QS Apple 2013: Seoul

More than 600 people attended the QS Apple conference in Seoul this month, the biggest gathering of the region’s higher education leaders this year.

With seven tracks and almost 150 presentations, the agenda covered everything from the impact of internationalisation to the establishment of a new university in Central Slovakia. Many delegates stayed on for a half-day session on world rankings at the end of the conference.

Among the keynote speakers was Dr Chang-Gyu Hwang, the former chief executive of Samsung Electronics, who gave his view of the role of universities in a new age that he termed SMARTOPIA.The fusion of technologies that he envisaged would place extra responsibilities on leading universities around the world.

Professsor Jun Young Kim, president of Sungkyunkwan University, where QS Apple took place, said the conference had produced an inspiring community for the delegates to promote their universities. Trust was an important element in international partnerships, he said, and meetings such as this one offered opportunities to forge relationships.

The 600-year-old host university has a wide variety of partnerships with companies and foreign universities. It has been moving up the QS World University Rankings and is now in the top 100.

Professor Nigel Healey, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University, who chaired the conference, said Korea’s advance from one of the world’s poorest countries in 1960 to the 12th richest made it an ideal location for university leaders to meet. “There is no question that the economic ‘Miracle on the Han River’ was underpinned by the country’s remarkable higher education system,” he said.

At the conference, six more universities were presented with QS Stars. Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Universiti Teknologi Petronas and the University of Jordan were all awarded three stars, while the University of Kufa, Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia and the University of Babylon received two.

A portion of delegates’ fees went towards the QS Scholarships Fund, which now amounts to more than $1.2 million. As well as awarding its own scholarships, QS Asia is now publicising universities’awards through its online newsletter (http://www.qsnews2wow-u.com/latest/) and other activities.

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