The virtual 26th AUN/SEED-Net Steering Committee Meeting and the 7th Working Group Meeting on September 21, 2021, took place in the presence of delegates from Member Institutions (MIs), ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN University Network Secretariat (AUN), Japanese Supporting Universities (JSU), Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Embassy Jof apan, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Headquarters, and JICA Thailand Office.

Figure 1: Participants

Figure 2: Participants

Figure 3: Participants

Figure 4: Participants

Figure 5: Ms. Sarunphak Kittivorapoom, Master of Ceremonies

The meeting commenced with congratulatory remarks and speeches from honorable guests, Mr. Jun SAKUMA, Director General of the Human Development Department, JICA Headquarters; Mr. Kota KOBAYASHI, Assistant Director, First Country Assistance Planning Division, International Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Professor Shinnosuke OBI, Chairman of the Japanese Supporting University Consortium; followed by Ms. Rodora T. Babaran, Director, Human Development Directorate, ASEAN Secretariat. 

Figure 6: Opening remarks by Mr. Jun SAKUMA, Director General of the Human Development Department,
JICA Headquarters

Figure 7: Opening remarks by Mr. Kota KOBAYASHI, Assistant Director, First Country Assistance Planning Division, International Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Figure 8: Opening remarks by Professor Shinnosuke OBI, Chairman of the Japanese Supporting University Consortium

Figure 9: Opening remarks by Ms. Rodora T. Babaran,Director, Human Development Directorate, ASEAN Secretariat

The change in Chairmanship was formally announced to the respective stakeholders.

AUN/SEED-Net is honored to have Asst. Prof. Nayot Kurukitkoson, Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Burapha University, acting as Chairman of the 26th AUN/SEED-Net Steering Committee Meeting and the 7th Working Group Meeting this year.

Figure 10: Asst. Prof. Nayot Kurukitkoson, Chairman and Dean of Faculty of Engineering,
Burapha University

The first session was conducted by the Assistant Executive Director of AUN/SEED-Net. Prof. Kasem Choocharukul, who presented a comprehensive AUN/SEED-Net report on current programs and past achievements. The programs include the Collaborative Education Program (CEP), Alumni Support Program (ASP), Regional Conference (RC), Special Program for Research Against COVID-19 (SPRAC), ASEAN Engineering Journal (AEJ), Graduate Degree Program and Short-term Study Program in Japan (GRAD & SSJP), Special fund for the purchase of scientific literature, Video Contest for Alumni Network (V-CAN), and Public Relations (PR).

With continuous support from Member Institutions and stakeholders over the past 20 years, AUN/SEED-Net has auspiciously achieved its ultimate goals for the Phase IV implementation period, “Plant the SEED of Future, Grow the ASEAN-Japan Network for Sustainability”.

Figure 11: Prof. Kasem Choocharukul, Assistant Executive Director of AUN/SEED-Net

The new ownership of the ASEAN Engineering Journal (AEJ) was officially announced at the meeting. Throughout the intense selection process and interviews, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) has proven their expertise and strong commitment toward journal management, and thus was the candidate chosen to become the new owner of AEJ. In this regard, Prof. Norhazilan Md Noor, AEJ’s Editor-in-Chief and Chair of the School of Civil Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, provided an update on the publication schedule and the journal management team. UTM reassured the meeting participants that AEJ will continue working to become internationally recognized for the benefit of all Member Institutions.

Figure 12: Prof. Norhazilan Md Noor, AEJ’s Editor-in-Chief and Chair of the School of Civil Engineering,
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

In response to JICA Headquarters and AUN/SEED-Net’s proposed direction involving Post-Phase IV collaboration to create linkages with external partners based on the concept of building a network beyond the ASEAN, Ms. Tonghathai Likhitweerawong, Project Manager, AUN/SEED-Net, highlighted the research activities taking place with external partners in Africa and South Asia. These are being implemented through AUN/SEED-Net’s existing programs such as the Collaborative Education Program (CEP) and Collaborative Research with External Partners (CRX). Such interconnected activities not only ensure the sustainability of AUN/SEED-Net following the end of Phase IV, but also addresses the policies of the Government of Japan and the ASEAN, namely “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” (FOIP) and “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific” (AOIP), aimed at enhancing the connectivity of higher education institutions in the Indo-Pacific Region.

Figure 13: Ms. Tonghathai Likhitweerawong, Project Manager, AUN/SEED-Net

The “Outline for Post-Phase IV” presented during the last session drew a lot of attention from AUN/SEED-Net stakeholders. Comments and suggestions from Member Institutions (MIs) regarding the AUN/SEED-Net Network Transfer collected during the online meeting in February 2021 are reflected in the new network transfer plans. Ms. Yukiko Ito, Deputy Director for Technical and Higher Education Team, Higher Education and Social Security, Human Development Department, JICA Headquarters, shared JICA’s direction and details of the future AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat following the end of Phase IV with the meeting participants. Positive feedback and valuable suggestions from distinguished Member Institutions for sustaining the network Post-Phase IV were acknowledged with appreciation.

Figure 14: Ms. Yukiko Ito, Deputy Director for Technical and Higher Education Team, Higher Education and Social Security, Human Development Department, JICA Headquarters

To formally conclude the meeting, Prof. Emeritus Tamon UEDA, Chief Advisor and Acting Executive Director, AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat delivered a closing address to all participants. A combination of conventional and new normal in organizing this event is considered to be another milestone achievement for the network.

Figure 15: Closing remarks by Prof. Emeritus Tamon UEDA, Chief Advisor and Acting Executive Director, AUN/SEED-Net

We at JICA and AUN/SEED-Net would like to express our sincere gratitude for the continuous support of all participants. This remarkable accomplishment is a result of the dedication and cooperation exhibited by every partner. We look forward to the sustainability and expansion of the network beyond the ASEAN following the end of Phase IV.

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