NTU officials representing NTU President Pan-Chyr Yang traveled to Europe and Southeast Asia in late March to attend major anniversary celebrations marking the founding of two NTU partner universities, both of which are the leading universities in their respective countries.
Executive Vice President for Academics and Research Tei-Wei Kuo joined a delegation of Taiwanese university presidents and vice presidents on their mission to Ghent, Belgium to participate in the bicentennial celebration of Ghent University during March 23-24. Meanwhile, Vice President for International Affairs Luisa Shu-Ying Chang and Manager Carol Lin of the Office of International Affairs' Global Alliances Section traveled to Bangkok, Thailand to attend the centennial anniversary of Chulalongkorn University during March 25-26.
At the invitation of Ghent University, President Yang had led a delegation of NTU college deans and faculty members to visit the prestigious Belgian university in May of 2016. While there, the delegation sought to expand cooperation in certain fields based on existing connections.
Executive Vice President Kuo was selected to represent NTU on behalf of President Yang for this year's visit. In addition to participating in all of the scheduled bicentennial celebration events, Kuo also presented Ghent University Rector Anne De Paepe with a gift from NTU in honor of the bicentennial. The other Taiwanese university presidents and vice presidents who attended the celebration were National Chengchi University President Edward H. Chow, National Cheng Kung University President Jenny Huey-Jen Su, and National Sun Yat-sen University Vice President for General Affairs Chih-Peng Li.
Ghent University organized a series of lectures and roundtable discussions as part of its bicentennial activities. The lecture "The Social Impact of Universities" discussed possible approaches that institutions of higher education could adopt in order to make their operations more sustainable, and called on universities to work with all levels of society and promote social transformation so as to close the expanding wealth gap.
Addressing the trend of computers and robots replacing human workers, the lecture "The Digital Revolution Hits Universities" asked what role university education would play in the technological revolution, and asserted that identifying areas in which the strengths of education, culture, and technology complement one other would be a challenge universities must confront.
Following the lecture "Strategic Academic Partnerships in Times of Increased Competition," Executive Vice President Kuo introduced NTU's internationalization strategy to the participants. Kuo also met with Ghent University faculty members to discuss potential fields for further cooperation between the two institutions.
Chulalongkorn University's centennial celebration drew 55 high-level officials, including presidents, vice presidents, and directors of international affairs, from 37 universities around the world. A number of NTU partner universities also sent officials to the event. These included the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, Tohoku University, Waseda University, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, National University of Singapore, Seoul National University, Korea University, University of Hong Kong, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Vice President Chang, who was already acquainted with these officials, spoke to them on behalf of President Yang and presented them with commemorative gifts.
As part of its centennial events, Chulalongkorn University organized two symposiums for university presidents called "Roles of Universities in the 21st Century: Curriculum and Pedagogy for the 21st Century Learning" and "The 21st Century Research and Innovation." During the symposiums, the visiting university officials were invited to speak and share their experiences and actions with the other guests.
The Thai university also arranged for the deans of its colleges to discuss cooperation strategies with the visiting officials. Chulalongkorn University President Bundhit Eua-arporn noted that he was familiar with NTU's leadership status in global higher education and understood as well the Taiwanese government's New Southbound Policy. He also anticipated increased academic and research cooperation with NTU, in particular with the College of Management, College of Engineering, and College of Social Sciences, and hoped for a focus on research cooperation in pharmacology, medicine, and nursing.
Although Thailand is observing a one-year period of national mourning due to the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in October 2016, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn still managed to participate in the centennial celebration. The princess took part as an alumna of the prestigious university and as a member of the royal family, hosting a special banquet to which she invited the visiting university officials. The princess, who speaks Mandarin, engaged freely in conversation with the guests during a welcoming reception and the banquet.