Post-Event Report

QS-APPLE 2018: The rise in global reputation of universities in the Asia Pacific

The QS-APPLE 2018 conference and exhibition under the theme of Future Universities in The Asia-Pacific: The Changing Face of Higher Education took place over a three-day period from 21-23 November 2018 in Seoul, South Korea.

The annual higher education conference officially kicked-off on Wednesday 21 November with the opening plenary and welcome dinner where participants witnessed two awe-inspiring opening performances by the students of Chung-Ang University namely a Korean Drum and Dance themed “Wind Drum Dance” and a K-Pop performance. The ceremony also included the delivery of opening remarks and an introduction by Professor Nigel Healey, Chair of the QS-APPLE International Academic Advisory Committee and Vice Chancellor, Fiji National University, Fiji; and Dr. Kim Chang Soo, President of Chung-Ang University, Korea. Ms. Mandy Mok, CEO, QS Branding & Conferences by QS Asia delivered her opening remarks and presented the QS Stars and QS APPLE Creative Awards.

This year’s conference gathered a total of 475 academics from 209 institutions in 40 countries. Participants gained valuable insights and shared their knowledge through the innovative and engaging conference programme. They also expanded their professional network through various meaningful interactions at this annual event. In addition, a total of 85 papers were presented during plenary and parallel sessions and 57 exhibitors had the opportunity to showcase their universities’ offerings to participants at the QS Hub - Exhibition.

Here are some of the event highlights for those who could not attend this insightful conference:

One of the keynote addresses was delivered by Dr. Daniel Donghoon Ko, Vice-President, Pyongyang University of Science & Technology, DPR Korea. Dr Ko’s presentation addressed the Higher Education System of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: The Case of Pyongyang University of Science & Technology and pointed out that PUST was established with the objective of not only conducting high quality research and education but also to promote peace on the Korean peninsula through education. He also shared his experiences as a faculty member throughout the fourteen semesters he spent at the university, the unique higher education system and about the daily lives of college students in Pyongyang. In another keynote Professor Judy Lam (Tsui), Board Member and Chair of the Board’s Education Strategy Commitee, Wuhan College (Tencent), China, discussed on the Themes of Future Universities in Asia Pacific: Innovation, Interdisciplinarity and Internationalization. Professor Lam noted that the effective and efficient implementation of various initiatives would allow future universities in the region to contribute to reshaping global higher education and ensuring its relevance in a social political context. Two further keynotes were delivered by speakers from Singapore: Professor Steven Miller, Provost (Research), Singapore Management University and Professor Subra Suresh, President, Nanyang Technological University.

The QS Squared Debate, moderated by Dr. Kevin Downing and with the motion: Rankings are the Best Overall Measure of a University’s Global and Regional Standing, started with a poll in which a majority of the participants expressed their support for the rankings. Despite passionate arguments from both sides, the audience remained in agreement with the motion.

In addition to debates, two important plenary forums were held on topics that are followed closely by many participants the higher education sector. The QS Forum sessions, namely Focus on Innovation and Entrepreneurship moderated by Professor Albert Chau and Focus on Higher Education For Fast Growing Economics moderated by Professor Kitti Prasirtsuk provided an opportunity to gain an Asia Pacific insight into these important topics.

QS-APPLE also included a QS Rankings Workshop conducted by expert speakers such as Ms Selina Griffin, Mr John O’Leary and Ms Sarah Huggett.

During the workshop, Ms Selina Griffin, Rankings Manager at the QS Intelligence Unit shared insights and benefits of the QS World University Rankings. Griffin also highlighted the positive media impact and policy influence of QS World University Rankings for universities who have participated in the rankings system.

Mr John O’Leary, member of the QS Rankings Advisory Board also discussed on The rise of Asian universities: myth or reality? during which he highlighted the dynamic transformation of young universities, national strategies of universities in the Asia and pointed out the factors that are working in Asia’s favor, including economic turbulence in the West, public and political pressures on US and UK universities, visa policies and nationalism i.e. Trump and Brexit. Lastly, Ms Sarah Huggett of the Elsevier Research Intelligence also shared on the topic of The Power of Scopus.

The QS-APPLE 2019 conference and exhibition will be held in Fukuoka, Japan in November next year, in partnership with Kyushu University as joint organising partners.