His appointment took effect on June 25 following a vote at APRU’s Annual Presidents Meeting at Australian National University in Canberra, Australia.
As chairman of APRU and its steering committee, Nikias will lead the association in discussing how Pacific Rim research universities can address pressing issues such as public health and disease prevention, disaster management, sustainability and climate change.
The greatest problems we face today are undoubtedly global ones, which makes the role of an organization like APRU increasingly important.
C. L. Max Nikias
“The greatest problems we face today are undoubtedly global ones, which makes the role of an organization like APRU increasingly important to not only better navigate policy issues, but to combine the resources and intellectual might of our leading research universities to tackle the most pressing medical, environmental and social issues of our day,” Nikias said.
“The Century of the Pacific Rim,” as Nikias described it upon taking office in 2010, has been a central theme of his presidency. Under his leadership, USC has increasingly strengthened ties with stakeholders and peer universities in the region. Nikias has led delegations, opened international offices or hosted USC conferences in China, Indonesia, India, Singapore, Brazil and Mexico.
These initiatives are in line with Nikias’ vision for USC to take full advantage of its geographic location at the epicenter of the Pacific Rim, enabling the university to lead the intellectual, cultural and spiritual fabric of this “Pacific Century.”
USC’s role in the APRU
The university’s efforts to engage with the Pacific Rim include the founding of APRU by USC and three other universities in 1997, and the association’s growth to comprise 45 premier research universities dedicated to the development of an educated, prosperous and integrated Pacific Rim community.
“USC has played an integral role in APRU since its founding, and I am proud that in the years since, we have added to the organization a strong contingent of the premier research universities of the region,” Nikias said. “I am honored by the confidence these member universities have shown in me, and I look forward to working with all of APRU’s members to continue the association’s strong work during my term.”
USC is involved in a number of significant programs through APRU, including the association’s Global Health Program, which USC coordinates and leads. The program aims to leverage the global health education and research of Asia-Pacific universities to address global health issues through interaction with public policy and media. In addition, the USC Davis School of Gerontology is preparing to host APRU’s Aging in Asia Pacific Symposium in September.
Nikias served as the vice chairman of APRU prior to his current election as chairman and had the opportunity to visit with APRU Secretary General Christopher Tremewan during a USC delegation visit to Singapore in February. He succeeds Chancellor Henry Yang of the University of California, Santa Barbara, who served two consecutive terms beginning in 2010.