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U21 international award winners announced

The U21 Award, which recognises innovation in international HE within the U21 network of global research HEIs, has been awarded to both John Spinks of the University of Hong Kong and Kazuo Kuroda of Waseda University, Japan.

The academics will be given their awards in May. Photo: Universitas 21

The awards will be presented at the U21 AGM at the University of Maryland

Spinks was recognised for a career spanning 20 years, in which he transformed the University of Hong Kong’s international recruitment record, and recently initiated a UN-inspired scholarship at HKU.

“The primary purpose of IHE is to contribute to the global world”

Kuroda research on internationalisation in Asian HE was described as “impressive” by Baibre Redmond of U21, who added that his work “underpinned his leadership in the development of new collaborative international degree programs” at Waseda.

The director of undergraduate admissions and senior advisor to the HKU president, Spinks took the international intake from 30 students (and a department of only two staff), to 750, the maximum allowed under local regulations, and more than 2,000 exchange students. The department now employees 75 staff members.

He described receiving the awards as an “honour”, and said his work was “the most rewarding in academia”, in a statement.

“It is a great honour, and an even greater surprise, to be nominated for the Universitas 21 Award. Setting up partnerships with other universities around the world, and liaising with governments, educational bodies, foundations and schools, not to mention prospective students, across Asia and beyond, must be one of the most rewarding jobs in academia.

“I am continually reminded of the communality of motives and goals among these stakeholders – of which the most significant is to help move talented students along their educational careers,” he added.

Kuroda is a professor in the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies. He is now researching international cooperation and global governance in education with analysis of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Kuroda also won significant funding from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology, with which he developed a student mobility project with Korea University and Peking University.

He said: “As a practitioner and researcher in Internationalisation of HE, I have believed for many years that the primary purpose of IHE is to contribute to the global world”.

“As we recognise ever growing demand for us, universities, to contribute to such global efforts, I firmly believe that U21
and its member universities are making and can continue to make significant contributions toward
realising the goal of a peaceful and sustainable world,” he added.

Spinks and Kuroda will be presented with their awards at the U21 AGM hosted at the University of Maryland in May.

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