The Asian University Presidents Forum originated from a friendly collaboration beginning in December 1999 between institutions of higher learning in China and Thailand. In order to establish a mechanism through which university presidents from China and Thailand could frequently exchange information and management experience, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Chaoshan College, Srinakharinwirot University and Siamese Univeristy of Thailand jointly put forward a proposal to establish a conference for Sino-Thai higher education institutions. The proposed conference was to be held annually and would seek expansion to include university presidents throughout Asia.
The four sides shared identical views on the following matters:
1. Thailand’s Srinakharinwirot University and Siam University, and China’s Guangdong University of Foreign Studies and Chaoshan College would initiate a conference, inviting universities in Asia who share friendly ties with the four initiators to attend. The membership would be expanded to include other universities in Asia.
2. The First Presidents Forum would be hosted by Srinakharinwirot University in Thailand, with participants jointly invited by both sides.
The Constitution was finalized in 2002 and named the Constitution of the Nongovernmental Cooperation Conference for Sino-Thai Universities. In 2003, the constitution, renamed the Constitution of the Asian Presidents Forum, was approved and signed by all participating presidents.
When Srinakharinwirot University held the first session in 2002, the forum was called the Presidents Conference of Sino-Thai Higher Education Institutions, since it was only attended by universities from the two countries. However, the second session, held by China’s Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in 2003, attracted participants from six Asian countries, and the conference was therefore renamed the “Asian University Presidents Forum.”
Since 2002, the forum has continued to be held annually for 11 sessions. More and more higher education institutions are joining the forum to discuss a wide range of topics regarding higher education. With the help of the Asian University Presidents Forum, many member universities have established ties with other institutions. These successful examples of cooperation have demonstrated the positive role played by the Asian University Presidents Forum, whose mission is to “Increase Communication, Exchange Information, Share Experience and Seek Common Development”.
The 8th session of the Asian University President Forum was hosted by Indonesia’s Universitas Negeri Jakarta in 2009. This session marked the first amendment to, and the perfection of, the Constitution, using the experience gained in previous sessions for reference. The amendment guaranteed the positive role of the Constitution in guiding the organization of the Forum.