Strategic workshop to revitalize the Himalayan University Consortium


At the Himalayan University Consortium (HUC) Strategic Workshop, held 8–9 April at ICIMOD Headquarters in Kathmandu, Nepal, representatives from HUC member universities and institutions came up with a concrete action plan to revitalize the HUC. The participants also called for another strategic meeting  in Abbottabad, Pakistan, later this year to finalize the HUC vision, strategy, governance, and action plan for the next three years (2014–2016).  

At the workshop, participants engaged in a HUC visioning exercise and brainstormed on the strategy and action plan for the next three years, including governance and partnership arrangements. There was general agreement that HUC should address knowledge gaps in the region by jointly conducting research and long-term monitoring using transect and transboundary landscape approaches as well as through the development of partnerships with universities and institutions from outside the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region. There was emphasis placed on interdisciplinary cooperation to produce better science and to build capacity of mountain researchers from the region. It was suggested that HUC members should take greater ownership of HUC and mobilize both internal and external resources for joint activities.  

ICIMOD’s role as HUC Secretariat and facilitator was reiterated as well as the need to form a Steering Committee to guide HUC. Working groups were formed to draft the HUC strategy and action plan and membership criteria; conduct HUC scoping and institutional mapping, and prepare for the Abbottabad meeting. 

Dr David Molden, Director General of ICIMOD, pointed out that getting the HUC concept right, as well as an all-around buy-in from members and partners, will play an important role in the operationalization of the HUC.

HUC was conceived in 2007 as a membership-driven network of universities and academic institutions from the HKH region and beyond to foster collaboration in mountain research and development; the exchange of faculty members and students; and the development of mountain-specific curricula, among other things.