UBD is a progressive higher education institute in Brunei Darussalam that is proactive in looking for opportunities to strengthen the international footing in the global university network. In addition to bilateral partnerships, UBD is active in multi-lateral partnerships through its memberships in key alliances. As such, several regional and international networks have been established and maintained over the years including AUN, BSN, Brunei-U.S ELEP, Erasmus Mundus, iCUBE, SEAMEO, ASAIHL, SAF, and UMAP.
ASEAN University Network (AUN)
The ASEAN University Network (AUN) is an association of universities in the ASEAN member countries which is committed to bridging gaps between leading higher education institutions in the ASEAN region by the promotion of regional cooperation in areas of academic programmes and research opportunities. The AUN was initiated in the 4th ASEAN Summit in 1992, where ASEAN members strived to “hasten the solidarity and development of a regional identity through the promotion of human resource development so as to further strengthen the existing network of leading universities and institutions of higher learning in the region.” AUN allows the exchange flow of expertise amongst member higher education institutes which will strengthen academic ties between universities in ASEAN countries and promotes simultaneous progression toward excellence in education and research in the region.
The AUN was formally established in November 1995 with 11 participating universities (including UBD) from 6 ASEAN countries.
Today, AUN is consortium of 30 leading universities in the region. Some of its main roles include:
To strengthen the existing network of cooperation among universities in ASEAN and beyond;
To promote collaborative study, research and educational programmes in the priority areas identified by ASEAN;
To promote cooperation and solidarity among scholars, academicians and researchers in the ASEAN Member States; and,
To serve as the policy-oriented body in higher education in the ASEAN region.
The AUN promotes ASEAN solidarity and mutual understanding at all levels through activities ranging from cultural forums, youth forums to rectors’ forums. Notably, AUN plays a key role in promoting mobility through a harmonized credit transfer system as well as its own online application platform. To further enhance solidarity beyond the ASEAN region, AUN has expanded to partner universities in the East Asian region, i.e. China, South Korea and Japan. These universities together with AUN forms the AUN+3 Network.
UBD is one of the founding members of AUN and has been actively involved in AUN-organized activities. Through its mandatory year-out also known as Discovery Year, UBD accounts for more than half of the student mobility activities under the AUN framework. Notably, UBD students also undertake internships in the AUN Secretariat.
Borneo Studies Network (BSN)
BSN is a Borneo-based framework of Research and Studies Network, allowing the coordination across the institutions of higher education and research centers in Borneo with a partnership approach. As a precursor of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research in Borneo studies, BSN constitutes a bridge towards Borneo’s research, innovation, and studies capacities to foster Borneo competitiveness.
Brunei-US English Language Enrichment Project for ASEAN
The Brunei-US English Language Enrichment for ASEAN is a collaborative initiative between Brunei Darussalam and the United States which aims to strengthen integration amongst the ASEAN nation with the building of English language proficiency, promotion of cultural awareness and appreciation as well as facilitation of communications between stakeholders in the region. There are four programmes in this initiative: 11 Week Training Program, Forum on English for ASEAN Integration, English Language Fellows (ELFs) Exchange Programme and The English Teaching Apprenticeship (ETA) Programme.
Erasmus Mundus is a programme which provides support for higher education institutions, individual students, researchers and university staff and any organisation that is active in the field of higher education. Erasmus Mundus offers joint-programmes, partnerships and projects to promote European higher education and cultural awareness among partner universities. It aims to enhance the quality of European higher education and promote dialogue and understanding between people and cultures through academic cooperation and mobility. The programme contributes to the development of human resources and the international cooperation capacity of higher education institutions.
The International Consortium of Universities for the Study of Biodiversity and the Environment (iCUBE) is a network of universities aimed at promoting collaborative research and education on biodiversity, climate change and the environment. iCUBE encourages member universities to cooperate and draw on each other’s capabilities and respective expertise to further research initiatives, intellectual exchange opportunities for staff and students, and improve research and teaching capacities of the member universities.
UBD is the founding member and Secretariat for iCUBE, which consists of six other member universities:
The Consortium seeks to strengthen existing and further create international linkages, promote intellectual and educational exchanges and interaction among scholars and students. Notably, iCUBE not only looks at biodiversity issues from scientific point of view, but also from social science point of view, thus promoting cross- and trans-disciplinary research.
To date, iCUBE has held numerous activities including governing and scientific board meetings, workshops, conferences and expeditions to encourage dynamic collaborations, discussions and education in areas of biodiversity and the environment. One of the most impactful events is the Bukit Pagon expedition. Bukit Pagon, which is Brunei’s highest peak at a height of 1850m, is located on the boundary between Brunei and Limbang in the State of Sarawak, Malaysia. It is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. More importantly, it is home to a rare breed of rainforest i.e. heath forest which only constitutes 1% of rainforest in Brunei. This type of forest is previously unstudied and is believed to possess plants with medicinal qualities. The Bukit Pagon expedition marked a major milestone for ecological studies in Brunei by providing the first inventory of flora and fauna of this montane heath habitat.
The second expedition is schedule to be carried out in the summer of 2017 to Bukit Teraja