On 8 - 11 November 2023, Mae Fah Luang University representatives namely Asst. Prof. Dr. Somrudee Nilthong, lecturer from the School of Science and Ms. Warunee Kaewbunruang, administrative officer from the Global Relations Division were invited to participate in the 17th Annual Review Meeting of the Asian International Mobility for Students (AIMS) Programme and the IRO Capacity Building Workshop titled 'Agile and Innovative International Relations Officers for Internationalisation in a New Context' in Tagaytay, Republic of the Philippines.
The 17th AIMS Programme Annual Review Meeting was co-organised by the Commission of Higher Education (CHED), the Philippines; Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU), Batangas; and the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation, Regional Centre for Higher Education and Development (SEAMEO RIHED) on 8 – 9 November 2023.
The opening ceremony consisted of speeches by Professor J. Prospero E. Vera III, CHED Chairperson; Dr. Peter P. Laurel, President of Lyceum of the Philippines University, and Asst. Prof. Dr. Romyen Kosaikanont, SEAMEO RIHED Centre Director. There were 150 participants including government representatives, university leaders, international relations officers, and AIMS alumni network joining the event.
Furthermore, the event officially welcomed the Kingdom of Cambodia as the 10th Member of AIMS and its five leading universities to officially join the AIMS programme: Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), Royal University of Agriculture (RUA), Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE), National University of Management (NUM), and Institute of Technology Cambodia (ITC).
There were discussions on mutual exchange, setting mobility targets, internationalization at home, and best practices as well as AIMS Alumni talks emphasising AIMS as a life-changing experience, an open door to the world, an expansion of horizons, and opportunities to excel. During the meeting, government representatives highlighted internationalization policies in their countries, addressing challenges such as low population growth and aging societies. The Philippines also showcased the Transnational Education Law as a framework for internationalization.
In addition, MFU representatives joined the IRO Capacity Building Workshop under the theme of 'Agile and Innovative International Relations Officers for Internationalisation in a New Context' on 10 -11 November 2023. This workshop aimed at 1. enhancing capacity and cultivate new mindset and skills for IROs to support internationalisation activities and mobility in a new context; 2. strengthening the community of IROs through learning and sharing good practices, including exploring opportunities for future collaboration and collective intelligence; 3. expediting the harmonisation and internationalisation process of higher education in the SEAMEO region.
Moreover, Ms. Warunee Kaewbunruang was invited to be a panelist for Session 3: Networking to share her experience on the networking to facilitate exchange programmes with maximised outcomes. Then, Dr. Nilthong and Ms. Kaewbunruang held a meeting with AIMS alumni from the University of Santo Tomas, Philippines in order to strengthen relations and build a stronger AIMS alumni network.
The AIMS programme, initiated in 2009, has produced nearly 7,000 alumni who engaged in mobility across 10 countries, which are Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Cambodia fostering regional identity, citizenship, and belonging. The AIMS programme is a government-supported multilateral cooperation and scholarship programme aimed at enhancing regional identity, citizenship, and belonging, fostering learning through mobility, expediting internationalization, and harmonizing the regional higher education system.
Altogether, Mae Fah Luang University will continue to actively contribute to the AIMS Programme through promoting internationalisation, cultural exchange, and educational collaboration.