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2010 IARU Presidents' Meeting Held in Peking University

Peking University, Beijing, Apr. 15, 2010: "Our campus buildings are constructed by the government, the university and technology companies together. We take pride in the fact that the cooperation is a successful demonstration of the combined effort in technology, business and university," said the representative from University of Copenhagen in the annual presidents' meeting of IARU (International Alliance of Research Universities) held in Peking University on April 13.


2010 IARU Presidents' Meeting Held in PKU

In the two-day annual meeting, the participants summarized the activities of IARU in the past year of 2009 and deliberated over the 2010 annual plan of the Alliance. Presidents from Australian National University, ETH Zurich, National University of Singapore, University of California, Berkeley, University of Cambridge, University of Copenhagen, University of Oxford, the University of Tokyo, Yale University and Peking University attended the meeting.

Since the meeting was just after the Copenhagen Summit, "Green Campus" and "Sustainable Campus" became the focus of participants.

The representative from Yale University made a brief presentation on the situation of their students' efforts in founding associations for sustainable development. He emphasized that the university benefits from students' efforts and in turn the students have enhanced their leadership while reaching out to society. The representative from University of Copenhagen presented the project of "Environment-friendly Lighthouse" and further introduced the cooperation between the university and research institutions and governments. Representatives from Oxford University also introduced the progress of their researches and listened to recommendations from other participants.


President Zhou Introducing PKU's "Green Campus" Program

At the meeting, Academician Zhou Qifeng, President of Peking University, introduced efforts and achievements of Peking University in building a "Green Campus." He pointed out that Peking University has been devoted to the building of "Low Carbon Campus" and "Green Campus." Peking University has been trying to raise environmental awareness on campus and encouraging students to initiate and join in activities aimed at improving the ecological environment, e.g. paper recycling, tree planting, etc. The leading and distinguished efforts made by PKU scholars in the construction of a society of sustainable development were particularly mentioned in President Zhou's speech. For example, Prof. Pan Wenshi, known as "the Father of Panda", has been leading his students to observe and study pandas in their natural habitat for years and advocating the idea of preserving the ecological environment, which has aroused extensive social concern.


IARU Chair and President of NUS, Prof. Tan Chorh Chuan




On the afternoon of April 14, some of the presidents from universities of IARU would attend the Roundtable on Higher Education held by Peking University Center for International Higher Education (CIHE). Issues for discussion include: university internationalization, undergraduate education, allocation of educational resources, balancing of disciplines, etc.


Extended reading:

International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU):

The International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) was launched in January 2006 as a co-operative network of 10 leading, international research-intensive universities. The Alliance was initially proposed by the presidents of Australian National University and National University of Singapore. ETH Zurich, National University of Singapore, Peking University, University of California, Berkeley, University of Cambridge, University of Copenhagen, University of Oxford, the University of Tokyo and Yale University are also members of this Alliance. Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, President of the National University of Singapore, is the current chair of IARU.

IARU has the feature of a much smaller scale than regular universities alliances. It thus effectively enhances the substantiality of cooperation among members. IARU is committed to promoting communication and joint training of teaching and research staff members and students, advancing discussions of ideas and experiences in universities management and applying for research projects of global influence from world-renowned enterprises in the name of the Alliance.

As for researches, members of IARU combine their own interests with global focuses to determine research topics, each led by two or three universities. Ongoing/planned research topics include: "Ageing, Longevity and Health," "Career Development Network," "Global Internships," "Global Energy, Environment, Food and Water," "University Management Benchmarking," "International and Regional Security," "Globalized Education Reform," "Global View of Women's Studies," etc.


Peking University and IARU

As a member of IARU, Peking University plays an active role in IARU activities and has hosted several discussion forums. The Population Research Institute of Peking University has taken part in the project of "Ageing, Longevity and Health"; Prof. Zhu Feng of PKU School of International Studies (SIS) has participated in the project of "International and Regional Security." In June 2007, he held a seminar on the security issues of the Korean Peninsula.

In the respect of environmental sustainability, members of IARU participated in the project of "Sustainable Campus" in 2006. This project aims at encouraging IARU universities to make distinguished contributions to energy saving and emission reduction by reducing energy consumption of buildings and automobile exhaust emissions.

In April 2009, Peking University published "Principal Declaration of Sustainable Campus," which promises that carbon emissions will be declined by 15% per floor area below 2005 levels by 2010. On April 14, "Academic Frontiers on Climate Change Seminar" was held in Peking University. In the seminar, participants from different departments discussed the issue of developing relevant subjects and researches in the field of climate change.

Besides, Peking University was a participant in the Climate Change Congress held in University of Copenhagen, Denmark in March 2009. At the Congress, representatives from Peking University, mainly professors and students from the College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, presented their research findings in the changes of carbon circulation and carbon emission in Pearl River Delta and Inner Mongolia after grassland fencing.



Edited by: Seren
Translated by: Chen Wei
Source: PKU News (Chinese)