On 16 March 2017, the Inauguration Ceremony of the ASEAN-China Arts Colleges Alliance (ACACA) was held in Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Center, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The Alliance was initiated by Guangxi Arts University (GXAU), ASEAN-China Centre (ACC), and the Regional Centre for Higher Education and Development of Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO RIHED). Mr. Cai Changzhuo, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Education of Guangxi, Mr. Zhu Chuangwei, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Culture of Guangxi, Mr. Deng Jun, Party Secretary and Mr. Zheng Junli, President of GXAU, Ms. Kong Roatlomang, Director of Education, Culture and Tourism Division of ACC, Ms. Chantavit Sujatanond, Centre Director of SEAMEO RIHED, representatives from the Consulates-General of Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand in Nanning, people in charge of the first 19 ACACA member colleges and universities, and representatives from the faculties and students of GXAU, totaling over 400 people, attended the event.
Mr. Deng Jun said that GXAU’s proposal on the establishment of ACACA aimed to respond to the needs and follow the trend of higher education internationalization, build a broader cooperation platform for the arts colleges and universities of ASEAN countries and China, facilitate their sharing of culture and arts, deepen the faculties and students’ and especially the young generation’s mutual understanding of each other’s culture and arts, as well as push forward the various collaborations among the ACACA members. He hoped that all member colleges and universities could strengthen the foundation of cooperation, broaden the channels of exchanges, and enrich the contents of collaboration, so as to make collective contributions to the development of culture and arts industries in the region.
Ms. Kong Roatlomang read out the following congratulatory message from H.E. Mme. Yang Xiuping, ACC Secretary-General, to the establishment of ACACA: Art is the crystallization of human civilization, an important source of social creativity, and a bridge for people-to-people contact. Enhancing exchanges and mutual learning between ASEAN and China in the field of culture and arts is of great significance to promote mutual understanding, friendship and common development. ACC successfully held ASEAN-China Year of Educational Exchange last year and will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of ASEAN this year. Against this backdrop, the establishment of ACACA will build a new platform for arts education cooperation and quality improvement of the two sides, as well as inject new contents and energy into the development of ASEAN-China people-to-people and cultural exchanges. It is hoped that all the member colleges and universities could make joint efforts to cultivate more arts talents.
Ms. Chantavit Sujatanond said that SEAMEO RIHED and ACC jointly established the ASEAN-China Network for Cooperation and Exchanges among Engineering and Technology Universities (ACNET-EngTech) in 2014, which witnessed a breakthrough of cooperation in the field of engineering and technology. The establishment of ACACA will further promote the roles of culture and arts in regional development. She expected ACACA to creatively conduct its activities, propose innovative solutions for the development of culture and arts industries between the two regions, equip the students of ASEAN and China with cross-cultural skills and competencies, and make people of the two sides enjoy cross-cultural achievements.
Mr. Cai Changzhuo congratulated the establishment of ACACA and said that Guangxi is one of the provinces with the largest number of ASEAN students in China. Colleges and universities in Guangxi have built up nearly 200 partnerships with ASEAN countries. In 2016, the number of foreign students studying in Guangxi reached nearly 13,000, among which more than 9,000 were from ASEAN countries. The Department of Education of Guangxi, which has actively been promoting arts exchanges and cooperation between ASEAN-Guangxi colleges and universities, will keep focusing on and supporting the development of ACACA. He hoped that ACACA could give full play to its advantages and make efforts to push the ASEAN-China arts education collaboration to a new height.
During the inauguration ceremony, people in charge of the ACACA member institutions, 8 from China and 11 from ASEAN countries, signed the Joint Declaration on the Establishment of ASEAN-China Arts Colleges Alliance, briefed on the characteristics and development of their colleges and universities respectively, and made in-depth discussion on pushing forward the ASEAN-China exchanges and cooperation on culture and arts education. Director Kong Roatlomang gave an interview to local Chinese media and made a brief introduction to ACC’s mandate and its work on promoting ASEAN-China practical cooperation in education and culture.