Over 100 universities from China, South Asia and Southeast Asia have formed an alliance to enhance regional cooperation on higher education.
The alliance includes 45 top Chinese universities, such as Renmin University of China and Fudan University. Other members of the alliance come from 14 South and Southeast Asian countries, including India, Thailand and Singapore.
The alliance will hold presidents' forums on a regular basis to share their experiences in school administration, establish a resource-sharing platform, launch talent-cultivation programs and set up joint laboratories to promote international cooperation on scientific research.
"We're looking to effectively utilize the available resources to raise the quality and efficiency of higher education. One of the very important strategies for achieving this objective is greater regional cooperation among universities," Lakshman Dissanayake, vice-chancellor of the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, said in a keynote speech.
The secretariat will be located at Yunnan University, with Lin Wenxun, president of the university, serving as the first secretary-general of the alliance, according to a decision adopted by representatives of the 103 universities at a gathering held in Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, in early December.
Yunnan, which borders Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, is expected to become an important bridge connecting South and Southeast Asia.
Zhu Huashan, deputy head of Yunnan's education bureau, says 18,800 overseas students are studying in the province, including 15,773 from South and Southeast Asia.