In 1999, the University of Kyoto (Japan) held a scientific forum with the attendance of experts from the four leading universities in East Asia includingPeking University (China), Seoul National University (Korea), Vietnam National University, Hanoi (Vietnam), and the University of Tokyo. A consensus was reached at the forum that East Asia is a region with long-standing cultural traditions/civilization and a great deal of humane values that could be valuable in improving higher education quality in the current context of globalization and economic integration.
All four universities agreed to alternately organize the forum in an annual basis in the form of presidents’ forums in combination with symposiums. BESETOHAis the abbreviation of two first letters in the English names of the cities where these four universities locate (BEJING, SEOUL, TOKYO and HANOI).
After more than 3 turns in 13 consecutive years starting from 1999, the forum has gained a lot of achievements. It has provided good platforms for leaders and managers to meet and strengthen mutual understandings as well as exchange experiences to propose common initiatives and promote the development of each university. Also at the forums, the scholars have had chances to discuss on important issues in higher education, such as cultural diversification, sustainable development, role of higher education, etc. Such activities have created positive effects for each university and the value of each university has been added from the common idea of building, preserving and making effective use of the civilization and cultural/ traditional values in East Asia, contributing to the training of high quality human resources. By 2011, 13 forums have been held. VNU first hosted the forum in 2001 (the 3rd BESETOHA). The second time BESETOHA organized in Hanoi was in 2006 (the 8th BESETOHA).
The 8th forum was organized in the context of Vietnam preparing to enter the World Trade Organization (WTO), Hanoi preparing for APEC forum 2006 and VNU preparing for its centennial anniversary ceremony. The forum attracted the attention and interest of various classes of people in Hanoi and many VNU staff and students. That was also the occasion for VNU to show its hospitability, respect and goodwill to promote the effective cooperation among the four universities. The 12th forum was also organized by VNU in 2010.
BESETOHA forum has become a platform for Presidents of four East Asia universities to meet and discuss the ideas on building the mutual culture based on joint activities with reciprocal support and cooperation for the common objective, for the benefit of each university and each nation, contributing to the peace preservation and sustainable development of the region and the world, meeting the 21st century tendency.