“Uncertain Futures” CHER/ACLA2019 Photo Report

Following the overwhelming success of last year’s edition, Lingnan University, The International Academic Forum (IAFOR), and the Asia Pacific Higher Education Research Partnership (APHERP) co-hosted The IAFOR Conference for Higher Education Research (CHER2019). The theme was "Uncertain Futures: Repurposing Higher Education", a title chosen to reflect the precarious nature of global socio-economic development today. The Asian Conference on the Liberal Arts (ACLA2019) was held in parallel under the theme "Uncertain Futures: The Role of Liberal Arts Education".

Above: Dr Bernard Charnwut Chan (Executive Council member of the Government of the Hong Kong SAR), gave the opening remarks. Dr Chan emphasised the need to establish strong ties between educational institutions and governments due to the uncertain socioeconomic futures faced by various societies around the globe.


Above, clockwise from top left: Professor Joshua Mok (Vice President, Lingnan University) offered theoretical and empirical perspectives to aid the understanding of the uncertain futures that are confronting societies. Representatives from IAFOR, APHERP, and Lingnan University unveil their commitment to supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through research, discussion, and dissemination of information. Students performed a traditional Chinese Lion Dance, culminating in a hospitable message of welcome to all in attendance. And Keynote Speakers posed for a group photo (left to right) Professor Simon Marginson (University of Oxford, UK), Professor Francis Green (University College of London, UK), Professor Leonard K. Cheng (President, Lingnan University), Dr Bernard Charnwut Chan, Professor Deane Neubauer (East-West Center, USA), Professor Adam R. Nelson (University of Wisconsin-Madison, US), and Professor Joshua Mok.


Above left: In a speech entitled "Boya Education in China: Lessons from Liberal Arts Education in the US and Hong Kong", Professor Leonard K. Cheng discussed the importance of China’s “boya” education (BYE) in the era of computer-based automation and AI technology. Professor Cheng argued that BYE needs to occupy a central role in the undergraduate curriculum to achieve its goals in China. Above right: Professor Simon Marginson delivered a presentation entitled "Equal but Different: Global and Regional Implications of the Rise of China in Universities and Science". He argued that the coming decades may witness a situation where rapid growth and improvements in China are impeded by geopolitical conflict, but that China’s systems of higher education and science are now sufficiently developed, and self-sufficient enough, to sustain a strong regional and global role under such conditions.


Above, clockwise from top left: Professor Francis Green spoke on ‘Graduate Employment and Under-Employment’, focusing on the issues pertaining to the availability of employment for new graduates in view of globalisation, changing economic characteristics, and fortunes of societies. Professor Deane Neubauer addressed the issue of climate change in his talk "Engaging the Forces Propelling the Repurposing of Higher Education", in which he discussed the increasingly significant impact of environmental concerns are having on higher education.

Attendees deemed the conference a major success, and all participants said they appreciated the academic and social content of the programme. Organisers said they achieved the goal of debating the future needs of higher education, and establishing how to repurpose higher education for the coming uncertain times. Students, researchers, and policymakers all agreed that they must continue these discussions to ensure higher education is prepared for what lies ahead.


Keynote and Featured Talks


Highlights of ACLA/CHER2019


Photo Album


CHER/ACLA2019 Conference Programme & Abstract Book


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