It is a cliché to say that time seems to pass ever more quickly the older one gets. Cliché it may be but it is nonetheless true for all that. The psychologists seem relatively settled in their opinion that this is because our perception of time is inversely proportional to new experiences. That is to say that the more new things we encounter, the slower passes. Childhood summers and undergraduate semesters were full of new experiences and so seems to last forever, the repeated round of university life— teaching (often the same courses), assessment, moderation panels, senate meetings and graduations— rarely contains anything new and so time simply flies by. It is an appealing hypothesis, although it doesn’t quite stack up in every respect. The last eighteen months since the University of Saint Joseph became the Executive Secretariat of ASEACCU has gone in the blink of an eye, and yet it has been filled with some great new experiences, as this newsletter records.
Just after the last newsletter was published, we gathered for our Annual Conference and General Assembly in the beautiful setting of Baguio City, Philippines. None of us who were there will be able to forget the warmth of the welcome from the President, Fr. Gilbert Sales CICM and over three hundred of the university’s staff and students. The conference and assembly was a great success and I can only record my sheer admiration for Fr. Gilbert and the entire Saint Louis University in running such a successful conference. Mind you, if you can run a university 1,700m up in the mountains with 30,000 students moving around a small campus on a steeply sloping mountainside, I suppose an ASEACCU conference is easy for you.
This newsletter has so many interesting articles that are worth your attention. I would draw your attention particularly to the story of St. Paul University, Manila being recognized for its response to the pandemic, to the invitation to the Catholic University of Vietnam to join ASEACCU, the IELE language café event at Assumption University of Thailand and, as we get ready for this year’s conference and general assembly at the Australian Catholic University’s North Sydney Campus, to the story of their student Meantepy Hoeung, an international student from Cambodia, who was recognized and honored as International Student of the Year by the government of the Australian state of Victoria for her medical volunteer work during the pandemic.
The number and range of the stories in this newsletter are an indication of the difference our member colleges and universities make across Southeast and East Asia. They also tell a tale of the strengthening bonds between our members. 2024 marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the International Federation of Catholic Universities and the 30th anniversary of the ASEACCU. I look forward to the celebrations of our shared mission and identity, of our real communion of heart, mind and life with eager anticipation. I wish you a very happy and holy 2024.
Rev’d Prof. Stephen Morgan, Rector
University of Saint Joseph
ASEACCU Executive Secretary