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 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 24 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.