The Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning (ASAIHL) was founded as a non-governmental organization by the leaders of eight prominent universities in Southeast Asia at a meeting in Bangkok in 1956. Field Marshal Pibulsongkram, the Prime Minister of Thailand, supported its foundation and approved setting up the Secretariat in Thailand. His government then begun by giving financial and material support, which continued for several years until the Association had other sources of funds. More recently, in addition to physical facilities, the Thai government began supporting the Association via an annual grant. For its role in aiding member institutions to strengthen themselves via mutual self-help to achieve distinction both in education and public service, ASAIHL was granted UNESCO status in 1973.
National Councils consisting of representatives from member institution may be established per country. It may carry out programs approved by the General Conference and the Administrative Board and, subject to approval by the Administrative Board, the council may initiate local activities. It may also receive and retail funds, subject to the Board’s approval. National Councils have been set up in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand, where there exists a large number of member institutions.
The founding fathers:
- Sir Nicholas Attygalle, University of Ceylon
- Air Marshal Muni M. Vejyant Rangshrisht, Chulalongkorn University
- Dr. Lindsay Ride, University of Hong Kong
- Prof. Bahder Djohan, University of Indonesia
- Sir Sydney Caine, University of Malaya
- Dr. Vidal A. Tan, University of the Philippines
- Dr. Htin Aung, University of Rangoon
- Prof. Nguyen-Quang-Trinh, National University of Vietnam