For many years, the UK has been building alumni networks to cement relationships between people who have enjoyed an educational experience in the UK.
Alumni are key carriers of UK soft power; their success and satisfaction is a leading indicator of the global future of UK higher education. Alumni let us know how we have succeeded with nurturing talent and have contributed to significant life journeys, essentially they are the trusted voice of UK Higher Education. CASE Feasibility Study for the UK Southeast Asia Knowledge Partnership
The UK-Southeast (SE) Asia Knowledge Partnership is pleased to announce the creation of the UK-SE Asia Alumni Hub. Its role is to create sustainable alumni engagement, in partnership with universities, through systematic communication of knowledge, best practice, data and resources that will promote the excellence of UK education, thus contributing to the impact of UK universities and the economic growth and prosperity of the UK.
Based on research
The UK-SE Asia Knowledge Partnership commissioned the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) to undertake a study to determine the feasibility of, and develop a model for, engagement with UK alumni in Southeast Asia. Based on over 50 primary interviews and seven focus groups with alumni in the region, alumni professionals at UK and US universities, vice-chancellors and global thought leaders in the areas of alumni relations and soft power, as well as a review of existing studies on the internationalisation of education and alumni relations, the CASE research team concluded:
- There is much good will toward the alma mater and among the UK alumni engaged for the study. There is much opportunity for more robust engagement.
- Some UK university staff are wary of others’ efforts to engage their alumni, and their experience with overseas representatives has been uneven and at times requiring improved coordination.
- Reaping benefits of alumni engagement (commercial, political, creative and philanthropic) relies on systematic and continuous relationship building that includes universities at the core. At present only a few individual universities have managed this in the SE Asia region.
- There is a disparate level of alumni engagement across the ten SE Asia countries by each university or association, hence networking, connectivity and opportunities for alumni can be improved. Senior alumni in particular do not solely rely on one university for broader communications and high profile opportunities.
- Foreign policy practitioners and thought leaders affirm that government promotes soft power best by enabling civil society connections to thrive independently.
- Government and university investment in the region remains high, describing the region as a ‘global powerhouse’ for student recruitment and research capability.
The UK-SE Asia Alumni Hub will enhance the engagement and representation of alumni in the region by working with UK universities to sustain their efforts and craft select initiatives that can tap into the talent and affinity of UK university alumni. The key components of the hub include:
- An Information Gateway (part of the UK-SE Asia Knowledge Partnership online) - coordination and sharing of the knowledge and expertise on UK/SEA educational, research and innovation initiatives, events, data and policy updates.
- Alumni Advocates – the appointment of 50 exceptional individuals as Alumni Advocates to support the soft power agenda, serving as ambassadors to support the preeminence of UK education and all that it has to offer the region’s economic, social, and cultural evolution. In addition, they have the platform to influence future policy and regional investment decisions.
Benefits for UK Institutions
- Engaged and active alumni, who promote and demonstrate the value of UK education excellence, yet remain 100% loyal to their own institution.
- Represented at relevant and high profile country and regional events through their alumni.
- Supported alumni that have a hunger for widespread and prominent opportunities that they can contribute to and influence in their home country, the region and the UK.
- Greater connectivity for education, research and innovation collaborations in the region.
The countries of SE Asia are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. These countries include some of the most dynamic economies in the world with high potential for beneficial engagement by UK universities. By creating the Alumni Hub, we will draw on the extensive knowledge and networks through the stable presence of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and the British Council. The Partnership will work with universities to actively engage successful alumni in this thriving region through strategic investment in their talent, to embrace their affinity with the UK alumni population and seek opportunities in research, education, and innovation collaborations between UK & SE Asia higher education institutions.