The ASEAN Committee in Madrid (ACM) held the first ever ASEAN University Fair in Madrid on 5-6 March 2018 at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Around 100 guests attended the seminar held to discuss opportunities to enhance educational linkages between Spain and ASEAN, and an estimated 200 education policymakers, university international linkages staff, professors and students visited the booths at the Fair.
In his opening statement, the Chairman of the ACM, Philippine Ambassador Philippe J. Lhuillier urged participants to learn more about the educational opportunities in ASEAN, and highlighted the need to increase existing agreements. “The level of our educational and cultural exchange is good, but – for me and for my fellow ASEAN Ambassadors here present — it is not yet good enough. We need to increase it further. And that is precisely what we want to do in this University Fair.”
The Head of the SEPIE of the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports, Mr. Alfonso Gentil Álvarez-Ossorio, congratulated the ACM for the initiative and called the event a wonderful opportunity to create networks between universities from Spain and ASEAN.
Professors from ASEAN countries who delivered presentations included Dr. Agus Suharyanto, Ph.D., from the International Office of Brawijaya University (Indonesia); Prof. Mohd Fadzil Abdul Rahman, Deputy Vice Chancellor, University Malaysia Sabah; Assistant Professor Ros Costelo from the Department of History, UP Diliman; Prof. Dr. Nitinant Wisaweisuan, Dean of the Pridi Banomyong International College, Thammasat University (Thailand). The Ambassador of Vietnam H.E. Ngo Tien Dzung, presented on opportunities in Vietnamese universities.
Assistant Professor Ros Costelo shared her experience of coming to Spain as a scholar and the unique opportunities in Spain for Filipino students, especially those in the social sciences and who may wish to take advantage of the archival records in the country about the Philippines. She also gave a brief presentation on the benefits for Spaniards to study in the Philippines, such as its quality education and the excellence of its universities, use of English as medium of instruction, and low cost of living.
Spain continues to be a popular destination for Filipino and other ASEAN students who wish to learn Spanish and acquire a European degree. Meanwhile, ASEAN representatives at the fair hoped that the event will provide participants information about undergraduate, graduate and research opportunities in ASEAN and thus increase the number of Spaniards going to the region. Through the two-day fair, the ACM also hoped that more student and professorial exchange agreements will be entered into by Spanish and ASEAN universities.