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2007 Asia Education Forum and Euro-Asia Education Cooperation Conference

On November 8-9, 2007 Asia Education Forum and Euro-Asia Education Cooperation Conference were held concurrently in Xi’an, China.

2007 Asia Education Forum and Euro-Asia Education Cooperation Conference (hereinafter referred to as Education Forum) were co-organized by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Boao Forum for Asia and the China Scholarship Council in collaboration with the training center of Education Forum for Asia.

Hitherto, the Education Forum for Asia has succeeded in holding four annual conferences including the Meeting of Initiators for the Education Forum for Asia. 2004, 2005, 2006 annual conferences have especially gained attention from the national leaders. With the efforts of the past fours years and support from all walks of life concerned with education the motif of “building bridges for Asian education” is gradually being realized.

Madam Chen Zhili, China State Councilor, gave a speech at the opening ceremony and met the initiators and guests; memorably at 2005 annual conference she made an impassionate speech to express the Chinese government’s will to build friendly relations and partnerships and perpetually deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with Asian countries. She also pointed out that education is a good field for cooperation, to seek win-win situations, and that China would be willing to contribute to promote the sustained and healthy development of Asian education, leading to a peaceful and stable Asia.

This year’s education forum hosted some of the forum initiators, Ministers of Education and international cooperation directors of the member states and the observer states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, ambassadors and counselors to China, university presidents, representatives of international organizations, and of enterprises.

Approximately 150 people attended the forum, which focused on seven topics over two days. Issues such as the ratification of education qualifications and human resources cooperation; the function of language training in promoting educational exchange between different countries; the function of enterprises in vocational education development; the function of distance education in the progress of Asian education; the offering of economics study courses at Asian universities; the establishment of Euro-Asia education cooperation and consultation mechanism; the start of a Euro-Asia scholarship program.

The second year of the “Asia University Students Photography Exhibition” co-organized by Education Forum for Asia, China Youth Daily and Yinhong Investment Corporation in collaboration with Renmin University of China was also held alongside the Education Forum.

The first “Asia University Students Photography Exhibition” initiated in September 2006 aimed to promote Asian culture, and showcase local customs and youth culture in Asia, so as to promote Asian university students’ artistic and aesthetic exchanges, in preparation for the Education Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2006. Students from 14 countries and areas such as Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Korea, Mongolia, Japan, Vietnam, Nepal, Singapore, Malaysia, Bengal, India, The United Arab Emirates, etc. took part in the competition which viewed approximately 700 photos. Afterwards, the jury selected more than 20 photos which were displayed at Asian universities for a year.

The theme of the second photograph exhibition was “Youth-Nation-Nature”. The exhibition awards show was held alongside the sending-off ceremony of the 2007 Education Forum.

 

The forum was of great significance for its achievements and social development successes

The Education Forum for Asia has accomplished a great deal in past four years since its establishment. Specifically, of the 2007 Forum, the Education Forum for Asia has:

 - built a mechanism for Euro-Asia education cooperation and consultation by enabling officials from Ministries of Education of member states and observer states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as well as ambassadors to Japan to come together to discuss and collaborate on promoting regional cooperation;

 - initiated a Euro-Asia scholarship program, for excellent students to have access to high-level education in the region. The program includes endorsement and donations from Xi’an International Studies University, Hunan Normal University, Hainan University, Beijing Guangcai Program Education Fund, Xi’an Gao Xin No.1 High School among others;

 - promoted the opening of an economics study course at universities and colleges all over Asia. This proposal was put forward by the director of the education department of the Ministry of Culture and Technology of Iran and gained a positive response from guests and representatives present at the conference;

 - continued the “Asia University Students Photography Exhibition” into its second year. The exhibition was a great success and it was proposed to set up an “Asia University Students Photography Alliance”;

 - promoted the international accreditation of academic degrees among the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the establishment of Confucius colleges.

 

We clearly know that in the 21st century the prosperity and development of the economy reflects more and more the features of a knowledge based economy. With this said, we can’t ignore the importance of education in promoting economic prosperity. Economic development determines educational development which in turn promotes or restricts economic development. At this moment education is exerting more and more influence upon economic development. At the ministers round table conference of the Education Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2006 Mr. Zhang Xinsheng, President of the Executive Board of UNESCO, noted that Asian countries were faced with the same challenges, opportunities and problems, which gave us various common viewpoints, for example, with the trend of economic globalization if a region wanted to exist and develop it had to have a common development plan so as to solve problems and gradually realize the need to build bridges between itself and its neighboring countries; the forum is also trying to assemble people from various circles through these bridges to promote regional education cooperation.

Mr. Fidel V. Ramos, an initiator of Education Forum for Asia, also held such a view that diversity in Asia is not a hindrance but an advantage; we should enrich and develop effective education cooperation through cultural activities, and make dynamic educational partnerships to realize our strategic education objectives and raise the equality of Asia education so as to raise our living standards and provide a better quality of life for the next generation.

This year’s forum was not only an event to promote openness between central Asia, Europe and China, but it was a significant moment for the common prosperity of Eurasia and will have effects that are felt worldwide.

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