Alliance of Guangzhou International Sister-City Universities Council Meeting Held on November 11, 2022
Nov 14, 2022

The annual Alliance of Guangzhou International Sister-City Universities council meeting was held on November 11, 2022. This meeting was attended by all 18 Alliance members. Western Sydney University President and Alliance Executive Chair Barney Glover and Guangzhou University President and Alliance Chair Wei Minghai shared it has been an exciting year and our Alliance would not be as strong as it is today without the leadership and support of all our members. The Alliance is also pleased President Glover has generously agreed to continue to serve as Executive Chair with Western Sydney University hosting next year’s meeting.          


Annual progress of the Alliance and plans for next year was assessed with the following a review of achievements and upcoming plans:  


2022 Progress Review    


Urban Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition:  

In-School Preliminary Competitions and the Online Semi-Final Competition was held in June with the Final Competition to be held in a couple of days on November 15. A total of 15 teams from the University of Coimbra, University of Padua, Western Sydney University, Guangzhou Medical University and Guangzhou University are competing for approximately 300,000 RMB in prize award money and additional benefits. Appreciation was expressed to the chair of this year’s competition, Professor Dughiero, our judging panel and our colleagues at the University of Padova for hosting this year’s competition.  


Joint Research and Publication Projects:  

Alliance projects have more than doubled from last year’s four projects to ten projects this year in eight fields. Faculty from eleven of our members shared a total of 500,000 RMB in research funding for this year.  


Digital and Entrepreneurship Academy:  

Digital and Entrepreneurship Academy programs quadrupled from four programs to sixteen programs this year. These programs attended by hundreds of Alliance students were made possible by faculty from the National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute”, the University of Coimbra, Tampere University, University of Coimbra, University of Quebec at Montreal, Western Sydney University, Durban University of Technology, Linkoping University, Charles Darwin University and Guangzhou University. Participating faculty are recognized for their generosity in making these Digital Academy programs possible.  


Micro-Credential and Certificate Program:  

The first Alliance micro-credential and certificate program began earlier this month. This program, Venture Makers “Collision”, builds skills in innovation and entrepreneurship for our students who face a rapidly changing world. Dr. Inu Rana and her colleagues were especially recognized for leading this project and Western Sydney University was recognized for their generosity in offering this certificate program free of charge to the students of our members. The Alliance hopes this pilot program will serve as a springboard for the development of more certificate, articulation agreements and the development of dual-degree and post graduate programs.  


International Conference on Tourism:  

The Alliance recently helped sponsor earlier this week’s “Creative Tourism, Regenerative Development and Destination Resilience” International Conference. Professor Duxbury from the University of Coimbra and Professor Bedard from the University of Quebec at Montreal were recognized for their leadership and the success of this international conference.  


In addition to these achievements over the past year, our members unanimously approved the further expansion of our Joint Research Projects, Digital and Entrepreneurship Academy and Entrepreneurship Competition to possibly include the University of Coimbra as next year’s host of the competition.  


Member recommendations received included the possibility of further increasing member research collaboration, more research in the fields of Materials and Health, opportunities for more visits among researchers; more study abroad opportunities; an opportunity for a certificate in sustainability being developed by an interested member; development of an annual activities calendar with a “menu” of all Alliance offerings; targeting the months of October, November, February, March, April, May and July for programs; and a more dynamic online presence promoting the competition on the website and social media to include a video of the final competition.  


During the Alliance meeting, members unanimously approved the following new projects and program proposals:  


(1) Micro-Credential Programs    

Following in the success of the pilot “Collision” micro-credential program, two next steps will include: (1) Develop with interested members more programs of this type and (2) Develop with interested members how these programs could possibly be integrated into their own academic offerings with the flexibility of adopting and offering course credit as permitted.  


(2) Post Graduate Program    

Develop a post graduate degree or certificate program hosted by an interested member in an identified field of mutual interest.  


(3) Additional International Symposiums    

Expand number of international symposiums from this year’s “Creative Tourism, Regenerative Development and Destination Resilience” to more this coming year on symposiums of mutual interest to possibly include the Maritime Silk Road and its Historical Impact on the Economy.  


(4) Student Exchange Program    

As called upon in the Alliance charter, develop student exchanges among our members. Students of Alliance members would more likely be interested in “Study Tours” of a couple of weeks as opposed to semester-long programs. Two possible programs include: (1) A continent (ie, Europe or Asia) specific “global study” tour which visits a variety of members where they take programs of interest and visit cultural sites of the various locations visited. Faculty from different members could be combined to teach during these tours and the first member visited could have the option of coordinating these tours; and (2) Guangzhou University could possibly host a Global Youth Entrepreneurship.  


(5) Joint Research Center    

Establish a Joint Research Center which is responsible for further coordinating, consolidating and anticipating outcomes of joint research and publications of our Alliance. This Center, hosted at Guangzhou University, works closely with the Secretariat Office in further focusing on the development of joint research in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, Entrepreneurship, Tourism/Smart Cities, Intelligent Technology, Life Sciences, Alternative Energy, Advanced Financial Technology, Material Science and other areas of mutual interest.  


The mission of the Joint Research Center of GISU is to complement and support GISU’s mission through further providing its member universities with science and knowledge that support the economic, social and sustainable development of their cities and regions. The Center is responsible for further developing and deepening research opportunities among our members, administering the current joint research and publication projects of GISU and applying findings for the greatest impact of success  


The Chair of the Joint Research Center is an appointed faculty member of Guangzhou University who is an academician with strong experience in research/publications and their application. In addition to the Chair, a board or advisory council consisting of six faculty and six business/industry leaders will be chosen from the member universities and their cities.  


(6) “Member City Spotlight” Program    

Under the umbrella of “sister-cities”, this proposal better connects Alliance members with city colleagues and the opportunity to better engage and support one another in promoting our sister-cities. This could begin by simply asking which of our members would be interested in providing a video of their city and perhaps an online panel presentation on their city and its work in sustainable urban development. This activity could be scheduled as part of the Digital Academy offerings. One city per month could be featured by those university members expressing interest. These videos and online panel presentations can be shared and promoted with our members and others, to include government and business representatives as well as media, as appropriate.  


(7) “Affiliate Members”    


Affiliate membership in the Alliance of Guangzhou International Sister-City Universities (GISU) is open to universities and associations in non-sister cities of Guangzhou which have made substantial contributions in the fields of international collaboration and urban sustainability.  


Candidates for Affiliate Membership must be nominated by either a GISU member or the Secretariat Office and approved by an appointed membership committee of one representative from each of the seven founding members (Linkoping University, Guangzhou University, University of Coimbra, University of Padova, University of Quebec at Montreal, University of Tampere and Western Sydney University). This membership committee sets specific limits as to the number of Affiliate Members accepted each year.  


Affiliate members enjoy the same benefits of members with the exception of voting rights. Should an Affiliate Member’s city become a sister-city of Guangzhou, they can be considered for full membership during annual Alliance meetings.  


Discussion of these new projects and programs included the idea of embedding further training throughout our Urban Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition for participants perhaps through another micro-credential program.  


Members also unanimously approved and welcomed our newest member, the University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City to our Alliance and the University of Padova was presented the Chairman’s Award in recognition of their outstanding work on hosting this year’s Urban innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition.  


Member program updates included a report from Professor Bedard from the University of Quebec at Montreal on the idea for our next international symposium to include Tourism and Biodiversity which presents our Alliance with many interesting opportunities.  


Next steps now call for members interested in the further development of these proposals to contact the Secretariat Office by December 1 to share which areas they wish to help further detail, build and potentially offer. Working groups will be formed in early December to begin work on the implementation of these programs and projects.  


As President Wei Minghai further shared, our Alliance continues to shoot for the stars as we strive to become an ideal model of international collaboration among universities serving their communities.  




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