Academic Collaboration in Hindu Kush Himalaya Reinforced HKH Universities Sign a New Charter for Collaboration and Development

   TwitCount
Group photo of HUC participant
Photo credit: Jitendra Raj Bajracharya/ICIMOD. 

During the HUC Summit held in Kathmandu, Nepal, the Secretariat of the Himalayan University Consortium (HUC) at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) brought together vice chancellors, rectors, presidents, directors, heads of the existing and potential HUC member universities and institutions in the Hindu Kush Himalaya and beyond to discuss collaborative research, knowledge generation and sharing, and academic education and capacity building on mountains issues. 

Since its inception in 2007, the important issue for the HUC Summit has been to streamline and activate regional collaboration on mountain issues and opportunities. Today HUC comprises 33 universities from the HKH region and ten associate members, who at the summit signed a new HUC charter. 

Those joining the summit highlighted the need for close and innovative collaboration. Participants stressed the required development of regional scholar leaders in the HKH for the promotion of evidence-based decisions on highlands and lowlands. These scholar leaders would underpin regional development, encouraging HUC member institutions to guide HUCs to formulate strategies and action plans on mountain research and develop curricula to meet national and regional needs. The inherent need to develop better universities and attract more students on PhD and post graduate levels was highlighted by many of the participants. 

In 2014, ICIMOD’s Board of Governors approved HUC as its sixth regional programme. HUC provides a platform to enhance collaboration among HKH academic and research institutions and to promote centres of excellence in areas pertinent to the region. HUC’s aim is to build a dynamic mountain knowledge partnership between the member institutions. 

HUC works to ensure its members are actively involved in developing, sharing and adopting mountain curricula. In addition, HUC offers an exchange programme for students and faculty members for building local capacity to meet mountain challenges in the future. In 2014 HUC initiated a small grants programme and a mobility programme for better collaboration among its members. 

The charter will provide a platform for new forms of collaboration, underpins the roles and responsibilities for HUC’s members, and will bring new possibilities for local and regional university leaders to improve ways to cooperate for the future of the Himalayan region.