A Steering Committee Formed at the HUC Annual Meeting


The annual meeting of the Himalayan University Consortium (HUC) was held at Lanzhou University on 24--26 August 2014. Participants carried out focused discussions geared towards increasing the scope for collaboration between academic institutions in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region and beyond.

Eighteen representatives from reputed member universities in the HKH region, along with associate members from the University of Central Asia, the University of Life Sciences, Norway, the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand, the University of Salzburg, Austria, and several new member representatives from China and India, participated in the meeting.

On the opening day of the meeting, ICIMOD’s Director General Dr David Molden presented a keynote speech on the need for scientific cooperation, university development and academic exchange in the HKH. The speech received a strong applause from the audience. Earlier, Mr. Wang Cheng, President of Lanzhou University and China’s Vice Minister for Education, had similarly laid emphasis on exchange of valuable ideas in science and on higher education development. The HUC-led session on ‘university’ garnered much interest from the conference participants. 

The first day of the meeting was devoted to showcasing opportunities and experiences in collaborative activities in ICIMOD’s thematic areas. The aim was to strengthen partnership with academic institutions in the region, increase and share knowledge, and provide benefits to mountain communities. Theme leaders from ICIMOD facilitated panel discussions on the scope and challenges of research on various topics related to sustainable mountain development in the HKH region. Titles for the discussions included ‘Exploring the Frontiers of Livelihoods Research’, ‘Managing Water Related Research-based Challenges’, ‘Geospatial Science and Research Frontiers to Address Mountain Agriculture Challenges’, and ‘Enhancing Ecological Understanding by Research on Mountain Systems’. 

On the second and final day, the HUC held its annual meeting during which representatives from member universities spoke of their ongoing activities, challenges, and achievements. They explored opportunities to strengthen the links between regional and global knowledge systems through increased collaboration among member universities. Member representatives provided valuable insights on how they can help strengthen HUC and widen the scientific academic network for sustainable mountain development.

Extensive discussions were held on the draft HUC Charter, with valuable inputs from member representatives. The Charter will be duly approved and endorsed by the vice chancellors, deans and heads of institutions in the near future.

One of the notable achievements of the annual meeting was the formation of a five-member interim steering committee proposed by Dr David Molden and approved by all other representatives. The committee members include Prof. Long Ruijun from Lanzhou University China, Dr Bahadar Nawab Khattak from COMSATS, Pakistan, Dr Bim P. Shrestha from Kathmandu University, Nepal, Dr David Molden/Dr Eklabya Sharma from ICIMOD, and Prof. Ashok Gurung from the India-China Institute at the New School, USA. 

The HUC Steering Committee will serve a one-year term during which it will primarily be responsible for the endorsement of the Charter and for strengthening the HUC Secretariat at ICIMOD, Nepal. The first meeting of the steering committee will be held at the end of the year at ICIMOD.