The first ASEM Summer Camp, organized by Asia-Europe Institute, University of Malaya and endorsed by ASEMME5 in April 2015, is just over. It ran from 2 – 16 August 2015. The programme, Asia-Europe Institute – ASEM Summer Camp (AEI-ASC) 2015, is a pilot project, aimed at addressing the issue of imbalance in the mobility of students, researchers, and academics etc. between Europe and Asia, raised in ASEMME3.
The AEI-ASC was launched by the AEI Executive Director, Professor Dr Azirah Hashim. The final number of participants was 9, comprising 1 each from Italy, Philippines, China, and Japan; 3 from Indonesia, and 2 Malaysian participants.
The theme of the AEI-ASC, “Biodiversity and Cultural Heritage,” was translated into 11 lecture modules, meant to provide sound background knowledge for which some complementary fieldwork visits, talks and other related activities were also organised. The 11 lecture modules were “Trends in Malaysian Foreign Relations”; “Sustainable Forest Management & Timber Certification”; “Management of Marine Parks and Their Importance”; “Introduction to Malaysia’s Culture and Traditions”; “Putrajaya and Vision 2020”; “The Flora and Fauna of Peninsula Malaysia”; “Culinary Traditions and Cultural Ties in Malaysia”; “Melaka, A Cultural Heritage”; “Minangkabau Tradition”; “Bio-Computing”; and “ASEAN Community 2015”.
The field trips and related activities to provide hands-on exposure and complement the modules included among others, a tour of ‘Rimba Ilmu’ in the University of Malaya, a visit to the National Museum, a presentation and tour of Putrajaya by Putrajaya Holdings, talk and forest walk at the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM), a visit to a village for a closer look into village socio-economy, visits to the UNESCO Heritage City of Melaka, and the Baitul Hilal Observatory in Port Dickson.
The feedback collated from the Roundtable entitled “ASC: Moving Forward” on 15th August was very encouraging. Individual interviews as well as emails from participants after they had gone home provided more constructive feedback, to be considered for future ASCs. Among the important points in the feedback received include the suggestion of having 2 dedicated focus in the summer camp, viz. one on Biodiversity and another on Cultural Heritage, to enable participants to get a deeper impression from the lectures, with some common modules and activities that participants in both groups could jointly enjoy. In general the participants indicated that they were happy with the organization of the whole 2-week Camp and a number would consider coming back for subsequent summer camps.
Indeed, all the participants had actively participated in the programme which had made the first AEI-ASC very lively and enjoyable.
The Management team of AEI would like to express its deep appreciation to the ASEM Education Secretariat, Jakarta for its invaluable cooperation and endorsement to the first AEI-ASEM Summer Camp including in getting participants. The AEI is also grateful to all the Malaysian agencies, professors and presenters who had enabled AEI to organize the first pilot-project AEI-ASC. Let us look forward to a bigger AEI-ASC in 2016.
– Prepared by Lee Ee Wern