Delegation visits Belgium to Enhance Bilateral Higher Education Cooperation
A Higher Education Roundtable Conference, jointly organized by the Belgian (French Community) Institute of Research and Higher Education (Academie de recherche et d'enseignement supérieur, ARES), and the Foundation for International Cooperation in Higher Education of Taiwan (FICHET) was held in Brussels on July 12. Mr. Andy Bi, Director-General of the Department of International and Cross-Strait Education of the Ministry of Education of Taiwan;, Professor Huey-Jen Jenny Su, Chairman of the Board of Directors of FICHET led a delegation of 34 high-ranking education personnel from Taiwan to participate, including eight university presidents and several directors of international relations. The Belgian attendees included rectors, vice-rectors of internationalization, and directors of research and development of major universities in the French-speaking Community and the Flemish Community; senior executives of important research institutions; officials of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the French-speaking Community and of the Flemish Community; and representatives of the Flemish Inter-University Association (VLIR), Flemish Research Foundation (FWO), and some major enterprises.
Andy Bi opened the conference pointing out the similarity between Taiwan and Belgium, both of which are highly knowledge-intensive and multicultural societies, and that universities are important drivers of innovation for national ecosystems and regional industry development, thus providing a good basis for cooperation between the two sides.
Giorgio Marinoni, from the International Association of Universities, then gave the keynote speech on Challenges and Opportunities for International Higher Education. The first session – “The Higher Education and Research Systems - Strengths and Opportunities” – had three speakers: Carine Michiels, Vice-Rector of Research and International Relations at the University of Namur, representing the French-speaking Community; Peter Lievens, Vice-Rector for International Policy at the Catholic University of Leuven, representing the Flemish Community; and Chang Mau-Chung, President of National Chiao Tung University, representing Taiwan.
During the second session – "Two cooperation projects between Taiwanese and Belgian HEIs” –Paul Servais, an honorary professor at the Catholic University of Louvain; Guido Van Huylenbroeck, Academic Director for Internationalization at Ghent University; and Wang Ru-Jer, president of National Taichung University of Education, gave presentations on their ongoing cooperation.
During the third session there were three separate panel discussions on “Dual, Double and Joint Degrees”, “Internationalization at Home”, and “University and Business Cooperation”.
After the conference, Harry Ho-Jen Tseng, Representative at the Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium, Chen Yuwen the Director of the Education Division there, and Professor Su accompanied Director-General Andy Bi to the European Commission’s Directorate General of Education and Culture to discuss possibilities for future skilled workforce training and innovation related cooperation. They then went to the Flemish Ministry of Foreign Affairs where Director-General Andy Bi and Koen Pelleriaux, the General Director of the Flemish Department of Education and Training, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Educational Cooperation and Exchanges between the Ministry of Education of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Department of Education and Training of the Flemish Community (the Kingdom of Belgium).
The Ministry of Education hopes that these meetings and the signing of the memorandum of cooperation, will enhance the understanding and interaction between universities, research institutions and government authorities of Taiwan, the Kingdom of Belgium, and the EU, and shape multi-faceted cross-border collaborations.
Photo:General Director Koen Pelleriaux (left) and Director-General Andy Bi (right) sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Educational Cooperation, with Karin Van Gyseghem, Deputy Chief of Protocol, Flemish Government Department of Foreign Affairs.