The ASEF Regional Conference on Higher Education (ARC9) – formerly known as ASEF Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum – will take place between 2022 and 2023 under the topic “ASEM Higher Education Mapping: Working Towards the SDGs”.

The ASEF Regional Conference on Higher Education (ARC) is the “Official Dialogue Partner of the ASEM Education Ministers Meeting (ASEMME) and the only bi-regional multi-stakeholder dialogue platform for university and student leaders, policymakers, and ministers to discuss higher education issues and shape the education landscape in Asia and Europe.

The ARC programme is implemented by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF). The programme cycle covers two years and is aligned with the timeline of the ASEM Education Ministers Meetings (ASEMMEs). Its results, including research, policy recommendations, feed into the preparations of ASEM Education Senior Officials’ Meetings (SOMs) and the ASEM Education Ministers Meetings.


This edition will start with research collecting evidence from ASEM countries on the contribution of Higher Education Institutions and policies to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Study 1: ASEM Higher Education Policies: Working Towards the SDGs

This study maps the higher education policies advancing sustainable development in ASEM partner countries. Ministries responsible for Higher Education were engaged to support the effort in mapping existing policies that contribute to the SDGs through an ASEM-wide survey and a series of Focus Group Discussions.

Study 2: ASEM Higher Education Practices: Working Towards the SDGs

In this study, data from the third iteration of IAU Global Survey on Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development (HESD) specific for ASEM partner countries were analysed to investigate the scope, depth, and breadth of engagement by ASEM higher education institutions with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The findings will be published and followed by policy dialogues and consultations with policymakers, university and student leaders, and international organisations across the 53 ASEM Partners to get a better understanding of the findings.

Roundtable Dialogue

The Roundtable Dialogue took place on Tuesday, 29 November 2022, at 16.00 – 18.00 (UTC+8) / 9.00 – 11.00 (UTC+1). ARC9 Researchers and higher education experts shared insights on the initial findings of the ASEM-wide surveys and Focus Group Discussions regarding how policies and practices across Asia and Europe work toward the SDGs. Watch the recordings.


The final studies have been launched in early 2023. The results of ARC9 feed into the ASEM Education Process Strategic Priority on Enhancing Connectivity between Asia and Europe and benefit a wider community of stakeholders through exchanges and peer learning. Download the ARC9 report here.