I just returned from Singapore, where Stefan Bengtsson, head of Chalmers University of Technology, and I had the pleasure of attending the Asia-Pacific Association for International Education (APAIE) conference for a few very intense days. The theme of the conference was Future Ready Graduates, after the fourth industrialisation.
The conference included a roundtable discussion in which about 30 university heads from higher education institutions around the world participated. One clear message was that, regardless of where in the world we operate, we need to provide opportunities for lifelong learning. Opportunities for skills development by means of higher education is necessary in order for people in the labour market to be able to reinforce and revise their knowledge and skills to keep at pace with the development of society. Just consider the continuously evolving technologies, and artificial intelligence, which with great certainty will impose some severe demands on all of us.
Singapore is a very special place. For example, the country is home to some internationally top-ranked universities. At the National University of Singapore (NUS), we met with the new president, Professor Tan Eng Chye, to discuss an intensification of his university’s collaboration with both Chalmers and the University of Gothenburg. The University of Gothenburg has a central cooperation agreement with NUS, and the student exchange between our universities is among the most successful in Singapore. But more teachers and researchers should take advantage of the opportunity to work there, for example at CREATE, and at the Future Cities Laboratory, which is an interdisciplinary research centre focusing on sustainability. Researchers from all over the world can apply for a spot at the centre. Research concerning the ongoing global warming is a prioritised area.
At NUS, we also met with a couple of exchange students from the University of Gothenburg: Anastacia, who studies linguistics, and Gizem, who studies education. They talked about the multicultural environment and intense days at the University. They live on campus and have access to anything a student could possibly need – study rooms, cafes, shops, banks and sport stadiums. The campus offers plenty of grassy and green areas. In fact, it was built on a former golf course. Anastacia and Gizem think that more students at the University of Gothenburg should visit Singapore.
There is so much we could say about our visit to Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and our meeting with its new president, Professor Subra Suresh, and about our visit to Singapore Managerial University (SMU), which is involved in well-established cooperation with the School of Business, Economics and Law.
One key reflection is that Chalmers and the University of Gothenburg together and internationally can promote and strengthen the awareness of our work and what we have to offer. Together, we offer a broad, deep and complete environment for research and education.
Now it’s time for all of us to enjoy a couple of days off for Easter. I wish you a pleasant and relaxing weekend!
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