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2021 – The 3rd Taiwan-Austria Higher Education Forum Pursuing Sustainable Development in Teaching and Research Collaboration

In response to COVID-19 restrictions, the 3rd Taiwan-Austria Higher Education Forum was held online on March 17, 2021, hosted by the Foundation for International Cooperation in Higher Education of Taiwan (FICHET) and Austria’s Agency for Education and Internationalisation (OeAD).

The forum was officially opened by Ambassador Katharine Chang, Head of Mission of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Austria, and Ambassador Roland Rudorfer, Director of the Austrian Office in Taipei. Attendees included Taiwan’s Deputy Minister of Education Lio Mon-Chi, Director General of the Department of International and Cross-strait Education Lee Yen-Yi, FICHET Chairperson Su Huey-Jen, representatives from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, along the presidents, vice presidents, and international affairs directors of universities in Taiwan and Austria for a total of 180 guests representing more than 80 universities. The Taiwan Ministry of Education and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education and Research marked the occasion by signing a memorandum of understanding for the extension of a “Taiwan-Austria Higher Education Research Seed Funding” to deepen mutual cooperation and exchanges in the fields of education, research, and internship.

In his keynote speech “Challenges and Opportunities for Higher Education in the Post-Pandemic Era”, Deputy Minister Lio noted that the pandemic has greatly disrupted higher education around the world, and that Taiwan is one of the few countries in the world where in-person education remains largely unchanged. Taiwan has made good use of cutting-edge technology and innovative thinking, actively promoting the creative use of various online/in-person hybrid models, including the use of virtual reality in a process of educational transformation, and has maintained close communication and ties with technology, industry, and academic partners from various countries to ensure rapid response to the continually changing global situation.

The forum focused on themes including “Challenges and Opportunities for Higher Education in the Post-Pandemic Era”, “Covid-19 Activities: Switching to Online Learning”, “Joint Degree Program”, and “Project Presentations”. The speakers shared the practical experience of their institutions had developed in confronting the pandemic in terms of prevention, effective application of technology, and new models of interaction for transnational education and research. The three-hour forum featured lively and enthusiastic discussions, with all attendees affirming the importance and urgency of continued academic partnership, and looking forward to meeting again in person at next year’s forum, which will provide opportunities to build on the ideas and goals for forward-looking innovation and sustainable development of higher education.

Speakers Group Photo