On Thursday, March 17, Vancouver Community College (VCC) and the BC Council for International Education (BCCIE) were pleased to host a summit of leaders in international education attended by B.C. Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training Hon. Anne Kang, B.C. Director of International Education Jamie Edwardson, and five consuls general representing the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
As COVID-19 pandemic restrictions continue to ease around the globe, the leaders in attendance representing Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam expressed a common eagerness to revive conversations and develop new agreements on international education and intercultural exchange programs.
“I believe that education is the place where we start to find common ground. Through international education, we can set up the next generation for success by teaching them to tackle issues together as global citizens,” said VCC president Ajay Patel in his opening remarks, made especially poignant in light of the current conflict in Ukraine.
In her welcome, Minister Kang shared her own family’s story of immigrating from Taiwan, which centered on her father’s international studies in Vancouver and her mother’s experience learning English at VCC in the 1980s. “What international education is to me, is my own story of how I came to Canada and how I am grateful. I want that to be the story of all students that come to British Columbia,” said Minister Kang.
Following presentations by international education organizations Asia Pacific Association for International Education (APAIE), University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific (UMAP), and Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), the international representatives shared responses that focused on friendship, joint innovation, and the benefits of providing intercultural experiences to students both locally and overseas.
According to the event’s MC and BCCIE Executive Director Randall Martin, B.C.’s commitment to international education “shows that Canada really is looking across the Pacific and a member of the Asia-Pacific community.”
Topics that continued into the networking portion of the event included the development of online programming and global business and technology courses, strategies around increasing international student housing and scholarships, and the B.C. government’s anticipated International Education Framework which will be unveiled at the upcoming BC International Education Week in June 2022.
While this gathering had been delayed previously due to COVID-19 safety measures, the ASEAN members, including Consul General of Indonesia and ASEAN caucus dean Bapak Hendra Halim, expressed gratitude for the ability to meet in person at VCC. “This is not a one-off event,” said Consul General Halim. “We plan to make VCC busier and busier every year.”
VCC was honoured to welcome:
Consul General Hendra Halim
Consul Prakoso Wicaksono
Consul General Shamsul Nizam Shamsudin
Consul Shaharudin bin Aziz
Consul General Maria Andrelita S. Austria
Consul Analyn Ratonel
Consul General Rutch Soratana
Deputy Consul General Nillawan Chuwanapirom
Consul General Nguyen Quang Trung
Consul Nguyen Thi Hoang Anh
Hon. Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training
Jamie Edwardson, Director, International Education
Jocelyne Fan, Ministerial Assistant
British Columbia Council for International Education (BCCIE)
Randall Martin, Executive Director
Colin Doerr, Director, External Relations
Kate Zhang, Manager, Market Support and Partnership Development
University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific International Secretariat (UMAP)
Chelsey Laird, Director
Michelle Johnson, Project Administrator