The Role of ASEAN University Network in Raising the Awareness of University Students across Southeast Asia on the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The 7th ASEAN Student Leaders Forum (ASLF) and 3rd ASEAN University Network Student Affairs Network (AUN-SAN) Meeting have just been wrapped up last week. Yet, something different can be seen from the participants; both students and professors, both from the country and abroad.

ASLF and AUN-SAN Meeting this year discussed the opportunities and challenges for ASEAN in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

They were very enthusiastic to learn and know more about the Fourth Industrial Revolution. For some participants, it is the first time for them to hear about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, although for some others, it is their fifth, sixth meeting on the topic.

The long preparation of the conference has led to very fruitful discussions, encompassing the presentation on opportunities and challenges for each ASEAN countries in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, best practices by select universities on their strategies to help their students advance in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, to proposals by students themselves on how students across ASEAN can be better prepared in facing the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

All the discussions and the results of the conference have been neatly documented now. It is now up to AUN Member Universities and AUN Secretariat — if not other interested stakeholders around ASEAN, to take real steps and actions to execute the ideas that have been brought, deliberated, formed, and presented during the five-days conference.

ASEAN University Network (AUN), which is headquartered in Thailand, deserves a special credit for this meeting, as without AUN, this meeting is impossible, along with Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), the host of this year’s conference, which its effort and endeavor to prepare deserves similar amount of appreciation.

Having discussed several possible topics, the Directorate of Student Affairs UGM and Office of International Affairs UGM — with the assistance of previous AUN programs alumni, finally decided on the topic in late 2018.

It is also important for UGM — and also other AUN Member Universities — to establish a strong network of AUN programs alumni so that this kind of fruitful discussion on topics for future AUN programs can be repeated.

I myself was involved in AUN Education Forum and YSC 2018, in which the discussion also involved technology — although not directly talking about the Fourth Industrial Revolution. By attending AUN-EdForum, I know better when I was given the opportunity to contribute to the choosing of topic for this year’s ASLF. I hope that this occurrence can be repeated for the next hosts of AUN programs, meaning that participants from previous AUN events can contribute their ideas to future AUN events; to fill the gap and to prevent overlap.

AUN Secretariat should also play an active role in following up the real outcome stemming from the ideas nurtured in previous AUN programs. For this year’s ASLF only, there are at least five projects proposed by ASLF participants. Besides that, at least six universities presented their best practices on better preparing their students for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Although AUN has served as a very good platform to exchange ideas and information, AUN can do so much more, considering the support it has both from its Member Universities and partners abroad.

This year’s ASLF has successfully helped ASEAN in mainstreaming and increasing the awareness of students (specifically student leaders) across ASEAN on the opportunities and challenges in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

While more and more events like this should be held to increase awareness, a clear, real, and decisive action should also be taken by ASEAN, through its leaders, secretariat, foundation, and related agencies so that ideas can be translated into action.

International Relations enthusiast

International Relations enthusiast