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VNU-HCM and the Second Vietnam-Japan Presidents’ Conference Kyoto 12 March 2012 Print

          The Second Vietnam-Japan Presidents’ Conference with the focus on “Enhancing Education and Research Cooperation between Vietnam and Japan” was organized at Kyoto University from March 12–13 (Mon-Tue), 2012. The Second Vietnam-Japan President’s Conference is a biannual event, followed the first Vietnam-Japan President’s Conference, entitled “Higher Education Cooperation: Possible Lessons and Practices Learned from Global Perspectives,” held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training from September 17 to18, 2009 in Hanoi City, Vietnam. Over 300 participants from over fifty Japanese and over seventy Vietnamese institutions, as well as representatives from government ministries of both countries attended the conference


           The second conference aims to build on the successful discussions and networking of the first event, and further enhance the academic collaboration between the two countries.  The conference is successful in functioning as a platform for the presidents and executive staff from several universities and educational institutions in both countries to share ideas, opinions and information on currently vital issues relating to international higher education and research, and university management. The conference is also a great opportunity for Japanese and Vietnamese higher education institutions to enrich the education and research activities and enhance the academic collaboration between the two countries.


             The delegation from VNU-HCM consists of eight members, led by Dr. Nguyen Duc Nghia. The delegates participated fully and initially into all activities of the conference. Dr. Nghia chaired a successful session on Session 3 with the topic “Development of University Systems to Cultivate Highly Skilled Human Resources” and gave a well-received talk on different aspects of VNU-HCM and Japan collaboration and potentials for further developmentThe other talks came from different Universities of Japan and Vietnam which were well attended and called for active follow-up discussions from the audience. On the last day, on behalf of VNU-HCM, Dr. Nghia joined the chair panel for the plenary session on the initial summary of the conference.  His briefing was very well-received.

Conference Activities
           On the first day of this conference, on behalf of Kyoto University, Dr. Hiroshi MATSUMOTO, President of Kyoto University, delivered the opening address and gave the warmest welcome to all the participants. In addition, Prof. Mai Trong Nhuan, President of VNU-HN also expressed his appreciation to all his colleagues for coming to the conference.

           It was an honor not only for the organizers but also for the participants to welcome distinguished  guests from the supporting institutions as well as the concerned organizations. These included Mr. Doan Xuan Hung, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to Japan; Mr. Yasutaka MORIGUCHI, Administrative Vice Minister, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan; Prof. Dr. Bui Van Ga, Vice-Minister, Ministry of Education and Training, Vietnam and Mr. Hayashi TOWATARI, Executive Director, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.  

           After the welcoming addresses were delivered, the conference moved to the keynote speech session. At the beginning of this session, Mr. Hitoshi NARA, Deputy Director- General of Higher Education Bureau, Ministry of Education Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan introduced the higher education system in Japan and its internationalization efforts. Then, Mr. Phan Chi Cuong, Deputy Director General, Department of International Cooperation, MOET presented ten proposals from the MOET for collaboration projects with the Japanese counterparts using ODA funds from Japanese government. The strategies to develop higher education collaboration activities between Vietnam and Japan were presented by Prof. Mai Trong Nhuan, President of VNU-HN. Following these three key note speeches, Dr. Hiroshi MATSUMOTO, President of Kyoto University, opened his keynote speech by comparing the similarities in higher education between Japan and Vietnam and concluded with the point of view that “universities must be fertile ground for innovation and talent”.

           There were three parallel sessions on March 12, 2012 in the afternoon with different particular themes. The participants were divided into each session according to their major as well as their interest and concern.

           The first parallel session  discussed the topic on Vital Themes for Universities in the 21st Century. This session was co-chaired by Prof. Michinari HAMAGUCHI, President, Nagoya University and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Doan Quang Vinh, Vice-President, The University of Da Nang. In this session, professors from Vietnamese and Japanese institutes shared their opinions about research for a sustainable society through their informative presentations such as “The past decade and future collaboration between Vietnamese Institutions and JAIST” (JAIST), “Where should we go from here?” (VNU-HN, University of Languages and International Studies), “The changing role of universities for realizing a sustainable society” (Hokkaido University), “Innovative R&D for Sustainable Development” (Kobe University), “Can Tho University: Its challenge and future development” (Cần Thơ), “Sustainable agriculture in rice production using the functions of biodiversity in paddy fields”( Yamagata University). The research related to multiculturalism and globalization also attracted a great deal of attention. The participants presented interesting presentations including “Research in social sciences and humanities under the influence of multiculturalism and globalization” (University of Social Sciences and Humanities, VNU-HCM), “Tohoku University Disaster Reconstruction / Regional Regeneration Research Project” (Tohoku University) and “Brief Introduction to Water Resources University of Vietnam” (Water Resources University).

           The second parallel session focused on educational cooperation and quality assurance,  co-chaired by Prof. Hiroshi MATSUDA, Vice-President, Yamaguchi University and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Binh, Rector, VNU-HN, University of Engineering and Technology. Attending this session, many of proposals and potential collaborations were presented by Japanese and Vietnamese organizations such as “Chuo University International Partnership Education Program: Proposal for Cooperation between Chuo and Vietnam” (Chuo University), “Enhancing Education, Research Cooperation and Universities Management between Vietnam and Japan” (Hanoi University of Agriculture), “Collaboration in Engineering Education and Research (Tentative)” (Nagaoka University of Technology), “The international cooperation (IC) for enhancing quality education of Thai Nguyen University” ( Thai Nguyen University), “Vietnam and the University of Tokyo’s Vision of 21 Century Education” (The University of Tokyo), “Quality Assessment of Vietnam Higher Education Systems and International Integration” (Ho Chi Minh City University of Technical Education), “Our Activities in Vietnam” (University of Tsukuba), “Strengthening International Cooperation between Vietnamese and Japanese Universities” (Foreign Trade University), “Risk Management and Safety Science for the Socio-Economic Development of the Central Region of Vietnam” (Yokohama National University), and “Hanoi Medical University” (Hanoi Medical University).

           The third parallel session concentrated on development of university systems to cultivate highly skilled human resources co-chaired by Prof. Dr. Nguyen Duc Nghia, Vice-President, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City and Prof. Masaru ISHIZUMI, Vice President, Kanagawa University. With 11 presenters from different Universities of Japan and Vietnam, the topic named Development of University Systems to Cultivate Highly Skilled Human Resources received profound interest. This parallel session covered different aspects of the priority tasks of the University System to Cultivate Highly Skilled Human Resources, covering a wide range of topics.  The talk on “University’s Endeavours in the Development of education and human resources in Vietnam and their Future Prospects” (Ritsumeikan University) indicated human resources development issues. The  others focused on projects, programs and their roles in establishing and strengthen the culture of Universities’ research, sustainability and especially bridging the partners involved (including “HUST project on the development of advanced ICT global human resources, bridging between Vietnam and Japan”, Hanoi University of Science and Technology; “The Joint Master’s Program in “Sustainability of Rural and Environmental Systems” between Okayama University and Hue University , Vietnam”, Co presenting: Okayama- Hue Universities;  “Cooperation between Vietnam Universities and Japan Universities on training in research, economic and business administration”, National Economics University). Issues relating the enhancement of  leadership was analysed in “Global Leaders in Asia and the role of the higher education institutions in Japan” (Meiji University) and “Innovation of University Governance and International Cooperation Development in VNU University of Economics and Business” (VNU-University of Economics). Moreover, the talk on “Ho chi Minh City University of Technology (HCMUT) on the way to become a leading research University” (University of Technology, VNUHCM) provided the participants with insight into the university mission with research as a key focus. Last but not least, “Asian Regionalization of Higher Education and Waseda University” (Waseda University) reported on one  case study about programs in International, Vietnamese and Japanese studies.
           The  parallel sessions was a great opportunity for the conference participants to work in smaller groups of common interest to share experience and appreciate  live evidence for a comprehensive collaboration between Japan-Vietnam universities, specifically as follows:
-    Listening to and communicating with different key speakers, hearing their strong voices and clarification if needed on professional and individual basis.
-    Being very informative, rich and diversified.
-    Highlighting the essential key points to success: being consistent and of high-quality collaboration of the two sides of the partnerships at different levels: national, institutional and departmental levels.
-    Enhancing the (deep) understanding of the similarities and dissimilarities of the education systems of the two countries, emphasizing the advantages and shortcomings of each system for better and longer-term development.
-    Emphasizing the significance of research and case studies for in-depth understanding for a more generalization of research findings for possible application.

           On the second day of the conference, all attendees join the plenary discussion, co-chaired by Dr. Hiroshi MATSUMOTO, President, Kyoto University and Prof. Dr. Sc. Vu Minh Giang, Vice-President, Vietnam National University, Hanoi. In this session, the Chairpersons of the previous parallel sessions were in charge of report summary main points. From many valuable opinions, Dr. Hiroshi MATSUMOTO gave a brief of main issues as well as strategies for collaboration between Vietnamese and Japanese education institutes. Furthermore, on the occasion of this conference, eight Memorandum of Understandings were signed between the participating universities. The subsequent Individual Bilateral Meetings was also held on a voluntary basis, creating a chance for the universities taking part in this conference to seek and establish collaboration with their selective existing and potential partners.

Preliminary Conclusion
           In conclusion, the Second Vietnam-Japan Presidents’ Conference facilitates the participants with a better understanding of each other university and the education system aiming to enhancing the collaboration between Japan and Vietnam. The participants were reminded that the two countries are geographically closed with cultural similarities. This advantage helps the two countries  to explore fully the existing and new ways for educational collaboration, especially in the case of  distance learning and double/ joint/ twining programs. Language regarded as a barrier to this development should be taken into careful consideration. Exploring ways to increase students’ mobility, making efforts to increase the number of Japanese students studying in Vietnam and vice versa and creating more short term study abroad programs are also issues that attracted attention from participants. Moreover, the improvement of job opportunities through industry-university- university - industry and government links (IUUI) should be considered seriously to promote further collaboration between Vietnamese and Japanese universities. From this conference, participants can obtain a general view of these issues that help them to promote new, feasible and beneficial education programs for their own strategic development in a sustainable manner.

 Duong thi Hoang Oanh- Thai Hoang Hanh Nguyen

Department of External Relations- VNU-HCM



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