APRU Presents Solutions for New Core Competency- Building at 18th APEC Future Education Forum
The recent annual APEC Future Education Forum (AFEF) served as an opportunity for APRU to share its future-oriented educational experiences in the APEC region. At the hybrid event held in Seoul November 10-11 as part of APEC 2022, APRU Senior Director (Policy and Research Programs) Christina Schönleber presented several APRU case studies related to skills and competencies for the future world of work. Schönleber described how APRU started supporting students and scholars from the start of the pandemic, when students were abruptly confined to their dorms spending much of the day in a virtual world. APRU developed several courses and activities tailored for that unprecedented situation, such as the Teaching in Virtual Environment webinar series; the Quarantunes – Student Competition (which encouraged to jointly create and enter music pieces with the aim to increase wellbeing and combat increasing mental disorders); and the Esports Fellowship. “Fairly quickly we realised that skills and competencies which were very important in a world where we operate mainly face to face had been superceded by new and different aptitudes,” Schönleber said. “Being able to cope quickly and continuously to an increasingly uncertain world required new core competencies, as suddenly the most important skills for students and academics were resilience and the ability to adapt to challenges and overcome these and importantly technical understanding,” she added. Schönleber went on to illustrate that challenges related to Climate Change and the transition to a green economy have also become a focus for students, which APRU responded to by creating the APRU Student Global Climate Change Simulation; APRU Global Sustainability: Waste & The City; the SDG 4 Global Citizens Program; and the Carbon Neutral Society – Action Month. Other panelists and speakers addressed a wide range of questions, including about the competencies that future generations should have and about how human factors, such perception, emotion, and passion, affect the changing educational situation. The 18th APEC Future Education Forum was organized by the Daegu, South Korea-based Institute APEC Collaborative Education (IACE). APRU has close links to IACE Chairman Professor Dong Sung Park, who serves as the Lead Sheepherder of the Human Resource Development Working Group (HRDWG). APRU has been a HRDWG guest member for several years and has recently renewed its guest member status with the HRDWG to the end of 2023. APEC 2022 concluded on November 19 with the APEC University Leaders Forum hosted by Chulalongkorn University in partnership with APRU on the margins of the APEC CEO Summit. The APEC CEO Summit is the APEC premier meeting of business and government leaders in the Asia Pacific.
November 29, 2022more
APRU SDG4GC orientations kick-start exploration of health & well-being
In early November, two orientation programs successfully marked the start of the APRU SDG Education for Global Citizenship program (APRU SDG4GC), involving representatives from APRU member universities, UN agencies and other experts, interacting online with the program’s first cohort comprised of 60 students from 28 member universities. APRU SDG4GC is an intercultural, transdisciplinary and interactive program that fosters global citizenship among students from 60 universities in 19 economies across the Pacific Rim. Lead by Chulalongkorn University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and co-designed by four other core-partner universities, in collaboration with the United Nations, the program builds knowledge of global issues among students. With the theme of “Shaping the Future of Health and Wellbeing” this year, the program covers a broad range of topics, including mental health, health equity, health care system, ethics, healthy ageing, and global health. Bundhit Eua-arporn, President of Chulalongkorn University (Photo: Chulalongkorn University) “You have already proved yourself to be pioneers ready to lead the way towards a shared vision of global citizenship,” said Bundhit Eua-arporn, President of Chulalongkorn University, in his opening remarks. “Global citizenship is key in these times when the world is undergoing critical transitions that demand resolution of interconnected challenges,” he added. Rocky Tuan, Vice-Chancellor and President of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Photo: Chulalongkorn University) Rocky Tuan, Vice-Chancellor and President of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, revealed that the inaugural class of APRU SDG4GC was completely oversubscribed and congratulated the students for being selected. Tuan explained that APRU SDG4GC serves to guide students to create solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges through collaboration. “These challenges have been exacerbated by the pandemic, as the world is faced with an increasingly polarized geopolitical environment which has created all sorts of hindrances for transnational collaboration,” Tuan said. Iwona Spytkowski, Team Leader and Strategic Planner at United Nations in Thailand, provided a snapshot of SDGs progress and explained how the UN system can be leveraged for further improvement. Marisa Panyachiva, Partnership and Development Finance Officer at the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Thailand, provided information about the UN’s structure and the agency’s many funds and programs. Panyachiva explained that the UN draws its unique strengths from working at different levels, from regionally to globally. Elodie Jacquet, Global Citizenship Program Co-designer who is the Knowledge and Practice Manager at Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue, urged the students to have a spirit of curiosity and open-mindedness. “This is an important skill to have when you will be negotiating with other members of society, different levels of government, and other people that you will interact with in your work,” Jacquet said. Natalie Konomi, Global Citizenship Program Co-designer and Professor at Kyushu University, presented the elements of culture, illustrating how complex and interconnected those are. On day 2 of the orientation, the panel session entitled “Shaping the Future of Health and Well-Being” was broadcasted widely and raised the question “How can we build a caring and sustainable global community?” Dr. Andrea Bruni, the WHO’s Regional Advisor, Mental Health, South-East Asia, shared insights about the new WHO Mental Health Action Plan. Jennifer Frances dela Rosa, a Senior Officer affiliated with the Health Division of ASEAN Secretariat’s Human Development Directorate, spoke on social progress and cultural development in the ASEAN region. Hilda Ho, Head of Psychiatry Services, RIPAS Hospital, Ministry of Health, Brunei Darussalam, and Bambang Purwanto, representing the Ministry of Health, Indonesia, spoke on developments regarding mental health in Brunei and Indonesia respectively. Tiffany Chen, Policy Experimentation Expert, Thailand Policy Lab, UNDP, shared findings from an ongoing case study about mental health issues among Thai youth. In the next four months, the students will engage in interactive lectures and workshops on design thinking and cross-cultural communication, receive mentorship from experts from the program’s core partners, and work in teams to develop a solution to address a challenge on this year’s theme. A pitching competition on 20 March 2023 will showcase students’ work and will be judged by a panel of UN experts. The winning team will participate in a week-long visit to Bangkok, with training at Chulalongkorn University’s Innovation Hub, field trips to spin-off companies and start-ups, and an opportunity to join a key UN event in Bangkok. The SDG4GC program is one of many initiatives that APRU is building with its member universities to nurture our youth to make an impact locally and globally to address some of the world’s biggest challenges. Group Photos of the Orientation: For more information about SDG for Global Citizenship, please visit SDG4GC Website.
November 15, 2022more
The APRU Climate Change Simulation- Preparing Students to Lobby Leaders for Vital Actions
APRU recently completed its second APRU Climate Change Simulation and is now preparing for next year’s simulation, with a new advisory group soon to be appointed. Co-organized by the APRU Global Health and the APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Programs, the APRU Climate Change Simulation is a role-playing exercise in which students form multi-country, multi-disciplinary teams play the role of delegates to the UN Climate Change Negotiations. The 2022 APRU Climate Change Simulation engaged nearly 170 students from 17 APRU Universities in addition to a student group from Fiji National University. Forty-five experts from APRU universities and external partner organizations supported the delivery of the simulations, which are tasked to show ways to limit global warming to well below 2℃ in line with The Paris Agreement. A post-event survey showed that participating students highly appreciated the amount of diverse information on climate change, interaction with people from different parts of the world and the chance to take a very close look at the problems facing each country. “This simulation exercise has brought me to look at climate change in various perspectives in terms of its causes and the possible mitigation actions that are scientifically proven,” said Pedros Marcol Tabulo, a student from Fiji National University. “I will be so happy to share with my family and friends the importance of managing forests, which involves reducing deforestation and stepping up afforestation efforts,” he added. Students have also been grateful for the input they get from the experts who contribute to the simulations. The 2022 APRU Climate Change Simulation saw Ebru Gencoglu, Head of Sustainable Sourcing of Adidas, sharing insights on Adida’s efforts to lower the carbon footprint with new design and production approaches. Bernhard Barth, Human Settlements Officer of UN-Habitat, described how the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing conflicts both reveal and amplify the escalating impacts of climate change. Important expert contributions were provided by Dr. Rhys Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu), the Public Health Physician and Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland, and Dr. Ralph Chami, the Assistant Director, and Chief of Financial Policies at the International Monetary Fund. Their key insights focused on indigenous perspectives and how to fund the climate crisis respectively. On the facilitator side, the post-event survey showed that the participators of the 2022 APRU Climate Change Simulation were impressed by how close it got to actual negotiations. Facilitators also noted that the students were very motivated despite the event being held online. “The value of this type of experience for students is magnificent, as it allows students to appreciate the values of a wide range of intellectual disciplines and a high degree of intercultural sensitivity, tolerance and a global perspective,” said Vivian Lee of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who served as a facilitator. The 2023 APRU Climate Change Simulation will tentatively run in April 2023. The advisory group will be made up of simulation founding members Mellissa Withers of the University of Southern California and Elly Vandegrift of the University of Oregon. They will be joined by facilitators Vivian Lee, Zhenyu Zhang of Peking University and Christina Schönleber and Tina Lin of the APRU Secretariat. “We urge any interested APRU members who want to get their students engaged in this important activity to reach out to us,” Zhang said. “It is an excellent opportunity for participants to improve their communication skills, which is important when negotiating, lobbying or influencing leaders to take the actions necessary to implement solutions to climate change,” he added. More Information Find the webpage of the Student Global Climate Change Simulation 2022 here. View the program of the simulation 2022 here. Read the news in The Fiji Times about the simulation here. View a blog from UO’s student reporter here. To find out more about the APRU Climate Change Simulation 2023 and how your students can engage please contact [email protected]
October 14, 2022more
Congratulations to the winners of the APRU Digital Art Contest, “Level-Up Our World”
1st Place Jillianne Santos, Doctor of Dental Medicine University of the Philippines Manila “Spectrum” 2nd Place Keaton Chan Ka Han, Graphic Design, University of Melbourne “NETSLINGER HIRO CUSTOM” 3rd Place Jazmin Horio, Exploratory Business, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa “Reseen” Congratulations to the winners of the APRU Digital Art Contest, “Level-Up Our World.” Students across the Asia Pacific submitted their original artwork which features the ability for digital arts to positively influence the gaming industry. Students were asked to submit their original artwork of cast of characters or game bosses which reflect students’ visions to shape an equitable, sustainable, and inclusive world. With 2.7 billion people playing games globally, the gaming sector has the potential to cut across geography and generations for the good of society. Games that have introduced new and diverse characters in the gameplay and feature scenic dystopian landscapes have reached mainstream popularity and raise the need to be more inclusive and sustainable. We thank the partners including: Moon Lab, a blockchain-based startup that specializes in making mass adoption of blockchain technology possible, Cyberport Hong Kong and The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology for their support of the students and this contest. We thank all the students for their participation in this competition and we look forward to a more inclusive and sustainable esports industry landscape of the future. For more information about the design contest, please visit here.
October 3, 2022more
Congratulations to the winners of the APRU Rampage Invitational Tournament
Congratulations to the winners of the APRU Rampage Invitational Tournament. Revisit the tournament finals on YouTube: Students in the Asia Pacific Rim to participate in the Rampage Invitational Tournament to build community and connectivity through competition. In a 5v5 Valorant title, students were inspired to connect and support for one another. APRU Rampage Invitational Tournament gave students an opportunity to build community across borders and universities to participate in competitive and exclusive tournament series. We thank the partners including: adidas, Planet9, a global esports community platform for gamers and launched by Acer in early 2020, Cyberport Hong Kong and Nexten for their support of the students and this tournament. We thank all the 70 students, 14 teams, from 8 universities for their participation in this tournament and we look forward to providing more opportunities for working together across borders. Winners: Asia region: Puffy Gang from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Latin America region: eSports Uchile from Universidad de Chile, Chile North America region: UHEsports from University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, USA List of Students from Winner Teams 1st Place of Asia: Puffy Gang Nanyang Technological University Singapore Gavin Wong Tan Wei Ang Japhet Tan Edan Kang Ivan Goh Lee Keat Wee 2nd Place of Asia: HKU SPACE Hong Kong SAR 1st Place of Latin America: eSports Uchile Universidad de Chile Chile Nicolás Alexander Figueroa Tangol Alexis Miguel Garcia Valdés Pedro Antonio Quevedo Villalobos Alfredo Alejandro Castillo Gutiérrez Clemente Ignacio Pizarro Schwerter Jorge Alexsander de beró Droguett Vargas 2nd Place of Latin America: Borregos GDL Tecnológico de Monterrey Mexico Jaime Yael Carillo Bejar Pedro Mariscal Parrilla Carlo Eduardo Renteria Toussaint Jorge David Limón Otañez Eric Oswaldo Valencia de los Cobos Santiago Mercado Acosta 1st of North America: UHEsports University of Hawai’i at Mānoa USA Cody Oshiro Kodi Young Michael Johnson Tate Tamaye Kaveh Esfahani 2nd of North America: UBC Blue The University of British Columbia Canada Arjun Arunprakash Arnold Ying Charles Guo Adam Kwok Matthew Ng For more information about the tournament, please visit the event webpage.
August 29, 2022more
Graduation Ceremony and Final Presentations of Esports Fellowship Program 2nd Cohort leaves participants in awe
The successful completion of the Esports Fellowship Program 2nd Cohort was marked in late-June with final presentations and a graduation ceremony that left a deep impression on participating students, educators, and professionals. Led by Tecnológico de Monterrey in partnership with Cyberport, the APRU Esports Fellowship Program is an international network of student leaders engaged in next-generation learning experiences that support the growth of healthy, vibrant Esports communities. The Esports Fellowship Program 2nd Cohort was comprised of six monthly workshops from January-June 2022. Workshops were student led and ranged in topic from Marketing, Promoting, Sponsorship, and Broadcasting / Streaming, to Game Design. “Cooperation has been so visible and so amazing, with such as level of commitment and professionalism,” said Pille Kustala, Professor for International Business at Tecnológico de Monterrey, in her graduation address. “I have no doubt that all of the student participants will have a great future in professional esporting,” she added. Christopher Tremewan, Secretary General of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU, congratulated students on their deepening leadership in their universities and across the region. “And we find that you, the students, are already leading as innovators and gamechangers in creating the esports ecosystem. We thank you for sharing your insights on the ecosystem in this program with your peers from around the world. We hope this leads you to understand the ecosystem broadly and the many social implications and its potential use for social health, problem-solving global challenges, and diversity and educational pathways to other careers. APRU is privileged to have Tec de Monterrey, Mexico as the host for this fellowship program, with it’s global reputation in pedagogical leadership and educational technology we are able to make significant strides.,” Tremewan . Paula Cánepa, International Business Development Director at Spain’s Esports league LVP – Liga de Videojuegos Profesional, shared her impressions when witnessing the students being proud of their projects and investing a great deal of commitment. “For us from the industry, this is exactly what is needed, so please keep going,” Cánepa said. Mark Candella, Director of Student & Education Programs at Twitch Student program, which fosters sustainability and increase professionalism in Esports, was also visibly impressed by the success of the Esports Fellowship Program2nd Cohort. “I am humbled, I am inspired, and I have goosebumps thinking about the beautiful future that educators, students and educational institutions are creating,” Candella said. “And this is not just feeding into Esports but into the many different industries that are upgraded through tapping into creative content developed by the Esports sector,” he added. Cyberport, owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government, is an innovative digital community with over 1,500 start-ups and technology companies. Participating Universities were: Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU), Vladivostok, Russia Keio University, Tokyo, Japan National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey (TEC), Mexico University of British Colombia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, United States Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Honolulu, United States University of Washington (UW), Seattle, United States Zhejiang University (ZJU), Zhejiang, China For more information about APRU Esports Program, please visit here. For more information about APRU Esports Fellowship Program 2nd Cohort, please visit here.
June 30, 2022more
Congratulations to the Winners of the APRU VSE Earth Day Challenge!
Original Post on APRU VSE The APRU Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) Program commemorated Earth Day 2022 by challenging students across the Pacific Rim to share their creativity through art to highlight the Earth Day theme, “Invest in Our Planet.” Congratulations to the winners: Ng Hei Yi (The Chinese University of Hong Kong), Daniela Álvarez (Universidad de Chile), and Leung Pui Yee (The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology). Twenty-four students across 13 APRU universities submitted inspiring entries ranging from poetry, videography, to graphic design. The winning entries and four other featured entries are showcased on this page. The APRU VSE Program has invested in planting 30 trees for every entry we received and together, we’ve planted 720 trees in Asia-Pacific communities most at-risk from climate change and environmental degradation. Adding 10% more green cover in cities and towns could potentially reduce the surface temperature of the area by 2.2 °C. As an essential part of the global economy, our efforts in improving the livelihood of our forests have cumulative effects as they provide tens of millions of jobs that are a vital part of the food chain, and are the source of over 28,000 species of plants used in medicines. The pressing needs of our planet require much more than money to reverse the effects of climate change and environmental hazards. As a network of universities we believe we have a great potential to shape the future healthy planet through high quality research innovation and educating the next generation of students which have the last chance to save the planet. We thank all the students for their contributions, please find the winning entries below. The VSE Central Office will contact the winners shortly for prize collection. The APRU Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) Program, led by The Chinese University of Hong Kong, makes international education accessible by allowing students to take academic courses and participate in co-curricular programs without the need to leave home. It opens up international education for all students by providing an immersive virtual student exchange experience through digital technologies and platforms and creating encounters with new ideas, cultures, experts, academics and students from around the world. For more information about the winning and featured Entries, please visit here.
June 17, 2022more
Congratulations to the winners of the APRU Student Esports Paper Competition
Congratulations to the winners of the APRU Student Esports Paper Competition, please see their names, entries, and video presentations below. The APRU Student Esports Paper Competition welcomed papers from undergraduate students across the Asia Pacific Region in three categories, Business Models for the Esports Industry, Esports for Social Good and Health/Wellness in Esports. The purpose of the paper competition was to support Esports as an academic area of study. We encouraged students to have innovative and quality research in the Esports field, as well as, promote the long-term investment of Esports research which will enrich students’ and universities’ resources and knowledge sources in an emerging field. Winning students have won a $3,000 USD Scholarship and the runner-up in each category has won a $1,000 USD Scholarship as well as being published in a special edition of the International Journal of Esports. We thank Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited for their support of the competition and look forward to enriching students’ experiences in esports now and in the future. Please find the special issue available at: Papers were presented at the APRU Metagame Conference 2021 on the second day of the DELF (Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum). Winners were chosen by a panel of judges and a live audience vote. Our deepest gratitude goes to the judges for their contributions to the development of this competition for giving their time to review papers.Winners were chosen by our panel of judges and a live audience vote. Our deepest gratitude goes to the judges for their contributions to the development of this competition for giving their time to review papers. Mr Tom Dore, Head of Education, British Esports Association Mr Terence Leung, Senior Manager (Esports and Youth Team), Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited Mr Timothy Shen, Founder and Investor, Yesports Media Limited Dr Aaron Koshy, Chief Editor, International Journal of Esports Mr Sherman Cheng, APRU Secretariat Winner Entries Business Models for the Esports Industry 1st Place Title: Paving the Road: Exploring Esports Models and Marketing Opportunities in University Student: Zachary McKay University: The University of British Columbia (CANADA) 2nd Place Title: Two Islands in the Pacific Student: Reyn Seki University: University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (USA) Esports for Social Good 1st Place Title: Esport’s Legacy of Social Good Student: Kaden MacKay University: The University of British Columbia (CANADA) 2nd Place Title: Women’s experience of sexism and objectification in the eSports and gaming community Student: Gabdulkhaeva Leysan, Suprun Elizaveta, Malenkova Elizaveta University: Far Eastern Federal University (RUSSIA) Health/Wellness in Esports 1st Place Title: The Psychological Impacts of eSports Gaming: A Detriment or a Lifeline in Disguise? Student: Rosarita Ridhwan De Cruz University: National University of Singapore (SINGAPORE) 2nd Place Title: E-Sports: Motivations and Life Goals Student: Liaw Yan Xin, Seah Kia Luck, Mah Kim Chuan, James University: National University of Singapore (SINGAPORE) More information about the competition at here Revisit the student paper competition presentation on YouTube:
May 28, 2022more
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, 2022more
APRU on UNESCO News: New report “Moving minds: Opportunities and challenges for virtual student mobility in a post-pandemic world”
February 27, 2022more
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, 2022more
APRU Esports Fellowship Program Welcomes the 2nd Cohort of Student Leaders
The APRU Esports Fellowship Program completed the orientation session for its 2nd Cohort on January 22, readying participants for the cohort’s first workshop in March. Led by Tecnológico de Monterrey and in partnership with Cyberport, the APRU Esports Fellowship Program is an international network of student leaders engaged in next-generation learning experiences that support the growth of healthy, vibrant Esports communities. The program places students in internships and jobs and cultivates an alumni network that is accretive to both the fellowship and APRU Esports participating universities. Cyberport, owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government, is an innovative digital community with over 1,500 start-ups and technology companies. “Whereas the program’s 1st Cohort involved seven universities and 38 students, the 2nd Cohort is today welcoming eleven universities and 69 students, reflecting that universities and people are keen to come aboard,” said Pille Kustala, Director of International Business at Tecnológico de Monterrey. “Having completed six workshops and five capsule projects during the 1st Cohort, students have become familiar with each other and everybody is excitedly anticipating the 2nd Cohort,” she added. Terence Leung, Senior Manager of Esports and Youth Team of Cyberport, pointed out that Cyberport and APRU have since 2020 been cooperating to promote the esports industries to students and nurture talents. Leung noted that Cyperport and APRU have jointly conducted two metagame conferences, APRU’s 1st global esports tournament, an esports paper award as well as the APRU Esports Fellowship Program. “Although Hong Kong is relatively new to esports development, we have many advantages, such as good infrastructure and experience in hosting largescale events, and the Hong Kong government has identified esports as an economic sector with good growth potential,” Leung said. “We are very confident that our joint efforts can maximize impact in fostering this promising industry together,” he added. Motohiro Tsuchiya, a professor of Graduate School of Media and Governance at Keio University in Japan and Deputy Director at Keio University Global Research Institute (KGRI), shared that although he is not an esports player, he clearly sees the need to make students familiar with the industry. “Japan is game-friendly country, as reflected by the esports population keeping growing despite the overall population declining every single day,” Tsuchiya said. The Fellowship Program’s 2nd Cohort features student-led workshops on topics such as, marketing, promoting and sponsorship, broadcasting, streaming, and game design. It features informal networking sessions to support students in developing an international network of next generation leaders. The program will also bring in esports experts and leaders to share their experiences in the industry and provide their expertise. Finally, the program will also feature a tournament to further university esports clubs’ international recognition. The 2nd Cohort’s Graduation Ceremony and Final Presentations are scheduled for June. More information about APRU Esports Fellowship Program 2nd Cohort at here.
February 16, 2022more
UP hosts the first virtual APRU Undergraduate Leaders’ Program
Download and view the post-event report here. The University of the Philippines (UP) successfully hosted the first virtual APRU Undergraduate Leaders’ Program 2021 with the theme, “Sahaya: Science and Arts, Harnessing the Youth’s Advocacies” from 18 – 29 October 2021. A total of 29 undergraduate students from 13 participating universities located in the Asia and the Pacific participated in the 12-day program. The Opening Ceremony was graced with Hon. Loren Legarda, 3-term Senator, Deputy Speaker, and Representative, Lone District of Antique and Dr. Howarth Bouis, Director of HarvestPlus (2003 – 2016) as the keynote speakers along with UP Officials, President Danilo Concepcion, and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maria Cynthia Rose Banzon Bautista and APRU Secretary General, Dr. Christopher Tremewan. The UP Concert Chorus also gave a heartwarming performance of “I’ll Be There” and at the end of the program, participants were able to have a glimpse of the University of the Philippines and its constituent units through a virtual campus tour. For the succeeding days, different academic units of the university facilitated workshops and activities with topics on Digital Literacy and Critical Digital Literacy, Producing Vlogs, Holistic Habitation, Flourishing Life through Creativity and the Arts, Ensuring Food Security through Sustainable Production and Good Nutrition, Role of Biodiversity in Resilient Development, and Policy and Governance. Aside from the insightful workshops, a Global Cultural Activity entitled Sahaya Saya! was also held wherein the participants were able to showcase their own culture and interesting facts about their home country. The participants were grouped into four as they create their vlog as an output for the program. Workshops on production including pre- and post-production were facilitated by TVUP and they have assisted the participants in finalizing their respective outputs. A panel was also invited to provide comments and suggestions on the vlog concepts of the participants. During the closing ceremony, participants were able to witness performances highlighting the Philippine Culture from the UP Concert Chorus for their rendition of “Kruhay”, “Hamon ng Kasalukuyan” by Kontra-GaPi, and a special performance by Asst. Prof. Eman Jamisolamin of the College of Music of the University of the Philippines Diliman. Aside from these performances, the vlogs made by the participants were also presented. As the last day of the program, Mr. Jonas Angelo Abadilla of the University of the Philippines Diliman and Mr. Kun Woo Park of Korea University delivered the response on behalf of the participants of Sahaya 2021. Sahaya 2021 was then formally closed with a message from Dr. Grace Javier Alfonso, Executive Director of TVUP and the Chair of the Local Organizing Committee along with a highlights video that wrapped up all the workshops and activities for the past 12 days. The APRU ULP 2021 Sahaya will not be possible without the support of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), the APRU ULP 2021 Local Organizing Committee, TVUP, and the UP Office of International Linkages. To view more information about the program and to watch replays of the sessions, you may visit https://apru-ulp.org/. Resources (Student vlogs) GROUP 1 – THE CHAMPIONS Topic: Are you overconsuming your planet? GROUP 2 – THE YOUTH ADVOCATES Topic: Taking the First Step GROUP 3 – AvocaDO! Topic: Youth Volunteers for Edu-e-Work GROUP 4 – MMACAS Topic: Happy Land For more information about the program, please visit Undergraduate Leaders’ Program. For more information about ULP 2021, please visit the event webpage.
January 24, 2022more
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, 2022more
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, 2022more
Congratulations to the 1st Cohort of the APRU Esports Fellowship Program Participants
November 20, 2021more
Esports Webinar Series by YESPORTS and APRU helps exploring career opportunities
Global esports career development platform YESPORTS and APRU recently convened five Asia Pacific Esports leaders in webinar series to empower students, administrators, and university leaders to make the most informed decisions about participation in Esports and assist in exploring students’ career opportunities for the future. On the 3-session agenda held July 7-28 were Career Plan For Young Gamers; Esports Player Contracts: Common Clauses And Potential Legal Issues; and Marketing Strategies in Esports. The Esports Industry Requires a Multi-disciplinary Skillset Speakers at Session 1, Dr. Baro Hyun, founder of an unprecedented Esports advisory practice at KPMG Consulting, Japan; and Joe Jacko, the League of Legends Head Coach at the University of Southern California, shared their Esports career pathway and gave suggestions on personal Esports career development. Jacko recalled how he started his Esports carreer with winning over US$20,000 in sponsorships with teams he had created. “That helped me to sort out coaching positions in universities across the country, from Delaware to California,” Jacko said. “It allowed me to take a dive into all the important issues and to directly tie my academic pursuits to gaming and Esports,” he added. Inequalities in Esports and Unionization of Players Speaker at Session 2, Mathew Jessep, Senior Fellow, The University of Melbourne, and Principal Lawyer, Game Legal, informed the contractual relationship between Esports teams and players and gave an idea on how these contracts can take shape and be implemented. Jessep shared his experiences of building his own career from a sports lawyer and expanding to esports. “Seeing esports through a sports law lens, I saw many cross issues, such as sports governance and sports integrity,” Jessep said. “But I also identified some gaps, which I have since been trying to address,” he added. Jessep provided a summary of notable judgements which provide a basis for players’ rights. While the outcomes of such judgements have a long way to go with regard to adopting practice into policy reform, Jessep offered examples where governments and players’ unions and associations have opportunities to take on a bigger role in providing support and services to players across the spectrum of the industry. Marketing Strategies in Esports Session 3 focused on marketing strategies. Aiman Arabain, Founder, NAJIN ESPORTS Streamer Content Creator; and Kamilla M. Sumagui, Team Owner of The Refuge Esports and formerly PH Bandits Management of UCLA PH, spoke at Session 3, provided first-hand experiences, as industry professionals, about building careers in Esports. “When I first got into the Esports business I had been the manager of the National Federation of Cycling [of the Philippines] and found that there were a lot of hindrances in the Esports scene, such as lack of knowledge in marketing and business management,” Sumagui said in Session 3. “People saw a lot of potential in my expertise, and now I am sitting here and am happy to share my expertise with a larger international audience,” she added. Summary of the Webinar Series The Esports Webinar Series involved YESPORTS and APRU pointing out that with an average retirement age of 25 for professional gamers, a career in Esports has been long stigmatized. However, with much more robust career offerings throughout the entire ecosystem, players can now see beyond the gamer role as viable career pathway. More information about the webinar series and Revisit the webinar recordings >>
August 23, 2021more
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, 2021more
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 [email protected] +852 6514 9262 Natalie TT Wong [email protected] +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, 2021more
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, 2020more
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 [email protected] PLUG: Marisa Lam [email protected]
November 16, 2020more
APRU E-Sports Apprenticeship
September 15, 2020more
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, 2020more
Quarantunes Student Music Competition
APRU is pleased to announce the winners of the Quarantunes Student Music Competition designed to inspire hope for the future. We have received 108 impressive entries, over 400 students from 24 leading research universities and 13 economies of the Asia Pacific participated. The top winners have been selected from a shortlisted of entries by popular vote. Top entries reflect highest responses on Facebook and the voting form. All participants were subject of review according to competition Terms and Conditions. The Quarantunes student music competition offered students a chance to inspire each other and our communities by making music. Students were challenged to help us see beyond current difficulties, come together in mutual support, and strengthen the determination and hope for the future. We thank all of the participants for sharing their talent, creativity, and collaboration which has inspired our communities across the Asia Pacific to have hope for the future even during this uncertain time. 1st Prize (tied): “Get Down” National Taiwan University and The Chinese University of Hong Kong Prize: USD 2500 Team Members: Chaichon Wongkham, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Yen Wei Kuang, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Tsou, Yi-Hsu, National Taiwan University Hsu Tung, National Taiwan University 1st Prize (tied): “Somos Más” Tecnológico de Monterrey Prize: USD 2500 Team Members: José Rubén Villicaña Ibargüengoytia Frida Berenice Rangel García 3rd Prize: “Six Feet Apart” University of the Philippines Manila Prize: USD 2000 Team Members: Alicia Bracamonte Victor Ablan Kyle Delfin Special Prize: “Golden Girl” University of Southern California Prize: USD 1000 Team Members: Ben Ragasa Maddie Wu Special Prize: “Homenaje a Lucho Bermúdez” Universidad de los Andes Prize: USD 1000 Team Members: Gabriel Collazos Didier González Miguel Ángel Hoyos Jhon Jerez Sergio Meneses Ian Middlenton David Pérez Manuel Pinto Santiago Prada Valeria Rocha Andrés Sabogal
August 5, 2020more
University of Malaya takes the lead on the APEC University Leaders’ Forum 2020
APRU and the University of Malaya have kicked-off planning for the APEC University Leaders’ Forum 2020. The forum is set to occur on November 9, 2020 in Kuala Lumpur as an official side meeting of the APEC CEO Summit and Leaders’ Week. APRU Secretary General, Dr Christopher Tremewan met with Vice Chancellor Datuk Dr Abdul Rahim Hashim, Professor Kamila Ghazali, Provost/ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic & International), Professor Yong Zulina Zubairi, Associate Vice-Chancellor (International), Professor Yvonne Lim, Director, International Relations Office, and Ms. Rohaizan Ramli (International Relations Officer) to discuss the development of the Forum with the leadership of the University of Malaya. Dr Tremewan also met with Jukhee Hong (Executive Director) and Ungku Illya Zafri (Head of Secretariat) of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) 2020. APRU is looking forward to further collaboration.
January 21, 2020more
Cities and Refugees – 2019 Global Student Design Ideas Competition
By the end of 2017, around 68.5 million people were forcibly displaced, about half of which were children. Of this figure, over 25 million people escape to other countries, and as a result become refugees. Most refugees do not live in camps – forced displacement is now an urban phenomenon which creates a range of challenges. To address this global challenge, the Cities and Refugee Student Design Competition was hosted by the Rapid Urbanisation Grand Challenge at UNSW Sydney, with Australian Red Cross, ARUP International Development, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the APRU – Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Program Hub (APRU SCL). The opening night of the APRU SCL Conference 2019 at UNSW Sydney featured a public keynote address from Brett Moore, Head of Shelter and Settlements at UNHCR. His talk titled “Cities & Refugees: Complexity and Conflict: how can we deliver inclusive and sustainable urban development in challenging contexts?” served as a prelude for the announcement of the competition winners. Twenty-eight entries from fifteen economies took the challenge. We thank all judges for the incredibly difficult task of choosing the winners. Find out the challenge here. Prize winners 1st place (AUS$5000) Merapatkan Selayang: A Bridging Intervention for Social Integration Yale-NUS College Lucy Madeline Davis, Sharan Kaur Sambhi, Ernest Tan Sze Shen, and Nguyen Ngoc Luu Ly Physical Sciences (Chemistry), Anthropology, Urban Studies, and Urban Studies 2nd place (AUS$2500) Welcome to the Agora Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et de Paysage de Bordeaux & Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Strasbourg Cécile Elbel & Ipek Erker 3rd place (AUS$1000) Threshold Conditions UNSW Sydney Samuel Jones Masters of Architecture Honorable mentions University of Auckland Dennis Byun, Angela Lai, Harry Tse, Todd Min, Sungoh Choi, John Woo, Scott Ma, and Jingyuan Huang Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) representing Portal Studio Project title: Train-sition Shahid Beheshti University Solmaz Arzhangi, Sara Arzhangi, and Narges Rajaeipour Post-disaster reconstruction in architecture and urban study, Master of Architectural engineering and Master of Architectural engineering Project title: Towards a New Life University of Technology Sydney Allan Soo Project title: Case Study: Sydney
September 10, 2019more
Student leaders present scalable community solutions
Published in University World News. The empathy, connectedness and flexibility skills taught to students during an innovative international problem-solving programme at the University of Oregon (UO) in the United States have manifested themselves in three prize-winning solutions to community problems. These focused on environmental degradation, social inequality and public health, with students having 10 days this month to develop ground-breaking ideas for action at an Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Undergraduate Leaders’ Program. These were developed after students attended skills-building workshops and gained effective research tools, while working in small groups to devise solutions to specific problems. Winning solutions were selected by three community organisations from UO, based in Eugene. Shared characteristics included being affordable and easily implemented using resources that were already in place. Each solution would start with a pilot programme, which could be practically scaled-up to serve larger population areas as resources increased. Representing BRING Recycling, a non-profit dedicated to reducing waste, Christine Scafa selected ‘environmental degradation group three’ as a winner. Chau Tran (University of California, Irvine), Eliza Amstutz (University of California, Los Angeles), Dai Wei Ouyang (Tsinghua University, Beijing), Nakita Daniel (University of Auckland, New Zealand) and Sara Espinosa (UO resource student) devised a two-day summer programme designed to teach elementary school students about how to be more mindful of their food consumption. The group’s solution included an in-class workshop and facility tour to show the behind-the-scenes process of food production to encourage healthy eating and leaving a clean plate. To encourage composting, the students would be given personalised food collection bins to take home. Potential to influence older generations “This solution is in line with BRING’s mission of education – accessing people through children is one thing we think is very important,” said Scafa. “Children have potential to influence older generations if they have the resources to do so.” The plan was a response to BRING research that indicated that 19% of the total waste stream by weight and volume in Lane County, Oregon (where the city of Eugene is located), is food. Furthermore, up to 40% of food in the United States that is grown or imported for consumption is never eaten. Visiting a community garden would help children realise the effort that goes into producing food, as well as encourage them to eat fresh food. The educational effort would start with one local elementary school and would involve children aged 10-11 (called ‘fifth graders’ in North America), who would in turn share this information and excitement about avoiding food waste with six- to seven-year-olds (first graders). As for the public health section, judges representing the HIV Alliance group included Jade Lazaris, Leland Hilarides and Mary Wasson. They chose the solution presented by ‘public health group one’ among the groups which were tasked with reducing the rates of new HIV infections in rural communities in Oregon. This team focused primarily on influencing males due to research which shows that 88.12% of HIV in Oregon affects males who engage in sexual contact with other males. Rural residents often view HIV testing negatively, so one challenge was to remove this stigma while also providing access to information and testing for as many people as possible. Dai Wei Huang (National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan), Rosie Lee (University of Auckland), Seaun Ryu (Korea University, South Korea), Jessica O’Neill (University of Oregon) and Colman Murphey (UO resource student) proposed an initiative to provide a free health-testing booth at highly attended community events, such as Oregon’s Crook County Fair and the Pendleton Round-Up, a nationally known annual rodeo. Affordable solution The affordable solution presented by this group would train partners already providing public health services to rural communities in providing discreet HIV testing and education. The booth would offer some sort of incentive to the public to increase their interest in general health testing, including blood pressure and cholesterol, with an option for HIV, rather than a booth with a prominent HIV-related logo singling out HIV testing. Two local public health partners already have a booth at the Crook County Fair but have not previously offered any health testing at the fair. “One in 13 people are unaware of their HIV status,” said O’Neill. “That’s a relatively large number and we felt that ambushing these communities with sensitive info was not the best way to increase testing.” Given that the cost of this testing effort would be just US$1,800 for equipment and training, estimated at US$1.80 per test, and that it would use booth infrastructure and staff that was already in place, Hilarides welcomed this effort as one that his organisation could undertake right away. Regarding the idea on the promotion of social equality, Lane Education Service District (LESD), an organisation that provides resources to Lane County, Oregon’s school districts, provided judges Kate Stoysich, from the Duck Nest Wellness Center (a holistic and alternative health centre), and Kendaris Hill, multicultural academic advisor and black/African American student retention specialist – both UO faculty. They chose ‘social inequality group three’ as their winning solution, addressing unequal access to education. Christal Juarez (University of California, Davis), Maria Gunji (Osaka University, Japan), Celine Koh (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), Phoebe Yang (University of Sydney, Australia) and Mohammed Zaidan (UO resource student) researched redefining family involvement in schools. A 2017 study in Oregon quoted by participants identified a large disparity in academic outcomes for black students in the state versus their white counterparts. Studies comparing the families of white and black students revealed lower attendance by black pupils at elementary school events and fundraisers, even though many non-white families support academic success at home. Redefining parental involvement This solution involved providing an annual three-day workshop to train teachers to redefine parental involvement and recognise that while many families of colour are providing academic support to their children, this is not in ways that are always evident to school leaders, for instance visiting zoos or aquariums, or checking out books from libraries. One workshop would evaluate what parental involvement means and how to identify gaps in parental involvement. Workshop two would empower teachers to create a welcoming and comfortable environment for all parents and provide special training on supporting parents who may have had previous negative experiences with school authorities. Workshop three would equip teachers with tools for successfully communicating with all parents, including ones who cannot attend school functions due to other responsibilities such as working multiple jobs. To that end, this proposal suggests using an app called ClassDojo along with a teacher chatbot and daily updates on homework and quizzes. Training workshops run by LESD would commence in July during summer holidays, then be followed by an August technology set-up session and an introduction to ClassDojo for parents, followed by an end-of-first-semester evaluation. At the end of the year, students and parents would receive a pamphlet with tips on continuing to support education through the summer. This group estimated the pilot programme would reach 25 teachers and 521 students at Holt Elementary, a Lane County school with a high population of students of colour. Most valuable experience Maria Arteaga, a fourth-year managerial economics student from University of California, Davis, said working with students from around the world who were also passionate about their subjects was the most valuable experience she took from this programme. “We’re so passionate over so many different issues that in our home countries may be very different logistically but that also are more general, just like these three topics we faced here,” she said. “The most meaningful part of the workshops was being able to interact with other students. Even if there was a workshop I had done already, being able to learn from so many different students’ perspective was really valuable.” William Johnson, assistant vice provost for operations and innovations in the UO’s division of global engagement, praised the international group of 52 participating undergraduates for working hard and cooperating with people of “many different skills and backgrounds”. Johnson told University World News how impressed he was by the students’ professionalism.
July 27, 2019more
Learning a ‘human-centered’ approach to problem-solving
A ground-breaking collaborative international educational programme, staged at the University of Oregon (UO) in Eugene, United States, has pushed the participating 52 students to ally their intellectual research skills with empathy and practicality to deliver effective solutions to global problems. They have now entered the second week of an Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Undergraduate Leaders’ Program designed to foster innovative thinking and problem-solving. From 1 July through 12 July, UO has been hosting undergraduates from 30 Pacific Rim universities. They have been working in small groups to develop skills empowering them to improve their home communities’ social and environmental standards. As APRU Secretary General Christopher Tremewan wrote: “The cascading crises that confront the world require all the intellectual strength and social wisdom we can muster. This programme is a wonderful opportunity to spend a serious amount of time with other creative leaders to gain knowledge and build relationships that can incubate solutions.” Through small group workshops led by skilled facilitators, the students have been working through exercises and challenges to boost their leadership abilities and test their problem-solving know-how. A focus on team-building and resolution, for instance, led by a law school professor from UO, fed into a workshop on creating community led by a professor from the university’s business school. The UO’s Holden Center for Leadership and Community Engagement was a natural partner to provide experts to run a workshop giving an introductory view of leadership. Importance of empathy One principle being stressed in these sessions has been that a solution without empathy is doomed to fail. As a result, participants have learned how to understand the real, actual people for whom they are designing solutions through a workshop on ‘human-centred design’. On the second day of the programme, students met with Kiersten Muenchinger, UO product design professor. Human-centred design can encompass just about anything, including something as small as an app. When thinking of a human-centred solution to a particular problem, Muenchinger urged students to “make sure the problem you’re solving is not a made-up problem, but a problem you’re solving with the actual end-user – or the organisation or the people that the organisation is trying to help – in mind. You’re not just solving your own problem.” Muenchinger challenged the students’ assumptions about the human targets of their solutions. She said students looking at her standing in front of a class might assume that she is a well-dressed professional, but they would not know, for instance, what type of weather might most impede her commute to work. Grace Honeywell, innovative programmes coordinator for UO’s division of global engagement, has been trying to make such understanding work internationally – it is her role to develop innovative programmes encouraging global engagement and connecting students worldwide through international curricula. Honeywell said she reflected on the key values of leadership and what encourages innovative processes when developing the workshops. The concept of a daily theme for these sessions emerged: “Becoming a leader is not necessarily a linear thing,” she said. “You can’t easily track it. As I started looking at the programme itself, to me what made the most sense was to have an arc of sorts, for each day of the programme and the process of coming up with solutions to these challenges.” To that end, the organisers paired a theme with each day of the programme. The theme of the first day was ‘community’, which Honeywell said is “the basis of every positive environment”. That first day students worked through a conflict resolution exercise, which along with icebreaking, contributed team-building exercises designed to foster positive interactions, so that the next day the teams could jump into experiencing ‘empathy’. Adaptability and integrity The second week took students deeper, with themes of ‘innovation’, ‘iteration’, ‘adaptability’, ‘action’ and ‘integrity’ being rolled out. At each step, students were challenged to express their thoughts, and what assumptions these were based on. Each student became both a teacher of other students and engaged in purposeful learning themselves. As the students moved past the ideation phase into the implementation phase of their solution, they received tools for effective research from a UO science librarian. To learn how to present that research in an effective way, students participated in a morning workshop on how to be innovative presenters and communicators. Lauren Miller, the UO’s director of strategic communications and marketing, advised on making strong, memorable and persuasive presentations. This was clearly an important session, given that when Miller questioned the group about whether anyone considered themselves a skilled story-teller, no one raised their hand. Only two students thought they were persuasive, and many said they preferred not to give presentations but instead just wanted to be in the background of collaborations. Miller used visual slides with text and photos to augment messages on how to approach planning group – as opposed to individual – presentations, and she challenged the group to set a personal goal for the aspect of presenting they wanted to improve. “When I give presentations, people say I’m really quiet or I didn’t look at the audience so its less interesting,” noted Hana Nagura, a second-year culture, media and society student from Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. “I want to be louder, and be more confident.” Miller reassured her: “Confidence comes with practice.” Of course, presentations are better when using a mother tongue. Che-Wei ‘Jeff’ Chang, a fourth-year forestry and resource conservation student from National Taiwan University, stressed that English was not his first language, so when giving presentations he takes the safer route of putting more words on slides rather than delivering his message orally, because of concerns an audience may not understand him. However, he also would like to combine succinct messages on slides with insightful and compelling spoken words. “I want to improve. I want to say things more clearly, so they understand what I’m talking about.” Miller’s advice was that he should show others his slides and speaking notes ahead of a presentation to secure feedback on what he should say. Connecting with the audience During the second innovation workshop, UO’s Elly Vandegrift, a biology instructor and the associate director of its Science Literacy Program, led the group through exercises designed to get them thinking about connecting with their audience and distilling an appropriate message. There was laughter as Vandegrift placed the group in a circle and led them through a game called ‘Zip Zap Zop’. Participants pass an imaginary energy bolt around a circle, while trying to maintain a consistent energy and rhythm, using their whole bodies and making eye contact with the person they are passing to. She gave each person one minute to tell someone else something exciting they have learned or something they are working on. Then, time was given for the person to repeat that information back. Hana Nagura said she was surprised to hear the response because she said she forgot to share some important things and some of the recipient’s understanding, as related, did not seem to make sense. Teresa Trujillo-Camacho, a second-year psychology and social behaviour student at the University of California, Irvine, said she learned that messages do not have to be dumbed down. “You just have to put it into words that can be easily understood,” she said. Other students said listening to an audience and watching its reaction helps a speaker ensure their message is well understood. One UO undergraduate resource student participating in the programme was Mohammed Zaidan, a fourth-year political science and history student whose family is Jordanian. As he was working to encourage other students to be leaders, he learned a bit about leadership as well. “It was my role to be a guide and help my team,” he said. “I was trying to lead the way, but I would say that from this experience I learned a lot about leadership when it came to the idea of taking a step back [from active leadership]. The hardest part was taking a step back when the time was right.” Andrew Prasettya Japri, a third-year public health student from the University of Indonesia, contrasted the traditional lecture experience at his institution with the active learning in this UO programme. “In my country we always use the traditional approach,” he noted. “I like the way they give the workshops and the information to us here. They use some games to help us understand the materials. If you use a technique like that it will make the learning experience different. In my country I get bored studying for eight hours just sitting and listening, but here I can easily understand and remember what everyone is telling me.”
July 22, 2019more
Ground-breaking programme on ‘global’ problem-solving
Published by University World News Students from top Pacific Rim research universities have embarked on an innovative programme of problem-solving, designed to create fresh solutions on pressing socio-economic problems that leverage leadership skills and community contacts. The University of Oregon, in Eugene, Oregon, in the United States welcomed 52 undergraduate students from 28 universities based in the Pacific Rim region, including from the US, Canada, Indonesia, China, Japan, Australia and elsewhere. They were participating in the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Undergraduate Leaders’ Program, running between 1 July and 12 July. The association has 48 member institutions, including Tsinghua University, the National University of Singapore, UCLA, the University of Auckland, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, as well as the University of Oregon (UO). This ground-breaking programme has brought undergraduate students together to develop solutions for three intertwined social dilemmas: environmental degradation, public health and social inequality. Over the programme’s 10 days, students explore what leadership means and how they might enhance their home communities with those skills. After getting to know each other through workshops, such as exploring the concept of designing products, services or systems that retain their human-centred focus, the students were split into small groups to listen to presentations from three Eugene-based community organisations. The students are to use their new-found skills to try to combat a problem they have been assigned to tackle. To illustrate environmental degradation, BRING Recycling, a non-profit dedicated to reducing waste, spoke about the percentage of the local waste stream that results from food and construction. A representative of Lane Education Service District, which supports 16 school districts in Lane County, Oregon, addressed social inequality with a presentation about equalising access to quality education, primarily for students of colour and low-income students. A representative from HIV Alliance spoke about how to reduce rates of HIV, in particular across rural communities, to highlight a specific public health concern. The participants have been charged with presenting solutions for evaluation by these community organisations, who will choose their favoured solution. Next generation of leaders “We want to help these students build up skills that will hopefully be applicable in whatever field they go into, to help create the next generation of leaders and problem-solvers around the Pacific Rim,” said William Johnson, assistant vice provost for operations and innovations in the UO’s division of global engagement. “We also want to give them a real-world problem that is both hyper-local to the community they’re coming into and a truly global problem that they might experience in their home communities.” This is the ninth year APRU has run such a conference. Each year, it assesses proposals from member institutions and chooses a winning university to host the programme. The UO conference has taken a fresh turn: earlier years of the conference, held at other universities, were less student-led and were instead more focused on bringing students together to experience the university along with training and lectures. More experiential Johnson was proud about how this UO event is approaching problem-solving in this student-centric way. “It’s gotten less focused on the traditional lecture model over the years of the conference, but there’s nothing approaching this level that we’ve seen in the past,” he told University World News. “While there are other experiential learning and problem-solving conferences like this around the world, or that address similar types of challenges, we haven’t seen anything quite like this done before and so far, it appears to be very successful.” The UO conference theme is ‘Fresh Approaches to a Gordian Knot: Student Leaders Untangle Pacific Rim Environment, Health and Inequality Challenges’. Over the course of the programme, participants work with UO faculty leaders in skills-building workshops and guided group time to hone a solution to each of these three problems. A problem such as homelessness, for example, was not considered as a focus because it manifests itself very differently in different societies. Prior to the conference, the students were divided into three larger groups, based on their educational experience and interests, to tackle one of the three areas of concern. Each of the three disciplines has two faculty members, two graduate students and four upper division UO undergraduate students working with teams of four to five programme participants. Students have said they are excited about the experiential and interdisciplinary learning that the UO programme offers. “We don’t always get an opportunity to ask and give our opinion about our thoughts,” said Andrew Prasettya Japri, a third-year public health student from the University of Indonesia. “Here I feel that everything is two-sided. We can ask questions freely and they always use some kind of technique like games and ice-breaking. It’s very good to wake your brain up and get something like that.” The UO also received more applications for participating in this programme than other universities have received in the past. The programme also has participation from more APRU universities than ever before. The APRU Secretary General Chris Tremewan, from New Zealand; UO President Michael H Schill; and Eric Boggs, director of UO’s honours programme at its Lundquist College of Business, spoke on the opening day. Interdisciplinary perspectives Interdisciplinary learning is a strength of the University of Oregon – and it was anticipated by organisers that this could challenge some participating students, because many are from cultures where experiential learning is not the norm. Nevertheless, on the first day of presentations students appeared keen to embrace initial workshops on leadership and human-centred design thinking. One task was focused on small-group discussions on what leadership means, what type of people exhibit leadership skills and whether the attendees considered themselves leaders. The facilitator asked students to talk about whether they agreed with the statement, ‘Great leaders are born, not made’. One student, Yuka Hayakawa, a junior economics major from Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, said that she strongly disagreed with the statement. “No one is born a leader,” she said. “That’s why we’re all here, to learn how to be a leader.” Hayakawa was assigned to the social inequality group, and she hopes to parlay her experience in Oregon into a greater role in improving women’s leadership in Japan. “Japan is still a very male-centred society,” she remarked. “I want to give more opportunities for women’s leadership because women still do not have a high position in Japanese society, and it is difficult for women to participate in the workplace.” This year’s conference organisers intentionally selected challenges with interdisciplinary perspectives. For instance, while some students are focusing on a specific public health problem, the programme has a built-in structure to strongly encourage participants to view that problem through a social inequality or environmental perspective. Pitch practice At the end of the first week, each group will pair with groups from the other disciplines and they will practice pitch some of their solutions. Each group is tasked with helping other groups understand either the health aspect, the social inequality or the environmental aspect of their problem that they might not be considering. Photo by University of Oregon “It’s a really unique way of thinking about how all of these problems are interlocking,” said Johnson. “That makes sense from an academic perspective, but you don’t always see that approach in real problem-solving.” By the end of the programme, participants should develop a winning proposal in each discipline that is not just creative and feasible but impacts on the individual problem, along with an interdisciplinary perspective. Funding or implementing the solution is up to the discretion of the partner organisation. Even if the solutions do not end up being implemented in the real world, participation in the programme will have helped students think about what solutions might work as they return to their home countries and begin their own advocacy work. This is the first in a series of three weekly articles about this project. This article is part of a series on the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Undergraduate Leaders’ Program published by University World News and supported by the University of Oregon. University World News is solely responsible for the editorial content.
July 13, 2019more
APRU Inaugural Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Design Field School
Thirteen selected international students from APRU’s member universities participated in a two-week design field school in Indonesia led by HKU faculty staff and local partners, from August 27 to September 9, prior to the commencement of 2018 APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Conference. The school explored the uncertain landscape complexities, caused by urbanization, through examining a recent study that focused on the rapid modernization of landscapes and communities in East Java. A group presentation was given by the students during the conference’s dinner, addressing topics on eco-tourism, Gundih village, and marine debris in Indonesia. See travel blogs from Stuart and Mayeesha who just came back from the trip. Find out more about the field school here.
September 27, 2018more