WOU sets up GIOAS to advance openness and change

PENANG: Wawasan Open University (WOU) is launching the George Town Institute of Open and Advanced Studies (GIOAS) in January 2019 for the advancement of openness to forge a more knowledgeable and harmonious society.

GIOAS aims to attract leaders and thinkers from diverse fields and backgrounds to come together to deliberate over ideas for such advancement. Its inaugural event is a free public forum on the “Role of the University in a Digitally Disrupted Age” at the main campus in Penang on Saturday, January 12th, from 2.30pm to 4.30pm.

The panel speakers are the International Advisory Board (IAB) members of GIOAS who are highly respected academicians and thought leaders from across the globe. The IAB is led by Tan Sri Andrew Sheng, Distinguished Fellow, Asia Global Institute, University of Hong Kong, and former Chairman of Khazanah Research Institute. The other members are:

  • Dr Douglass Carmichael, physicist, humanist, psychoanalyst, entrepreneur and economic advisor to the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), and former Professor at University of California, Santa Cruz.

  • Dr Stephen Oppenheimer, British geneticist and author. He is an honorary fellow of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and was trained in medicine at University of Oxford and University of London.

  • Dr Yaga Venugopal Reddy, former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). He is a Visiting Fellow at London School of Economics, and Honorary Professor at Centre for Economic and Social Studies at Hyderabad.

  • Dr Man Fai Shiu, former Consultant Cardiologist at Royal Free Hospital, London.

  • Ms Wang Yuan, former Chief Economist, China Development Bank, Beijing, the largest development bank in the world. She was also Chief Adviser of the Securities and Futures Commission, Hong Kong, and has previously worked at the Chinese Ministry of Finance, People’s Bank of China and the World Bank in Washington, DC. 

  • Mr Jan Wouter Vasbinder, Founding President, Institute Para Limes, Europe, and former Director, Para Limes, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. 

Speaking at the press conference to announce the establishment of GIOAS at the main campus today, Tan Sri Andrew Sheng said, “The GIOAS is an effort to bring in international perspectives to the dialogue going on in Penang and elsewhere in Malaysia on the future role of education, learning, work and life. We are facing so many challenges brought by technology, geopolitics and climate change that we need to think about 21st century challenges using new lenses. This is why the Institute is OPEN, and draws in people who are advanced or who are working at the cutting edge of thinking or working on these issues.

On his involvement in the GIOAS initiative, he elaborated, “”I have been asked why I want to support something like GIOAS. It is my belief that education is the ultimate goal of any individual – if we cannot solve our problems in our present generation, we help the next generation deal with it better.”

He continued, “This is an exciting platform to have a conversation, dialogue or discussion. Engaging the young, old and anyone who wants to think through what is possible in this age of technology and knowledge truly opens up many avenues or opportunities to change.”

“Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the name George Town has become a global brand. Penang is global because its geographical position and history links it to people who can associate with that history and now evolving culture.”

WOU Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, in explaining the establishment of GIOAS, declared, “”Like all universities around the world, there are many challenges on how to upgrade the university as an institution that evolves with the times. Education is shifting from teaching students to follow instructions to preparing them to think and solve problems not just for themselves, but for society as a whole. With new tools that technology offers, WOU is revamping its own preparedness to deliver good education for all at affordable prices.”

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