRU Comprising elected presidents representing various regions of Asia-Pacific, the Steering Committee is responsible for driving the activities of the association and giving direction to its impact and advocacy work across the region. Click here for the biographies of Steering Committee members.
December 6, 2021
APRU on JUMPSTART: How Esports Fellowships Can Pave the Way for A Stable, Ethical, Diverse Industry
Written by Reethu Ravi Original post on JUMPSTART With the global esports market valued at US$1.1 billion in 2019 and expected to grow to US$6.81 billion by 2027, esports is beginning to offer serious potential as a career option for young gamers. Market growth has received a jolt from the increasing popularity of video games, awareness around esports, audience reach, engagement activities, and mobile usage in emerging countries. Technological infrastructure for league tournaments has also improved. Furthermore, esports also experienced a triumphant rise in viewership and audience engagement amid the pandemic. Amid this shift, universities and colleges are beginning to offer esports programs and fellowships to turn out skilled professional gamers. In the U.S., several universities are offering esports degree courses, and over 100 high schools have started esports programs. Meanwhile, offering students a curriculum that goes beyond the technical know-how, the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), a network of leading universities linking the Americas, Asia, and Australasia, launched the first and largest global inter-university Esports Fellowship Program on December 12. With a vocational scope beyond just the gaming, the program will expose students to a wide range of possibilities in terms of career and employment in esports, according to APRU Secretary-General Christopher Tremewan. Speaking to Jumpstart, Tremewan adds that along with the technical aspects of the industry, the program will also provide “exposure to some of the issues that are not normally dealt with, within the more technical side or the player side.” Meanwhile, the research side will explore the psychological impact of gaming and esports and ways to make it “a more healthy industry with elevated ethics on diversity, inclusion, and dealing with the issue of addiction.” Christopher Tremewan, Secretary-General of APRU At the end of the year-long program, each student will also have to come up with an original project. Unlike a typical undergraduate program, the APRU fellowship is “an establishment of an international community of professionals who are concerned with the broader shaping of the industry in the future,” adds Tremewan. “I think the fellowship is a way of starting to provide leadership and the students themselves are already providing leadership in their own settings. But how can institutions then pick up this wonderful leadership and elevate it or give it more influence internationally? And that’s what we’re trying to do,” he says. How universities can help make the esports industry more stable Akin to how industries and new technologies go through a hype cycle, followed by downturns and eventual stability, esports is currently at the top of the hype cycle, explains Tremewan. He notes that “there’s a lot of investment going in, but not a lot of profit being made.” However, the industry is growing, he adds. “It’s a medium shaping the way we interact socially, especially the current generation. So, it’s here to stay, but has a means to become a more stable industry.” And universities and colleges can go a long way in achieving this. One way, Tremewan says, is by shaping the future of esports through research. “Looking ahead 10 years – and you can only do that through research – looking at the ways in which we can deal with some of the negative side, but also the positive side. For example, researching what happens to the brain when you’re playing these team sports at a high level and making decisions that split second as a team,” he explains. In addition to this, business schools are engaged with the business aspects of the industry and how to make it more sustainable, and there are students looking at the therapeutic benefits of gaming. For instance, there’s a lab at UC San Diego that is engaging with autistic people making their own games and looking at how this helps them, Tremewan says. Furthermore, there are simulation games which look at global issues and ways to solve them. “As 5G and more virtual reality comes into the picture, the technical aspects of the game will also change radically,” he adds. Stressing the importance of shaping the industry positively, Tremewan says, “We need to be in on the ground floors, in research institutions [and] educational institutions, making sense of this, and making sure that we shape it in a positive way that contributes to society.” Not enough universities are providing esports programs According to Tremewan, a third of the world’s population are watching or playing some form of online game. While most universities are finding out that their students are fully engaged in gaming, not enough universities are “influenced by this new environment into responding.” Echoing this, Gabriella Leung, co-founder of Hong Kong Student Esports Association (HKSESA), says that there are not many esports programs available in Hong Kong currently. The ones that exist are mostly facilitated by private companies. Leung is enthused about the idea of universities providing a different kind of support. “That will be very great, because they will do some research, and they’ll have some academic support for it,” she says. Gabriella Leung, co-founder of Hong Kong Student Esports Association (HKSESA) Many universities in the Asia-Pacific region are taking up the opportunity, including Yonsei University in Seoul, which has an esports department. While some universities have research groups, others have started to put in place ecosystems that provide academic pathways in esports from high school to tertiary education. There also diversity courses and projects involving women students, because research suggested that young women who play sports are more likely to study medicine. So universities are exploring programs like the APRU fellowship which can help the students move into another phase of their careers. Tackling the misconceptions surrounding esports Tremewan says that while there are several misconceptions about the esports industry, there is also a “real negative side to the industry.” So the key, he says, is to make it clear what the benefits to the society are and to play an active role in dealing with the negative aspects early on. Taking the example of Facebook, which began in universities, Tremewan says that universities ignored what was happening in their own institutions, and lost out on opportunities to shape and cultivate the social phenomenon Facebook has created. So, rather than waiting until esports has positive and negative effects, as in the case with Facebook, Tremewan suggests that universities need to “recognize it as a huge area of social interaction that we can turn to the benefit of society – economic productivity, education, research, and so on.” According to Leung, one of the major challenges that gamers in Hong Kong face is the public perception towards esports. “In Hong Kong, especially for parents and schools, they usually think gaming equals to poor academic performance. And they also think that gaming is very unhealthy – that if we’re promoting esports, we are promoting video game addiction,” she says. Additionally, Leung says that Asian parents, for whom earning is important, don’t believe that students can earn money through the esports industry. Leung believes that esports fellowship programs can help change the public’s perception towards this space. Echoing this, Tremewan says that universities engaging with new professional disciplines tends to advance learning and enhance the reputations of such activities. “For example, if we had any university esports league, it would have very clear ethical standards instead of leaving it just to the publishers of the industry,” he explains. Compared to traditional sports fellowships, Tremewan says that esports fellowships “are not trying to incentivize top players to come into the university and win games for the university.” Instead, the fellowship plans to take an active role in facilitating employment and “[shaping esports’] future in a responsible way.” Challenges in Hong Kong In addition to issues of public perception, gamers in Hong Kong also struggle with the dearth of professional teams in the city. Opportunities are thin on the ground for local gamers to get involved. Leung adds that universities and high schools haven’t introduced esports programs or scholarships. For gamers who want to be an organizer or a caster (a play by play announcer) there are not many ways to learn the techniques. “[There is] basically no education program for this. So, it is very difficult for them to get a job in the esports industry and get involved in that,” she says. As a solution, Leung says that it is important for the government and the university to take the lead in educating the public. “The fellowship program will be a good start. It will be better if there will be a degree program in esports in the universities of Hong Kong. I think the most important [part] is to educate them, and to tell them what esports truly is,” she says. Furthermore, the networking opportunities that fellowships provide can help promote cross border learning. “For any sports, it is always good to connect people from different countries, because we can improve ourselves [and] we can know what they’re doing in the industry,” she says, adding that for Hong Kong gamers, it will be beneficial to learn from countries like Taiwan or Korea. The future Tremewan says that once the presidents or vice chancellors of universities understand how they can play a role which benefits the university as well as society, “we can see some movement pretty rapidly.” When universities start to engage with student gamers through education and research, and then engage with the industry and with government, the entire ecosystem will reap the benefits, he adds. Tremewan says that he’s optimistic about Hong Kong, as the government is supportive of esports. In addition, it is also surrounded by countries which are deeply engaged in esports, such as South Korea. “We’ve all been sidelined a little bit by the pandemic. But esports is one of the things that has been able to continue, because of the virtual nature,” Tremewan says. “But we’re pretty sure that things again are going to develop quite quickly and Hong Kong could be an important base for shaping a responsible industry internationally.” Images courtesy of HKSESA and APRU
December 22, 2020
APRU Launches the First Global Inter-University Esports Conference and Fellowship Program
HONG KONG–(BUSINESS WIRE)–APRU launches the first and largest global inter-university Esports MetaGame Conferenceand Fellowship Program to introduce some of the only international pilot Esports programs with curriculum for students that go beyond technical knowhow. In partnership with Cyberport, the virtual conference consists of 3 elements – gaming, policy discussions and next generation learning – creating a platform for global gamers to compete while inviting Esports scholars and industry leaders to discuss the emergence of Hong Kong in the international Esports landscape and other Esports topics, such as entrepreneurship, diversity and inclusion, and career pathways. From gamers and industry partners to students and governments, the MetaGame Conference incorporates the full Esports ecosystem with an aim to expand the purview of the Esports landscape. With Esports’ high economic potential evidenced by its US$1.1 billion in global revenue in 2019, there is tremendous opportunity for career development. By establishing this program from the Hong Kong headquarters, APRU can facilitate the international collaboration of Esports leaders in the Pacific Rim by connecting students and communities across borders. Hong Kong is the first host city of the MetaGame Conference as an emerging regional Esports hub, future conferences will rotate so that APRU universities can demonstrate their unique capabilities within the Esports ecosystem. Chris Tremewan, Secretary General of APRU said, “Students are leaders in creating the ecosystem of Esports. It is not just a game but a new way of interacting which is changing society (like social media). Esports holds out opportunities in employment, industry development, education and personal development, public policy leadership and cutting-edge research. The Asia-Pacific region is the dynamic core of the development of a global Esports ecosystem and with APRU’s 56 member universities around the region, we can help establish a sustainable and ethical industry with spinoffs for health and social equity as well as economic productivity.” “Working with business and government, we are excited to bring a new Esports learning experience to students that not only builds a more sustainable industry but widens employment opportunities far beyond it: business and management, technology and design, performance and health, and socio-economic well-being and appropriate public policy.” Fellowship Program Tecnológico de Monterrey, APRU and Cyberport joined in partnership to launch the year-long virtual APRU Esports Fellowship Program today which will foster the growth of critical skills for future Esports leaders by contributing to outcomes for students such as internship and job placement opportunities and activities such as hackathons, pitching competitions and industry networking. The curriculum goes beyond the technical training related to Esports and focuses on ethical leadership, industry connections, community building, design thinking, entrepreneurship, and cultural awareness. Students will be deeply connected to the entire Esports industry – publishers, leagues, and its technological advancement – for a greater opportunity to develop their Esports skillset and career.
December 14, 2020
APRU Quarantunes Competition Connects and Uplifts Student Communities through Music, Boosting Spirits during Ongoing Pandemic
HONG KONG–(BUSINESS WIRE)–To bring international university students together by sparking creativity and sharing positivity during the pandemic, the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) recently launched its Quarantunes student music competition. Attracting 108 impressive entries by students from 13 economies across Asia-Pacific, the Quarantunes competition was organised by APRU Plus, an online hub launched specifically to address challenges during COVID. The winning teams reflected an incredible breadth of international student talent, with the leading entries emerging from student teams in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mexico, the Philippines, California (USA), Colombia, and South Korea. With virtually no international student mobility and physical classes halted, students are facing unprecedented disruptions to their studies and university experience. A study conducted this past summer by a higher education research consortium that includes APRU member University of California, Berkeley found that 35% of undergraduate students were positive for major depressive disorder, while 39% had generalized anxiety disorder, a much higher rate than years past. With anxiety prevalent across universities worldwide, APRU Plus provides innovative opportunities for collaboration to bridge the gap created by social distancing. Conceived as a way to foster creativity and discussion around the importance of mental wellness during this challenging time, the Quarantunes competition gave students a new way to cope with isolation and come together to produce musical works that spread positivity. Each of the students’ submitted songs tells a unique COVID story that helps us see beyond the current difficulties to inspire hope for the future. “‘Get Down’ is a song that combines dancy, hopeful music and reflective lyrics about the happenings right now. We hope to present an honest yet playful version of the world, inside which people acknowledge the flaws of the society but remain optimistic for a brighter future.” – National Taiwan University and The Chinese University of Hong Kong team View highlight video and winning entries : 1st Prize (Tied) “Get Down” – National Taiwan University and The Chinese University of Hong Kong “Sonos Más” – Tecnológico de Monterrey 3rd Prize “Six Feet Apart” – University of the Philippines Special Prize “Golden Girl” – University of Southern California “Homenaje a Lucho Bermúdez” – Universidad de los Andes “We’re All Heroes” – Yonsei University To further connect students internationally, APRU also offers the APRU Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) Program, an exclusive opportunity to connect with peers from around the world to learn new knowledge and skills, exchange ideas and cultures, and develop connections vital for success. Visit here to learn more. Contacts APRU: Jack Ng jack.ng@apru.org PLUG: Marisa Lam marisa@plug.agency
November 16, 2020
TEC News: Song of Tec students wins 1st place among universities worldwide
Pictures: Archive pictures of Frida Rangel and Rubén Villicaña Written by WENDY GUTIÉRREZ |MEXICO CITY CAMPUS Original post in The news site of Tecnológico de Monterrey With the song “Somos Más”, Frida Rangel and Rubén Villicaña have won first place worldwide in the Quarantunes Music Competition, a virtual event organized by the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU). According to the organizers, the students from Tec de Monterrey’s Mexico City campus were given the prize for the song which revealed the positivity that is needed in these uncertain times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The composition won first place in the national ‘Songs of Peace and Hope’ competition organized by the Tec and tied for the title of global champion with the song “Get Down”, by students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). “This contest consists of composing songs that express the feelings we have experienced as students, during the pandemic, but also shows how we can inspire others through our song and strengthen the hope that a better future will come,” explained Frida. The students mentioned that they felt very happy and fulfilled in getting first place. “We’re very satisfied with all the work we did and the results that we got. But, mostly, we’re extremely grateful and inspired by all the support we’ve received,” declared the winners. A SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT Having reached first place in an international composition competition is a significant achievement, as it reaffirms that they are on the right track. According to the songwriters, their participation in the contest inspired them to continue looking for similar opportunities, and to keep entering more contests. “We want to make more music, and to improve more and more. We know that we still have a lot to learn and that excites us a lot,” said Frida, who’s studying Music Production. The prize was a cash sum, which they intend to invest in equipment to improve the quality of their music, and thereby generate new knowledge and opportunities for themselves. The Tec students received the invitation to participate in Quarantunes through the Leadership and Experience (LiFE) department on their campus and decided to compose a song with a positive message. The LiFE program focuses on students’ development through sports, arts, leadership, and includes their nutritional, psychological and emotional well-being.   Frida and Ruben shared that the Tec has greatly influenced both their lives and their professional careers. “We’ve both been members of the Contemporary Music Ensemble on our campus, and participated in the National Song Festival, so we’ve acquired many skills and experiences that have influenced the path we want to take both in our careers and our lives. “These experiences have deeply affected us. In fact, it was in the ensemble where we met and, thanks to that, we’ve achieved many things together”, they said. The champions thanked the department of art and culture at the Mexico City campus for all the support they were given during the two weeks of the contest. “We want to thank all the people who shared our video, and who were encouraging and supporting us. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of all these people. We especially want to thank our families, who never gave up. Really, thank you for helping us share our art. You’ve inspired us to keep going,” the winners concluded. Listen to their song by clicking here.
August 7, 2020