With attendance higher than every year, on July 19, 2019, colloquially and warmly, The 25th ASEAN University Network/Southeast Asia Engineering Education Network (AUN/SEED-Net) Steering Committee Meeting & The 6th AUN/SEED-Net Working Group Meeting at The Sukosol Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand welcomed the presence of 104 delegates from Member Institutions (MIs), Japanese Supporting Universities (JSU), Non-Member Institutions, Mission of Japan to ASEAN, delegations from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Headquarters, JICA Thailand office, and its affiliations, ASEAN Foundation, ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN University Network (AUN), external partners including CU Innovation Hub,  Leave A Nest, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) , Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST) Project and JICA Project for Future Researchers at India Institute of Technology Hyderabad to Enhance Network Development with Scholarship of Japan (JICA-FRIENDSHIP Project).

AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat addressed a comprehensive report on Phase IV’s 3 core pillars; Collaborative Education Program (CEP), Alumni Support Program (ASP), and Regional Conference (RC). The session informed scholarships awarded to members of AUN/SEED-Net projects. Followed by instructive presentation of the 4th pillar, ASEAN Engineering Journal’s (AEJ). The report on the journal’s progress showed the promising submission and publication statistics and the citation records that indicated future potentials and sustainability. AEJ’s most prominent target is to be indexed in Scopus and AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat delightfully announced that, within a decade, AEJ was successfully accepted for inclusion by Scopus on June 17, 2019. Despite reaching its major milestone, AEJ is still growing and is expected to increase the number of publication issues per year and to enhance the recognition of the journal in a global scale.

Representatives from MI and Non-MI partners were then invited to the podium to report on current and future activities and led to animated and fruitful discussions between presenters, AUN/SEED-Net, and experts from different engineering fields. JICA Headquarters and AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat remarked AUN/SEED-Net’s direction towards post-Phase IV collaboration to create linkages with external partners based on the concept of building network beyond ASEAN to South Asia and Africa. The content highlighted and encouraged future collaboration to secure the sustainability of AUN/SEED-Net network via external partners and funding. In order to identify the key factors to overcome challenges and lesson learned, JICA Headquarters have addressed Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy (FOIP) initiative to strengthen the prosperity of the projects.

Prof. Ahmed El-Gohary, President of E-JUST, stated E-JUST’s aim is to promote partnership in higher education in the field of engineering and technology to develop networking among African and Japanese universities. This amiable gathering served as a stepping stone to establish a strong academic relationship between Egypt and ASEAN. This opportunity was highly appreciated by AUN/SEED-Net. On top of the anticipated goal, Prof. El-Gohary expressed his desire for imminent future collaboration with AUN/SEED-Net’s 4 core pillars which can lead to beneficial networking in between the two regions.

 JICA and AUN/SEED-Net would like to express our sincere gratitude for the eager participation and continuous support by all participants. We hope that the distinguished partners can take home prosperous, innovative ideas to develop research capacities and go forward to become a strong foundation for international community building beyond ASEAN.