Founded in 1991, UMAP is a voluntary association of government and non-government representatives of the higher education sector. The general aim of UMAP is for the countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region to achieve a better understanding of the cultural, economic and social systems of the other countries and territories in the region through enhanced cooperation among higher education institutions and increased mobility of university students and staff.
In January 2021, Vancouver Community College (VCC) representing member country Canada, began a five-year term as International Secretariat of UMAP (UMAP IS), with President Ajay Patel serving as Secretary General.
As the new UMAP IS, VCC will oversee administration and programming for the consortium. The UMAP IS works in close collaboration with the Chairperson of UMAP and the National Secretariat for Canada (BCCIE), along with the National Secretariats of member countries, to manage various study abroad programs, facilitates joint research projects among faculty members from different member universities, and convenes biannual international board meetings.
Presently, some 570 higher education institutions in 23 countries are members of UMAP. Going forward, UMAP IS aims to increase the number of participating higher education institutions and countries, by increasing the number and diversity of students incoming to Canada; increase the number and type of Canadian institutions that exchange in student mobility programming, and support the outbound mobility of traditionally under-represented Canadian students such as First Nations, students from rural and smaller institutions, and students in vocational programs, all while maintaining a commitment to and enhancement of internationalization of education and research in the region.
Michelle Johnson is the Program Administrator for the UMAP International Secretariat. She supports all aspects of UMAP program work, including administration, communications, marketing, and program development, implementation, and evaluation. Michelle has a Bachelor’s degree in History and an Master’s degree in International and Intercultural Management. With more than 25 years of experience managing international education programs in the NGO, government, and higher education sectors, Michelle is excited to have the opportunity to focus on facilitating mobility in the Asia Pacific region.
Chelsey is the Director for the UMAP International Secretariat. She has over a decade of experience working in the Canadian higher education context, contributing to internationalization initiatives at several public post-secondary institutions. She has led and supported programs such in education abroad, international student engagement and retention, intercultural competency development and international relations management. Most recently, Chelsey was the Senior Manager at the BC Council for International Education (BCCIE) where she led various initiatives in the SE Asia region, including the UMAP Canada initiative, Study in BC activities, and several partnership development and government relations events. Chelsey holds a Bachelor of Arts from Wilfrid Laurier University, a Master of Arts from the University of Gothenburg and is currently pursuing her Doctor of Education from Simon Fraser University.