Members of the ACU’s Council met in London this week for the first in-person meeting since 2019, with Vice-Chancellors from ACU member universities travelling from countries including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Canada, New Zealand, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Fiji, Malaysia, Jamaica, and South Africa for the meeting.
The 23 Council members represent the diversity and strength of Commonwealth cooperation and are elected by their peers within the ACU membership network, with 6 new members taking up the position in August 2022.
Acting as the ACU’s governing body, Council are responsible for overseeing the organisation’s activities and strategic direction as set out in the Road to 2030 which informs ACU’s mission to build a better world through higher education.
The Council received an update from the Leadership Team on progress against the 5 strategic priorities, including the influence achieved through our policy and engagement within the Commonwealth at the CCEM where, as a direct result of the ACU’s advocacy, the essential role of higher education in realising all 17 of the UN SDGs and in supporting the post-pandemic recovery was recognised for the first time in the final ministerial statement.
The Council heard about the ACU’s work to strengthen Capacity and empower and enable universities to rapidly increase their contributions to sustainable development interventions through programmes and tools such as ACU Measures, the Climate Research Cohort, PEBL West Africa, and the LEAP4FNSSA-funded food and nutrition security proposal. All the prestigious scholarship schemes run by the ACU – Chevening, Marshall, Commonwealth Scholarships and the Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships – continue to build enduring international connections, understanding, and engagement, contributing to ACU’s strategic ambition to make a positive and lasting difference through providing educational opportunities to scholars in the Commonwealth and beyond.
Finally, the Council were updated on the new Membership engagement strategy, which will deepen and strengthen connections with and between universities across the Commonwealth and offer increased opportunities for international collaboration.
Alongside the official council business and Trustee training, a lunch took place with staff from across the ACU, and Council and the ACU Leadership Team had a strategic dinner at Goodenough College. On the second day a workshop was held to begin developing the ACU’s new strategic plan, which will replace The Road to 2030.
The Council will meet again in July 2023 at York University in Toronto.