26 May 2023 – The Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), in collaboration with the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN), co-hosted a series of crucial events aimed at fostering regional cooperation, capacity building, and knowledge exchange. The 13th Southeast Asia Subregional Committee (SEA-SRC) Meeting, Proposal Development Training Workshop (PDTW), Early-Career Professional Networking Session, and Water Security Assessment Tool (WATSAT) Training Workshop have been successfully concluded from 22 to 26 May 2023 at AIT’s main campus in Bangkok, Thailand.
Distinguished speakers Prof. Dieter Trau, Dean, School of Engineering and Technology, Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Dr. Monthip Sriratana, APN National Focal Point for Thailand and Chair of the APN Southeast Asia Subregional Committee, National Research Council of Thailand and Dr. Linda Anne Stevenson, Head of Knowledge Management & Scientific Affairs; Deputy Head of Development & Institutional Affairs, Secretariat of APN provided their opening remarks to the participants and the importance of the event in bringing a solid platform for enhancing future collaboration and addressing the global change and sustainability issues.
Furthermore, the event also witnessed a keynote speech from Prof. Sangam Shrestha, Professor, Water Engineering and Management (WEM) and Founding Co-Director of Global Water & Sanitation Center (GWSC), AIT, where he shared his experiences on proposal development and project implementation. Additionally, an interactive panel discussion among AIT faculty project leaders on APN projects (Prof. Mukand Singh Babel, Prof. Joyashree Roy, Dr. Indrajit Pal, Dr. Loc Ho Huu, Dr. Salvatore G.P. Virdis) highlighted the importance and needs for the collaborative research, interdisciplinarity, policy relevance, engagement of the early-career professionals, networking, communication and dissemination and sustaining the work beyond the project activity.
During the first two and half days, the participants with the APN-secretariat, mentors, and SEA-SRC members got engaged in the PDTW event. This flagship event aimed to empower early-career professionals from Southeast Asia with the skills required to develop competitive project proposals for APN funding. This year’s PDTW focused on “Water security: improving knowledge systems, governance, and regional cooperation.” The workshop witnessed the active participation of APN members, early-career professionals, and AIT experts, aiming to enhance knowledge exchange and cooperation in tackling water security challenges.
Simultaneously, the Early-Career Professional Networking Session and the 13th SEA-SRC Meeting were held in parallel to create an inclusive environment for valuable discussions and interactions. The networking session is part of a new initiative from APN for forming the Asia- Pacific Network of Early Career Professionals (APN-ECAP) led by Dr. Saurav KC. The APN-ECAP is a platform for the visibility of early-career professionals in global change and sustainability issues. Meanwhile, the SEA-SRC members utilized the 13th SEA-SRC meeting to address institutional matters related to the subregion, focusing on critical issues relevant to the committee’s mandate.
The last day of the event consisted of the Water Security Assessment Tool (WATSAT) Training Workshop to enhance the capacity of SEA-SRC members and early-career professionals in measuring urban water security. The program started with a welcome remark by Prof. Kazuo Yamamoto, AIT President, and opening remarks from Dr. Monthip Sriratana. This workshop aimed to equip participants with the necessary skills and knowledge to evaluate and assess water security in their respective regions effectively. By building their capacity in this crucial area, the participants are better prepared to address water security challenges and contribute to sustainable development efforts.
The closing session of the series of events started with an evaluation of the week, followed by remarks from Dr. Saurav KC reflecting on the ECAP session and the next step for APN-ECAP establishment. The closing remarks from Dr. Linda Anne Stevenson and Prof. Sangam Shrestha reflected a week-long meaningful discussion, knowledge sharing, and a long-term impact towards a collaborative effort and commitment to regional cooperation through early career professionals to address global challenges.
The 13th APN Southeast Asia Subregional Committee Meeting and back-to-back events brought together a diverse group of experts, early-career professionals, and policymakers, creating a dynamic platform for collaboration. This collaborative effort will undoubtedly advance research, policy development, and sustainable practices in the Southeast Asian region.