2023 Presidents’ Roundtable and Annual Meeting Held in Sydney, Australia on November 13, 2023
Nov 17, 2023

The Alliance of Guangzhou International Sister-City Universities celebrated its five-year anniversary in Sydney, Australia on November 13 during its Presidents’ Roundtable and Annual Meeting. These events were generously hosted by Western Sydney University.

The theme of the Presidents’ Roundtable was “Our Next Five Years” with members asked to share their ideas on what they wish to see the Alliance accomplish before our ten-year anniversary and how fellow Alliance members can be of support.

The following areas were identified with steering committees formed to work on each:

(1) Introducing AI into Various Systems

(2) More Micro-Credential Programs

(3) More Sustainability Programs to Include UNSDGs

(4) More Entrepreneurship Programs

(5) Offering Staff and Faculty Exchanges

(6) Offering Mentorship Programs

(7) Grant Writing Possibilities

(8) Offering Programs in Space, Technology and Agriculture

(9) Offering More Scientist-to-Scientist Programs

(10) Developing Articulating Curriculums

(11) Developing More Projects Addressing Global Challenges to Include Global Warming

(12) Broadening our Scope of Alliance Work to Include Schools, Business and Industry

(13) Strengthening Alliance Website to Include More Information Relevant to All our Members, Link Teaching and Research Material for Students and Create a Newsletter Digest of Student Work and Relevant Announcements

The annual meeting was moderated byWestern Sydney University Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Yi-Chen LanwithWestern Sydney University Vice Chancellor and President Professor Barney Glover AO, Executive Chair of the Alliance welcoming everyone. Guangzhou University President Professor Wei Minghai, Chair of the Alliance, also welcomed everyone to the meeting and provided the annual progress report.

Highlights of this progress report included notingour five-year anniversary accomplishments totaling a variety of 70 programs - 28 joint research and publication projects, four urban innovation and entrepreneurship competitions, 33 Digital and Entrepreneurship Academy programs, 3 micro-credential programs and 2 international symposiums.President Wei further sharedthat as the reputation of our Alliance grows, our peers increasingly look towards us as a successful model of international collaboration among universities serving their communities. All of these accomplishments are a direct result of the leadership and contributions of our members in the success of our Alliance.

Asummary of this year’s accomplishments included the popularity and strength of our Academy growth and the twelve programs offered this year by faculty from ten of our members; this year’sUrban Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition hosted by the University of Padova; Western Sydney University successfully launching our second Alliance micro-credential program “Sustainability: Think, Care, Do” this past March with more than 140 participants; an additional micro-credential program offered by our colleagues from the University of Padova for our competition semi-finalists; Western Sydney University’s international symposium on“Business Rejuvenation, Resilience, and Creativity in a Changing World and Post Pandemic World”; our14 joint research and publication projects selected this year; and our new “Member City Spotlight” program which will be launched later this year and feature the city of Guangzhou.

President Wei notedplans for next year whichcall for the Alliance to continue to expand geographically and programmatically with our projects across the board. This includes our annual Entrepreneurship competition, joint research and publication programs, Digital and Entrepreneurship Academy, international symposiums, micro-credential and Spotlight programs.

University of Padova Head of the Department of Industrial Engineering Professor Fabrizio Dughiero, Competition Director, recognized the Urban Innovation and Entrepreneurship 2023 Competition Winners which are included in a separate announcement from our colleagues at the University of Padova.

Members unanimously approved and welcomed our two new Alliance members which include Tunku Abdul Rahman University of Management and Technology presented by Vice President Dr. Loke and Guangzhou Maritime University presented by Vice President and Professor Bi Xiuying.

A presentation, which included a combination of project videos and PowerPoint slides on this year’s 14 Joint Alliance Research and Publication Presentations, was shared by the participating faculty.

Two new programs, co-presented by Western Sydney University Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Yi-Chen Lan, University of Coimbra Vice-Rector, Professor Joao Nuno Calvao da Silva and Alliance Secretariat Executive Director Steve Farr were proposed. These programs include the creation of an International Language and Cultural Committee and “Multicultural Hub” and creation of a Sustainability and Social Responsibility Program which encourages, shares and recognizes the community contributions of our members. Additional funding is being sought to implement these new initiatives with the theme of sustainability being added to our Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition.

During the Signing Ceremony, Bi-Lateral Agreements were signed between several universities with Guangzhou University President Professor Wei Minghai, Chair of the Alliance, and Western Sydney University Vice Chancellor and President Professor Barney Glover AO, Executive Chair of the Alliance signing a joint declaration on behalf of the Alliance.

The “Chairman’s Award” was presented to the University of Coimbra by Guangzhou University President Professor Wei Minghai. The University of Combra was recognized for their outstanding contributions which have included their work on four joint research and publication projects, offering four Digital Academy programs, winning Gold and Silver award student teams (SAFE-Pack and Rene Waste) in the 2022 Urban Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition, their Center for Social Studies organizing the 2022 international symposium “Creative Tourism, Regenerative Development and Destination Resilience” and today’s new project proposal for the creation of an International Language and Cultural Committee. University of Coimbra Vice Rector, Professor Joao Nuno Calvao da Silva accepted the award on behalf of the University of Coimbra.

A “Call for Action” was presented by Steve Farr, Executive Director of the Secretariat Office, on planning for 2024 which focused on the Alliance’s continued growth as it strengthens and deepens participation while calling upon each of our members to play a more active role. Members and their specific areas of expressed interest were shared with next steps outlined.

Closing Remarks by President Professor Wei Mingha, Chair of the Alliance, included Guangzhou University hosting both next year’s Urban Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition and the reappointment of Western Sydney University Vice Chancellor and President Professor Barney Glover AO, as our Executive Chair of the Alliance.

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