The University of Hong Kong (HKU) welcomed academic leaders from institutions across Asia Pacific as it hosted the 27th Annual Presidents’ Meeting of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) with the theme of “From Invention to Implementation – Solutions for a Sustainable Future.” From June 25 to 27, 2023, the University became a hub for higher education leaders across the Pacific Rim to exchange views and inspire one another with solutions that can bring us closer to a sustainable future.
The event, spanning three days, attracted esteemed presidents and senior administrators representing leading universities to explore innovative ideas and strategies to achieve sustainable goals. It highlighted the need for collaborative efforts in tackling current and future sustainability challenges. The panel discussions centered on topics including the need for fostering research on low-emission energy production and green technologies, the vital role of higher education in providing research-based solutions for future generations and more.
During his welcome remarks, the President and Vice-Chancellor of HKU, Professor Xiang Zhang, emphasised the importance of addressing humanity’s negative impact on the planet. He noted that this cannot be addressed by any single nation but requires a collective effort. President Zhang also highlighted the need for continued commitment to sustainability policies across all areas of human activity.
“As university leaders, we acknowledge that the challenges stemming from climate change demand a united effort from all of us. The APRU network offers a platform for collaboration and the cultivation of innovative solutions to tackle these pressing issues. Through our discussions held during this President's Meeting, we have the opportunity to harness our collective expertise, empowering the next generation of thought leaders and change-makers with the mindset, knowledge, and skills to create a sustainable future,” said Professor Zhang.
During his opening remarks, Chair of APRU and Chancellor of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Professor Gene D. Block, noted the significance of this year’s meeting hosted by HKU as a platform for higher education leaders to share new ideas and seek solutions to pressing challenges in the region. "Creating a sustainable future requires all of us to work together in order to find lasting solutions,” Professor Block said. “This is consistent with the collaborative work we do as members of APRU. The bond between our Asia-Pacific universities allows us to address critical global issues that impact so much of our world – even well beyond the Pacific Rim.” He added.
During the panel discussions, university presidents and senior representatives highlighted the vital role of research universities in fostering innovative solutions and leveraging them to drive progress toward a sustainable future. The discussions also underscored the significance of providing equitable and inclusive educational opportunities to the next generation, empowering them to become agents in addressing our planet’s urgent challenges. Additionally, the speakers emphasised the critical roles universities play in developing a systematic approach to mitigate the globally interconnected risks and create solutions for achieving sustainable growth.
The three-day in-person event hosted by HKU proved invaluable in fostering renewed respect and trust among top university leaders, igniting a shared commitment to deeper engagement in shaping the future landscape of higher education. The event showcased the power of leveraging APRU's network to drive meaningful progress. Education leaders will harness this momentum to sustain collaboration and develop innovative solutions for the pressing challenges facing higher education and society at large.
“The conclusion of the meeting does not mark the end of our discussion. I believe that all APRU members will carry on our missions and work hand-in-hand towards sustainability,” said Professor Zhang in his concluding remarks. For Media enquiries, please contact: HKU Communications and Public Affairs Office Ms Melanie Wan (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) Ms Jaymee Ng (Email: email@example.com) Mr Kenneth Choi (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)