About AUN USR&S
In October 2010, the ASEAN University Network (AUN) Secretariat organised the inaugural Workshop on University’s Social Responsibility and Sustainability from ASEAN-Japan Perspectives: Sharing and Caring for a Better Community, hosted at Burapha University, Thailand. The workshop discussed the basic idea of AUN’s University Social Responsibility and Sustainability (USR&S) which involves “the solid commitment of conduct for the betterment of the living society practiced by the very components of the higher education i.e. university students and the faculty staff.”
The participating AUN member universities at this workshop realized the need to share and exchange ideas, best practices and knowledge with each other and with diverse stakeholders both nationally and across the region. The participating universities acknowledged the need to strengthen cooperative initiatives and tap on existing synergies to develop the multiplier effect, in order to become a vibrant and dynamic force that can drive the development of the ASEAN community.
The AUN therefore proposed to establish a USR&S Thematic Network as an enabling mechanism to achieve greater regional cooperation amongst the higher education institutions in ASEAN, to contribute to the social, economic and environmental development of the region. Universities around the region were invited to submit proposals to host this thematic network on USR&S. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia were amongst several universities which submitted a proposal to host the thematic network.
In May 2011, UKM, together with AUN, co-organised the AUN USR&S conference titled ‘Knowledge for the People, Research for Community Life.’ The conference saw the participation of 147 participants from various institutions, foundations, organizations, industries and NGOs. The success of this conference strengthened UKM’s proposal, to host the secretariat of AUN’s thematic network on USR&S. On the 27th to 29th of July 2011, during the AUN’s Board of Trustees meeting at Luang Prabang, Laos, UKM was endorsed to be the secretariat for AUN USR&S.
Aside from becoming a hub where members are able to share ideas, best practices and knowledge with each other, members of the AUN USR&S can also strengthen cooperative initiatives and leverage on existing synergies to become a vibrant and dynamic force that can drive the development of the ASEAN community.
For South East Asia, the USR&S Thematic Network aligns very strongly with the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community 2009-2015 which was launched in 2008 with the tagline “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”. The Roadmap sets out the ASEAN Socio Cultural Community Blueprint (ASCC) which addresses “the region’s aspiration to lift the quality of life of its peoples through cooperative activities that are people-oriented and environmentally friendly geared towards the promotion of sustainable development, contribute to building a strong foundation for greater understanding, good neighbourliness and a shared sense of responsibility”.