17th Annual APRU Multi-Hazards Symposium Presents New Approaches and Tools to Tackle Future Risks
The 17th Annual APRU Multi-Hazards Symposium was hosted by Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok in late-November, highlighting the importance of innovative approaches for numerous key topics ranging from infrastructure and community resilience to socio-economic and governance challenges. Held under the theme “Innovation toward sustainable growth and disaster risk reduction”, the real-life gathering brought over 120 featured scholars, practitioners, and participants from the APRU network and the United Nations ESCAP across four continents. Prof. Dr. Bundit Eua-arporn, President of Chulalongkorn University, pointed out that Chulalongkorn University is strongly committed to facilitate academic learning, public service, and professional excellence with innovations for multi-hazard management. “Education institutes have a lot of valuable academic resources and innovative research, and we need to work harder with collective efforts and well-planned strategies to mitigate potential risks and use new innovations with systematic management methods to prevent any hazards from happening,” Prof. Dr. Bundit said in his welcome speech. “By doing so, not only people’s life will be safer, but also damages on lives and properties will be reduced,” he added. The multidisciplinary nature of the 17th Annual APRU Multi-Hazards Symposium was illustrated by eleven prominent keynote speakers, such as Prof. Fumihiko Imamura, Director of the International Research Institute of Disaster Science at Tohoku University; Dr. Bhichit Rattakul, , Chairperson of the Thai Network for Disaster Resilience; Dr. Sanjay Srivastava, UNESCAP Chief for Disaster Risk Reduction; and Dr. Aaron Opdyke, Director of Research Training, School of Civil Engineering, Sydney University. Case studies ranged from Seismic Fragility of Selected Public High School Buildings in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, to Lessons Learned from COVID-19 Management in Sri Lankan Hospitals. Participants agreed that new approaches and tools based on innovation, science, and technology are indispensable to tackle future risks. “Nowadays, our world has been impacted by multiple hazards, including one of the most severe pandemics, COVID-19, and each time, the affected countries were facing losses based on lives,” said Prof. Supot Teachavorasinskun, Dean of Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University. “As the world is developing, it is our goal to reduce the disaster losses by creating sustainable innovations from our multidisciplinary knowledge,” he added. The 17th Annual APRU Multi-Hazards Symposium featured several Best Presentation and Poster Awards. Students from Monash University and Universitas Indonesia won the prizes by sharing the lessons learned from COVID-19 management in Sri Lankan hospitals and integrating tsunami evacuation route planning in web applications for Disaster Risk Reduction. For more information about the Multi-Hazards Symposium, visit here.
December 8, 2022more
APRU Presents Solutions for New Core Competency- Building at 18th APEC Future Education Forum
The recent annual APEC Future Education Forum (AFEF) served as an opportunity for APRU to share its future-oriented educational experiences in the APEC region. At the hybrid event held in Seoul November 10-11 as part of APEC 2022, APRU Senior Director (Policy and Research Programs) Christina Schönleber presented several APRU case studies related to skills and competencies for the future world of work. Schönleber described how APRU started supporting students and scholars from the start of the pandemic, when students were abruptly confined to their dorms spending much of the day in a virtual world. APRU developed several courses and activities tailored for that unprecedented situation, such as the Teaching in Virtual Environment webinar series; the Quarantunes – Student Competition (which encouraged to jointly create and enter music pieces with the aim to increase wellbeing and combat increasing mental disorders); and the Esports Fellowship. “Fairly quickly we realised that skills and competencies which were very important in a world where we operate mainly face to face had been superceded by new and different aptitudes,” Schönleber said. “Being able to cope quickly and continuously to an increasingly uncertain world required new core competencies, as suddenly the most important skills for students and academics were resilience and the ability to adapt to challenges and overcome these and importantly technical understanding,” she added. Schönleber went on to illustrate that challenges related to Climate Change and the transition to a green economy have also become a focus for students, which APRU responded to by creating the APRU Student Global Climate Change Simulation; APRU Global Sustainability: Waste & The City; the SDG 4 Global Citizens Program; and the Carbon Neutral Society – Action Month. Other panelists and speakers addressed a wide range of questions, including about the competencies that future generations should have and about how human factors, such perception, emotion, and passion, affect the changing educational situation. The 18th APEC Future Education Forum was organized by the Daegu, South Korea-based Institute APEC Collaborative Education (IACE). APRU has close links to IACE Chairman Professor Dong Sung Park, who serves as the Lead Sheepherder of the Human Resource Development Working Group (HRDWG). APRU has been a HRDWG guest member for several years and has recently renewed its guest member status with the HRDWG to the end of 2023. APEC 2022 concluded on November 19 with the APEC University Leaders Forum hosted by Chulalongkorn University in partnership with APRU on the margins of the APEC CEO Summit. The APEC CEO Summit is the APEC premier meeting of business and government leaders in the Asia Pacific.
November 29, 2022more
12th APRU Population Ageing Virtual Conference 2022 Takes on Massive Challenges in Achieving Optimal Outcomes for Older Persons
The 12th APRU Population Aging Conference 2022 recently brought together over 120 international experts and scholars to engage on global aging issues. Co-organized by Zhejiang University and the National University of Singapore (NUS) under the theme Ageing at a time of crisis: understanding needs, navigating new challenges, a central theme of the virtual 2-day conference was to present the importance of collaboration across research, policy, and practice domains to achieve optimal outcomes for older persons. Many countries in the Asia-Pacific region are confronted with the massive challenges associated with aging populations. Nearly 60% of the world’s elderly population live in Asia, creating persistent pressures for governments in the region and emerging as a central issue for research, policy, and practice. “In a recent UN Forum, experts urged us to develop safe, secure and aging-friendly environments as the Asia- Pacific population is ageing faster than any other region,” said Dr Christopher Tremewan, Secretary General of APRU, in his opening remarks. “Given that aging issues such as inequality, income security, and the digital divide are being exacerbated by climate change, digital transformation and the COVID-19 pandemic, it is timely to address together what is clearly a global issue affecting us all,” he added. Angelique Chan, Associate Professor in the Signature Program in Health Services and Systems Research at National University of Singapore’s Duke-NUS Medical School, served as a co-chair of the conference. Chan, who also is the Director of APRU Population Ageing Program, presented an overview of ageing issues and challenges. “We must look more deeply into topics such as the effects of social support on health, caregiver burden, and use of long-term care services,” Chan said. “It is also important to increase social engagement and psychological wellbeing in not only older persons but also their caregivers,” she added. Zhejiang University was represented by Ka Lin, Professor of Social Policy and Social Work. As the conference co-lead, he shared how Zhejiang University leveraged on their network in China to find top presenters, collaborated internally with their international office and senior management, and partnered with NUS to successfully co-host the conference. “Given that previous research has shown that having purpose and meaning at older ages leads to living longer and a higher quality of life, we need to advocate for policies that encourage productive aging, leverage on the ability of older persons to continue to contribute to society,” Lin said. He also highlighted the need to ensure that older adults live with dignity, honour, and respect. Keynotes were held by Prof. John Piggott, Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) at UNSW Sydney and Alan Walker, Professor of Social Policy & Social Gerontology Institution, at the University of Sheffield. The 12th APRU Population Ageing Virtual Conference 2022 served as a highly valuable platform also for abstracts presenters from across the APRU universities. The event furthermore featured the five winners of the student poster submission. Topics spanned from caregivers’ experiences preparing for End-of-Life (EoL) decisions in Singapore to sandwich generation’s caregiving and cognitive health in China. Secretary General of APRU Tremewan took the opportunity to thank National University of Singapore and Zhejiang University for being active and committed APRU members engaged in many of APRU’s programs. To find out more information about the Population Aging Conference 2022, visit here.
November 25, 2022more
APRU SDG4GC orientations kick-start exploration of health & well-being
In early November, two orientation programs successfully marked the start of the APRU SDG Education for Global Citizenship program (APRU SDG4GC), involving representatives from APRU member universities, UN agencies and other experts, interacting online with the program’s first cohort comprised of 60 students from 28 member universities. APRU SDG4GC is an intercultural, transdisciplinary and interactive program that fosters global citizenship among students from 60 universities in 19 economies across the Pacific Rim. Lead by Chulalongkorn University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and co-designed by four other core-partner universities, in collaboration with the United Nations, the program builds knowledge of global issues among students. With the theme of “Shaping the Future of Health and Wellbeing” this year, the program covers a broad range of topics, including mental health, health equity, health care system, ethics, healthy ageing, and global health. Bundhit Eua-arporn, President of Chulalongkorn University (Photo: Chulalongkorn University) “You have already proved yourself to be pioneers ready to lead the way towards a shared vision of global citizenship,” said Bundhit Eua-arporn, President of Chulalongkorn University, in his opening remarks. “Global citizenship is key in these times when the world is undergoing critical transitions that demand resolution of interconnected challenges,” he added. Rocky Tuan, Vice-Chancellor and President of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Photo: Chulalongkorn University) Rocky Tuan, Vice-Chancellor and President of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, revealed that the inaugural class of APRU SDG4GC was completely oversubscribed and congratulated the students for being selected. Tuan explained that APRU SDG4GC serves to guide students to create solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges through collaboration. “These challenges have been exacerbated by the pandemic, as the world is faced with an increasingly polarized geopolitical environment which has created all sorts of hindrances for transnational collaboration,” Tuan said. Iwona Spytkowski, Team Leader and Strategic Planner at United Nations in Thailand, provided a snapshot of SDGs progress and explained how the UN system can be leveraged for further improvement. Marisa Panyachiva, Partnership and Development Finance Officer at the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Thailand, provided information about the UN’s structure and the agency’s many funds and programs. Panyachiva explained that the UN draws its unique strengths from working at different levels, from regionally to globally. Elodie Jacquet, Global Citizenship Program Co-designer who is the Knowledge and Practice Manager at Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue, urged the students to have a spirit of curiosity and open-mindedness. “This is an important skill to have when you will be negotiating with other members of society, different levels of government, and other people that you will interact with in your work,” Jacquet said. Natalie Konomi, Global Citizenship Program Co-designer and Professor at Kyushu University, presented the elements of culture, illustrating how complex and interconnected those are. On day 2 of the orientation, the panel session entitled “Shaping the Future of Health and Well-Being” was broadcasted widely and raised the question “How can we build a caring and sustainable global community?” Dr. Andrea Bruni, the WHO’s Regional Advisor, Mental Health, South-East Asia, shared insights about the new WHO Mental Health Action Plan. Jennifer Frances dela Rosa, a Senior Officer affiliated with the Health Division of ASEAN Secretariat’s Human Development Directorate, spoke on social progress and cultural development in the ASEAN region. Hilda Ho, Head of Psychiatry Services, RIPAS Hospital, Ministry of Health, Brunei Darussalam, and Bambang Purwanto, representing the Ministry of Health, Indonesia, spoke on developments regarding mental health in Brunei and Indonesia respectively. Tiffany Chen, Policy Experimentation Expert, Thailand Policy Lab, UNDP, shared findings from an ongoing case study about mental health issues among Thai youth. In the next four months, the students will engage in interactive lectures and workshops on design thinking and cross-cultural communication, receive mentorship from experts from the program’s core partners, and work in teams to develop a solution to address a challenge on this year’s theme. A pitching competition on 20 March 2023 will showcase students’ work and will be judged by a panel of UN experts. The winning team will participate in a week-long visit to Bangkok, with training at Chulalongkorn University’s Innovation Hub, field trips to spin-off companies and start-ups, and an opportunity to join a key UN event in Bangkok. The SDG4GC program is one of many initiatives that APRU is building with its member universities to nurture our youth to make an impact locally and globally to address some of the world’s biggest challenges. Group Photos of the Orientation: For more information about SDG for Global Citizenship, please visit SDG4GC Website.
November 15, 2022more
APRU Sustainable Cities & Landscapes Conference Helps Shifting Toward Well-prepared and Resilient Urban Societies
The APRU Sustainable Cities & Landscapes Conference (SCL) 2022 brought nearly a hundred in-person participants together in Honolulu, USA, September 6-9, making it the first in-person APRU program event after a three-year pandemic hiatus. Held under the theme: Climate Risk and Urban Resilience-Challenges Ahead and hosted by the University of Hawi’i at Manoa (UHM), the SCL engaged eleven inter-disciplinary working groups, including the new working group Pandemics, Humanitarian Emergencies & Health led by APRU Global Health Program Director Dr. Mellissa Withers; and two working group sessions held fully remotely which were Urban Landscape Biodiversity and Children, Youth and Environment groups. An on-site student symposium invited students from all levels to present their work and discuss their research with paired mentors. An exciting field trip to Iolani Palace, Bishop Museum and University of Hawaiʻi Community Design Center gave attendees background and knowledge of Hawaii’s historical stories, civic engagement, and community design. The APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Program was founded in recognition of the fact that more people live in the world’s cities than in rural areas today. Understanding the interconnection between human activity, resource use, biodiversity protection and the interdependence between cities themselves becomes truly essential to solving the critical sustainability issues facing the Pacific Rim societies. “It was very encouraging to see how the SCL 2022 engaged over 80 in-person participants plus more than 20 online participants across Asia, North America, South America and Australasia, with the shared aim of highlighting the importance of sustainability to the Pacific Rim as well to the globe,” said Professor Michael Bruno, Provost, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, in his lightning talk on urban oceans. “UHM will continue to fully support APRU activities aiming towards well-prepared and resilient urban societies,” he added. Among the other key attendants was Prof. Makena Coffman, Director of the UHM’s Institute for Sustainability and Resilience, who served as a key organizer of the SCL 2022. Prof. Michael Richards, Associate Vice-President of Research and Dr. Andréanne Doyon, Director of the Resource and Environmental Planning Program from Simon Fraser University, Canada, joined the SCL conference for the first time. Doyon is now aiming to engage further with the SCL program, including by co-leading a working group. The University of Oregon’s (UO) Dr. Yekang Ko, who is the Director of APRU Sustainable Cities & Landscapes, led a group of UO faculty and students to attend the SCL 2022. Ko served as the lead of two SCL 2022 leadership meetings to curate current and future plans of working groups and discuss the next step for the second 5-year plan of the SCL program. The next SCL annual conference will be in Ecuador led by Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Colleagues who attended the conference presented initial ideas for the SCL 2023. More Information Find out more details about the SCL conference 2022 here. Article on University of Hawai’i News here.
October 20, 2022more
The APRU Climate Change Simulation- Preparing Students to Lobby Leaders for Vital Actions
APRU recently completed its second APRU Climate Change Simulation and is now preparing for next year’s simulation, with a new advisory group soon to be appointed. Co-organized by the APRU Global Health and the APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Programs, the APRU Climate Change Simulation is a role-playing exercise in which students form multi-country, multi-disciplinary teams play the role of delegates to the UN Climate Change Negotiations. The 2022 APRU Climate Change Simulation engaged nearly 170 students from 17 APRU Universities in addition to a student group from Fiji National University. Forty-five experts from APRU universities and external partner organizations supported the delivery of the simulations, which are tasked to show ways to limit global warming to well below 2℃ in line with The Paris Agreement. A post-event survey showed that participating students highly appreciated the amount of diverse information on climate change, interaction with people from different parts of the world and the chance to take a very close look at the problems facing each country. “This simulation exercise has brought me to look at climate change in various perspectives in terms of its causes and the possible mitigation actions that are scientifically proven,” said Pedros Marcol Tabulo, a student from Fiji National University. “I will be so happy to share with my family and friends the importance of managing forests, which involves reducing deforestation and stepping up afforestation efforts,” he added. Students have also been grateful for the input they get from the experts who contribute to the simulations. The 2022 APRU Climate Change Simulation saw Ebru Gencoglu, Head of Sustainable Sourcing of Adidas, sharing insights on Adida’s efforts to lower the carbon footprint with new design and production approaches. Bernhard Barth, Human Settlements Officer of UN-Habitat, described how the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing conflicts both reveal and amplify the escalating impacts of climate change. Important expert contributions were provided by Dr. Rhys Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu), the Public Health Physician and Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland, and Dr. Ralph Chami, the Assistant Director, and Chief of Financial Policies at the International Monetary Fund. Their key insights focused on indigenous perspectives and how to fund the climate crisis respectively. On the facilitator side, the post-event survey showed that the participators of the 2022 APRU Climate Change Simulation were impressed by how close it got to actual negotiations. Facilitators also noted that the students were very motivated despite the event being held online. “The value of this type of experience for students is magnificent, as it allows students to appreciate the values of a wide range of intellectual disciplines and a high degree of intercultural sensitivity, tolerance and a global perspective,” said Vivian Lee of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who served as a facilitator. The 2023 APRU Climate Change Simulation will tentatively run in April 2023. The advisory group will be made up of simulation founding members Mellissa Withers of the University of Southern California and Elly Vandegrift of the University of Oregon. They will be joined by facilitators Vivian Lee, Zhenyu Zhang of Peking University and Christina Schönleber and Tina Lin of the APRU Secretariat. “We urge any interested APRU members who want to get their students engaged in this important activity to reach out to us,” Zhang said. “It is an excellent opportunity for participants to improve their communication skills, which is important when negotiating, lobbying or influencing leaders to take the actions necessary to implement solutions to climate change,” he added. More Information Find the webpage of the Student Global Climate Change Simulation 2022 here. View the program of the simulation 2022 here. Read the news in The Fiji Times about the simulation here. View a blog from UO’s student reporter here. To find out more about the APRU Climate Change Simulation 2023 and how your students can engage please contact [email protected]
October 14, 2022more
Congratulations to the winners of the APRU Digital Art Contest, “Level-Up Our World”
1st Place Jillianne Santos, Doctor of Dental Medicine University of the Philippines Manila “Spectrum” 2nd Place Keaton Chan Ka Han, Graphic Design, University of Melbourne “NETSLINGER HIRO CUSTOM” 3rd Place Jazmin Horio, Exploratory Business, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa “Reseen” Congratulations to the winners of the APRU Digital Art Contest, “Level-Up Our World.” Students across the Asia Pacific submitted their original artwork which features the ability for digital arts to positively influence the gaming industry. Students were asked to submit their original artwork of cast of characters or game bosses which reflect students’ visions to shape an equitable, sustainable, and inclusive world. With 2.7 billion people playing games globally, the gaming sector has the potential to cut across geography and generations for the good of society. Games that have introduced new and diverse characters in the gameplay and feature scenic dystopian landscapes have reached mainstream popularity and raise the need to be more inclusive and sustainable. We thank the partners including: Moon Lab, a blockchain-based startup that specializes in making mass adoption of blockchain technology possible, Cyberport Hong Kong and The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology for their support of the students and this contest. We thank all the students for their participation in this competition and we look forward to a more inclusive and sustainable esports industry landscape of the future. For more information about the design contest, please visit here.
October 3, 2022more
APRU Students Showcase Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills in APRU Global Health Virtual Case Competition
The 7th APRU Global Health Virtual Case Competition 2022 recently concluded, giving a total of 48 teams across 22 universities in 12 economies a platform to present solutions for the challenges the health system of Fiji has been facing. The competing teams had up to 10 weeks to prepare a 10-minute video in English to address a complex hypothetical scenario, for which there is no single “right” plan. Fiji has had 64,221 cases and 834 deaths due to COVID as of March 21, 2022. Despite a relatively successful response to COVID-19, the financial cost to Fiji’s economy has been devastating. In 2019, Fiji’s tourism brought in US$1.3 billion, but passenger arrivals plummeted by 84% in 2020, causing tourism to generate only US$236 million. This dramatic drop illustrates that extended quarantine and lockdown measures are not feasible for highly tourism-dependent countries. The APRU Global Health Virtual Case Competition 2022’s winning team was Fiji Apple from National University of Singapore. The decision, which came along with a prize of US$1,000, was made by an international panel of 16 judges, experts and participants of the Sustainable Cities and Landscape Conference 2022. Fiji Apple’s three-pronged solution consists of FijiReadi!, which strives to improve Fiji’s future pandemic preparedness and response via the use of a bottom-up approach; FijiUniti!, which improves communication between villages and higher administrative units; and FijiXchange!, which is a material goods exchange system to secure essential supplies. “It important for us to consider Fiji’s culture and practices in suggesting solutions that favor local level governance rather than national level ones,” Fiji Apple says in its winning video. “We thus identified the need to promote a bottom-up approach to pandemic detection and response that empowers people living in both urban and rural areas,” they add. Although this challenge was hypothetical, many economies around the world are currently considering how to address identical issues. For more information about the case competition 2022, visit here.
September 23, 2022more
Congratulations to the winners of the APRU Rampage Invitational Tournament
Congratulations to the winners of the APRU Rampage Invitational Tournament. Revisit the tournament finals on YouTube: Students in the Asia Pacific Rim to participate in the Rampage Invitational Tournament to build community and connectivity through competition. In a 5v5 Valorant title, students were inspired to connect and support for one another. APRU Rampage Invitational Tournament gave students an opportunity to build community across borders and universities to participate in competitive and exclusive tournament series. We thank the partners including: adidas, Planet9, a global esports community platform for gamers and launched by Acer in early 2020, Cyberport Hong Kong and Nexten for their support of the students and this tournament. We thank all the 70 students, 14 teams, from 8 universities for their participation in this tournament and we look forward to providing more opportunities for working together across borders. Winners: Asia region: Puffy Gang from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Latin America region: eSports Uchile from Universidad de Chile, Chile North America region: UHEsports from University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, USA List of Students from Winner Teams 1st Place of Asia: Puffy Gang Nanyang Technological University Singapore Gavin Wong Tan Wei Ang Japhet Tan Edan Kang Ivan Goh Lee Keat Wee 2nd Place of Asia: HKU SPACE Hong Kong SAR 1st Place of Latin America: eSports Uchile Universidad de Chile Chile Nicolás Alexander Figueroa Tangol Alexis Miguel Garcia Valdés Pedro Antonio Quevedo Villalobos Alfredo Alejandro Castillo Gutiérrez Clemente Ignacio Pizarro Schwerter Jorge Alexsander de beró Droguett Vargas 2nd Place of Latin America: Borregos GDL Tecnológico de Monterrey Mexico Jaime Yael Carillo Bejar Pedro Mariscal Parrilla Carlo Eduardo Renteria Toussaint Jorge David Limón Otañez Eric Oswaldo Valencia de los Cobos Santiago Mercado Acosta 1st of North America: UHEsports University of Hawai’i at Mānoa USA Cody Oshiro Kodi Young Michael Johnson Tate Tamaye Kaveh Esfahani 2nd of North America: UBC Blue The University of British Columbia Canada Arjun Arunprakash Arnold Ying Charles Guo Adam Kwok Matthew Ng For more information about the tournament, please visit the event webpage.
August 29, 2022more
Students from Tongji School of Medicine Enrolled in the Top 10 Entries of the APRU Global Health Virtual Case Competition 2022
Recently, the “Global Health Virtual Case Competition 2022” hosted by the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) proceeded to its final stage. Team “Arete” from Tongji University advanced to the top 10 of the competition, receiving the great honor of being the only team from China’s mainland in the final this year. Six Tongji University students, namely WANG Kaitao, MIAO Yongen, YAN Le and LIU Tong from School of Medicine (TUSM), and CHEN Yixian and PAN Kunwei from the School of Foreign Languages, made up the “Arete” team. The internationally and annually APRU-hosted Global Health Virtual Case Competition has provided APRU students with an opportunity to practice critical thinking and problem-solving skills through cases and scenarios to help solve global health challenges. The challenge of the case competition 2022 was to build and strengthen the capacity of the health systems in Fiji to better respond to future public health threats, focusing on vulnerable populations. The participating teams were obliged to propose a realistic, well-designed, and innovative solution. A total of 48 teams from 12 major Pacific Rim economies participated in the case competition 2022. Three Tongji University teams (Arete, Tongji Youth Team, Small Jin), made up of twelve students from TUSM (Clinical Medicine, Nursing and Physical Therapy) and four students from other majors (SFL, CAUP, CEIE), registered for the challenging competition to compete against other teams from top leading research universities around the Pacific Rim. By the time these participating teams started to prepare for their entries, they had been confronted with various difficulties and challenges such as stringent containment measures during the worst period of the COVID outbreak in Shanghai, despite which they still managed to do a literature search, completed interview schedules with Fijian students and local transportation workers, conducted liaison meetings on a regular basis, and worked out a wrap-up of the case solution through video shooting and editing. Through uninterrupted efforts in balancing online learning and a non-stop fight against COVID, they completed their proposal on schedule. During that period, they received intensified concerns and support, including guidance from CHEN haibin, Deputy Party Chief of TUSM, who shared the first-hand experience of pandemic prevention and control on West Campus. The International Students Office of Tongji University assisted in contacting Fijian students whilst the School of Design and Innovation, along with the Sino-Italian Institute, gave support for video-making. The Association of Pacific Rim Universities, or APRU, set up in 1997, is a consortium of top leading research universities from various economies of the Pacific Rim. Currently, it has a membership of 60 top research universities around the world, among which 12 universities are from China’s mainland, including Peking University, Tsinghua University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Fudan University, Nanjing University, Xi’an Jiaotong University, University of Science and Technology of China, Zhejiang University, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Harbin Institute of Technology, Sun Yat-sen University and Tongji University. Tongji University has been taking an active part in consortium activities with its commitment to promoting cultural integration and resource sharing, close-knit and deep-rooted partnerships, and further development of an inclusive and efficient platform for international collaboration. View the Chinese version here. Find out more about the Global Health Virtual Case Competition 2022 here.
August 25, 2022more
Graduation Ceremony and Final Presentations of Esports Fellowship Program 2nd Cohort leaves participants in awe
The successful completion of the Esports Fellowship Program 2nd Cohort was marked in late-June with final presentations and a graduation ceremony that left a deep impression on participating students, educators, and professionals. Led by Tecnológico de Monterrey in partnership with Cyberport, the APRU Esports Fellowship Program is an international network of student leaders engaged in next-generation learning experiences that support the growth of healthy, vibrant Esports communities. The Esports Fellowship Program 2nd Cohort was comprised of six monthly workshops from January-June 2022. Workshops were student led and ranged in topic from Marketing, Promoting, Sponsorship, and Broadcasting / Streaming, to Game Design. “Cooperation has been so visible and so amazing, with such as level of commitment and professionalism,” said Pille Kustala, Professor for International Business at Tecnológico de Monterrey, in her graduation address. “I have no doubt that all of the student participants will have a great future in professional esporting,” she added. Christopher Tremewan, Secretary General of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU, congratulated students on their deepening leadership in their universities and across the region. “And we find that you, the students, are already leading as innovators and gamechangers in creating the esports ecosystem. We thank you for sharing your insights on the ecosystem in this program with your peers from around the world. We hope this leads you to understand the ecosystem broadly and the many social implications and its potential use for social health, problem-solving global challenges, and diversity and educational pathways to other careers. APRU is privileged to have Tec de Monterrey, Mexico as the host for this fellowship program, with it’s global reputation in pedagogical leadership and educational technology we are able to make significant strides.,” Tremewan . Paula Cánepa, International Business Development Director at Spain’s Esports league LVP – Liga de Videojuegos Profesional, shared her impressions when witnessing the students being proud of their projects and investing a great deal of commitment. “For us from the industry, this is exactly what is needed, so please keep going,” Cánepa said. Mark Candella, Director of Student & Education Programs at Twitch Student program, which fosters sustainability and increase professionalism in Esports, was also visibly impressed by the success of the Esports Fellowship Program2nd Cohort. “I am humbled, I am inspired, and I have goosebumps thinking about the beautiful future that educators, students and educational institutions are creating,” Candella said. “And this is not just feeding into Esports but into the many different industries that are upgraded through tapping into creative content developed by the Esports sector,” he added. Cyberport, owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government, is an innovative digital community with over 1,500 start-ups and technology companies. Participating Universities were: Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU), Vladivostok, Russia Keio University, Tokyo, Japan National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey (TEC), Mexico University of British Colombia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, United States Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Honolulu, United States University of Washington (UW), Seattle, United States Zhejiang University (ZJU), Zhejiang, China For more information about APRU Esports Program, please visit here. For more information about APRU Esports Fellowship Program 2nd Cohort, please visit here.
June 30, 2022more
Congratulations to the Winners of the APRU VSE Earth Day Challenge!
Original Post on APRU VSE The APRU Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) Program commemorated Earth Day 2022 by challenging students across the Pacific Rim to share their creativity through art to highlight the Earth Day theme, “Invest in Our Planet.” Congratulations to the winners: Ng Hei Yi (The Chinese University of Hong Kong), Daniela Álvarez (Universidad de Chile), and Leung Pui Yee (The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology). Twenty-four students across 13 APRU universities submitted inspiring entries ranging from poetry, videography, to graphic design. The winning entries and four other featured entries are showcased on this page. The APRU VSE Program has invested in planting 30 trees for every entry we received and together, we’ve planted 720 trees in Asia-Pacific communities most at-risk from climate change and environmental degradation. Adding 10% more green cover in cities and towns could potentially reduce the surface temperature of the area by 2.2 °C. As an essential part of the global economy, our efforts in improving the livelihood of our forests have cumulative effects as they provide tens of millions of jobs that are a vital part of the food chain, and are the source of over 28,000 species of plants used in medicines. The pressing needs of our planet require much more than money to reverse the effects of climate change and environmental hazards. As a network of universities we believe we have a great potential to shape the future healthy planet through high quality research innovation and educating the next generation of students which have the last chance to save the planet. We thank all the students for their contributions, please find the winning entries below. The VSE Central Office will contact the winners shortly for prize collection. The APRU Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) Program, led by The Chinese University of Hong Kong, makes international education accessible by allowing students to take academic courses and participate in co-curricular programs without the need to leave home. It opens up international education for all students by providing an immersive virtual student exchange experience through digital technologies and platforms and creating encounters with new ideas, cultures, experts, academics and students from around the world. For more information about the winning and featured Entries, please visit here.
June 17, 2022more
APRU on The Fiji Times: FNU Students Join Global Climate Change Simulation
Original The Fiji Times Twelve students from the Fiji National University’s (FNU) College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (CMNHS) were part of the Climate Change Simulation Conference in collaboration with the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU). APRU is a non-profit network of about 60 universities in the Asia-Pacific, with the Secretariat based in Hong Kong. This activity is organized by the APRU Global Health Programme at University of Southern California (US) and the APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Program at University of Oregon (US). The APRU Student Global Climate Change Simulation is a role-playing exercise in which students will form multi-country, multidisciplinary teams to play the role of delegates to the UN Climate Change Negotiations. CMNHS Acting Dean, Dr Donald Wilson, said the conference allowed the students to participate and learn with the students from different countries on Climate Change. “The global engagement of our students links well with the strategic goal of the university for student experience and also creates an awareness for our students and staff of the international instruments that are critical to demonstrating the importance of staying connected to the global changes in climate,” Dr Wilson said. “We look forward to more conferences where our students can be part of and contribute towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13 to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.” The aim of the conference was to describe what contributes to climate change, explain global climate change efforts, such as the Paris Agreement, the UNCCC and the COP, identify adaptation and mitigation strategies and which will have the most impact on global temperatures, explain how/why climate change affects the most vulnerable populations and why it is an issue of social justice. The conference also discussed the practice of global teamwork and cross-cultural collaboration and communication skills, the complexity involved in countries’ decisions, including consideration of factors such as economic impact, negotiating power and the challenges of negotiations among countries on issues such as climate change and the importance of global collaboration. The CMNHS Head of the School of Public Health and Primary Care (SPHPC), Dr Timaima Tuiketei said the University was grateful to be part of the conference. “We are happy to be part of a global initiative to build the capacities of our students and future leaders in addressing Climate Change. At the same time, the SPHPC is committed to strengthening its Climate Change and Health Programme to the overall university contribution to the national and regional Climate Change Agenda,” she said. Third year Public Health student, Margaret Biliki said she became more knowledgeable after attending the conference. “I am privileged to be joining my fellow colleagues for the APRU Simulation on Climate Change this year as an FNU rep, as Climate change is a global issue affecting our environment and our health,” she said. “I am enthusiastic to be learning from a group of diverse disciplines and experts from across the globe in interactive and informative zoom sessions and discussions on causes, effects, and solutions to address climate change issues. “The event will also help me to learn negotiation skills and to enhance my knowledge on climate change issues, a critically important issue for us, as Pacific Islanders. I am looking forward to learning and interacting with students from other universities as well.” The conference had Guest Speakers who spoke on coastal habitats, deforestation, clean energy, trading and offsets, and diplomacy and negotiation skills. Find out more about the Student Climate Change Simulation here.
June 16, 2022more
APRU Carbon Neutral Society Action Month Opens New Doors for Early Career Researchers
The APRU Carbon Neutral Society Action Month which concluded in mid-June confirmed that climate change is too big a problem for nations to be addressed alone, instead requiring partnership across regions, disciplines, and stakeholders with a view towards long term collaborative efforts. Developed and implemented by Kyushu University, the action month events sessions targeted specifically early career researchers (ECRs) from various disciplines as a first step to support ECRs in expanding their professional networks across disciplines, research institutions, and borders. The APRU Carbon Neutral Society Action Month also served as a pilot for a longer-term program that will focus on interdisciplinary ECR collaboration, including skill set training, collaboration methods, and joint grant applications. Research related to zero carbon technology and societal change is a focus area for Kyushu University, as is the aim to actively contribute to advancing climate change mitigation and adaptation. “Providing global collaboration opportunities for early-career researchers through attractive APRU programs is critical for promoting a carbon-neutral society and climate action,” said Toshiyuki Kono, Distinguished Professor and Executive Vice President of Kyushu University & Honorary President of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), in a webinar series that was part of the APRU Carbon Neutral Society Action Month. “I believe that these events will encourage the exchange of ideas, lead to discussions of potential cross-disciplinary approaches, and support the collaborative development of solutions,” he added. Similarly, Hao Zhang, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, labeled the webinar series as “eye-opening”, because participants were focusing on different specific areas under their single working banner of carbon neutrality. Zhang pointed out that the second major take away for all participants is about linking theoretical research to the actual issues, which, he said, is highly relevant, given that much of the research is theoretical. “The third major take away is that technologies are a core issue that we have to understand from a range of different perspectives as well,” Zhang said. “Sometimes new technologies generate a lot of radical issues, and regulations and laws have then to catch up, even though we don’t really have much time left to tackle climate change,” he added. According to Ru Guo, Professor, College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tongji University, the integration of technology and policy innovation is crucial, especially for the local governments in developing countries, whose recent priority is not achieving carbon neutrality, but rather stimulating economic growth. “Especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, the global economy has been in crisis, and many people are struggling for survival,” Guo said. “We need action on the local level, as local governors need to strike the difficult balance between social welfare, economic growth, and carbon targets,” she added. Adrian Kuah, Director, Futures Office, National University of Singapore, held a presentation under the theme How to Educate in a Planetary Crisis. Kuah explained that universities are already deeply involved in social innovation, either directly due to active research or indirectly through their graduates. “In this era of climate crisis, we are seeing universities being part of the solutions, but I’d like to ask whether universities are also part of the problem,” Kuah said. “We tend to talk about the future of ‘the university’ in abstract ways. This is interesting but can be unhelpful. We have to re-imagine universities given our current and particular context, because after pandemic and war, we do not know what is going to come next,” he added. Patchanita Thamyongkit, Professor at Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Assistant to the President for R&I, Chulalongkorn University, pointed out that scientists keep developing new technologies, leaving her wonder why some of it will never be used. Thamyongkit illustrated that in terms of climate change mitigation, the big challenge now is not only to invent ways to de-carbonize, but also to make society adopt to the new idea of electrifying a very wide range of processes and devices. “Many countries, including my native Thailand, need a lot of new infrastructure, with society actually being the biggest infrastructure we have,” Thamyongkit said. “If we help people see what the opportunities are, we pave the way to giving the people the idea of using new energy,” she added. Shigenori Fujikawa, Professor, International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research, Kyushu University, explained that he is a technology-focused scientist, and as technology-focused scientists tend to focus on forecasts, methodologies and mechanisms, it is usually difficult for him to communicate with totally different research areas. “However, climate change is a topic that urgently requires interdisciplinary research, involving many different viewpoints from economics and social aspects,” Fujikawa said. “The APRU Carbon Neutral Society Action Month is providing ECRs and students with a good chance of widening their own viewpoints,” he added. More information Find out the details of the APRU Carbon Neutral Society Action Month here. Read a news article published by Kyushu University here Contact Christina Schönleber for further inquiries (Email: policyprograms [at] apru.org)
June 9, 2022more
Congratulations to the winners of the APRU Student Esports Paper Competition
Congratulations to the winners of the APRU Student Esports Paper Competition, please see their names, entries, and video presentations below. The APRU Student Esports Paper Competition welcomed papers from undergraduate students across the Asia Pacific Region in three categories, Business Models for the Esports Industry, Esports for Social Good and Health/Wellness in Esports. The purpose of the paper competition was to support Esports as an academic area of study. We encouraged students to have innovative and quality research in the Esports field, as well as, promote the long-term investment of Esports research which will enrich students’ and universities’ resources and knowledge sources in an emerging field. Winning students have won a $3,000 USD Scholarship and the runner-up in each category has won a $1,000 USD Scholarship as well as being published in a special edition of the International Journal of Esports. We thank Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited for their support of the competition and look forward to enriching students’ experiences in esports now and in the future. Please find the special issue available at: Papers were presented at the APRU Metagame Conference 2021 on the second day of the DELF (Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum). Winners were chosen by a panel of judges and a live audience vote. Our deepest gratitude goes to the judges for their contributions to the development of this competition for giving their time to review papers.Winners were chosen by our panel of judges and a live audience vote. Our deepest gratitude goes to the judges for their contributions to the development of this competition for giving their time to review papers. Mr Tom Dore, Head of Education, British Esports Association Mr Terence Leung, Senior Manager (Esports and Youth Team), Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited Mr Timothy Shen, Founder and Investor, Yesports Media Limited Dr Aaron Koshy, Chief Editor, International Journal of Esports Mr Sherman Cheng, APRU Secretariat Winner Entries Business Models for the Esports Industry 1st Place Title: Paving the Road: Exploring Esports Models and Marketing Opportunities in University Student: Zachary McKay University: The University of British Columbia (CANADA) 2nd Place Title: Two Islands in the Pacific Student: Reyn Seki University: University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (USA) Esports for Social Good 1st Place Title: Esport’s Legacy of Social Good Student: Kaden MacKay University: The University of British Columbia (CANADA) 2nd Place Title: Women’s experience of sexism and objectification in the eSports and gaming community Student: Gabdulkhaeva Leysan, Suprun Elizaveta, Malenkova Elizaveta University: Far Eastern Federal University (RUSSIA) Health/Wellness in Esports 1st Place Title: The Psychological Impacts of eSports Gaming: A Detriment or a Lifeline in Disguise? Student: Rosarita Ridhwan De Cruz University: National University of Singapore (SINGAPORE) 2nd Place Title: E-Sports: Motivations and Life Goals Student: Liaw Yan Xin, Seah Kia Luck, Mah Kim Chuan, James University: National University of Singapore (SINGAPORE) More information about the competition at here Revisit the student paper competition presentation on YouTube:
May 28, 2022more
APRU Global Sustainability: Waste & The City Seminar Course Helps Graduate Students Shape Green Leadership Concepts
APRU successfully concluded its APRU Global Sustainability: Waste & The City seminar course, providing APRU graduate students an opportunity to gain insights how industry and academic leaders from around the world work with key stakeholders in implementing sustainability in their organizations. Delivered via videoconferencing in February-May in a seminar-lecture/ student peer-to-peer session mix, the course investigated a range of topics related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG), Environmental, Social, Corporate Governance (ESG), the linear/circular economy, and urban development. The course was a collaboration between Nanyang Technological University Singapore; the APRU Sustainable Cities & Landscapes Program (led by University of Oregon); and the APRU Sustainable Waste Management Program (led by Korea University). Its format has been closely aligned with the APRU Global Health Distance Education Courses that have been running very successfully for over five years. “As shared in the class, we know that more people want businesses to take concrete actions to address climate change, with the rise of eco-awakening starting to push leaders and organizations to move rapidly toward environmentally sustainable business outcomes,” said Amit Midha, Dell Technologies’s President Asia Pacific, one of the industry expert speakers participating in the course. “Indeed, sustainability and the impact it must have for generations to come is a topic I get often asked about by my children,” he added. Other industry expert speakers were Kirsty Salmon, Vice President Advanced Bio and Physical Sciences for Low Carbon Energy at BP; Clint Navales, P&G’s VP Communications Asia Pacific; and Seung Jin Kim, Project Sourcing and Development Lead of Alliance to End Plastic Waste. “It will take a multi-stakeholder approach to address global challenges such as the circular economy,” said Salmon. She shared that “bp’s ambition is to become a net zero energy company by 2050 or sooner, and to help the world to do the same. This can only happen by working with current and future stakeholders, suppliers, consumers and policy-makers to make this happen”. Subject experts from within APRU included David Wardle, NTU Professor and Co-Chair APRU Sustainable Waste Management; Yekang Ko, University of Oregon Professor and Director of the APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Program; and Yong Sik OK, Korea University Professor and Director of the APRU Sustainable Waste Management Program. Student feedback about the course was very good specifically highlighting the valuable learning experience it offers participants. Academic lead for the development and implementation of the course was provided by Sierin Lim, Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Global Partnerships at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Lim stressed the importance of students across all disciplines gaining green knowledge through active discussions as part of their studies. “Our course aims to equip students with not only the knowledge on sustainability but also the thinking process and implementation in the industry. Offering this course within an international platform such as that on the APRU provides the students with the opportunity to hone their analytical and intercultural communication skills. We are looking forward to develop the course together with our partner universities for the next cohort to bring in new perspectives on sustainability,” Lim said. Find out the previous course description and speakers here. Contact the APRU Program Team ([email protected]) if you are interested to bring your students to the next iteration of the course.
May 20, 2022more
APRU Supports Collaborations with UNFCCC University Partnership Programme, Actively Develops Member Information Sessions
The Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) has supported the development of two successful information sessions to promote the UN Climate Change and Universities Partnership Programme and explore the possibility of developing further engagement sessions with its members. The UN Climate Change and Universities Partnership Programme, launched at the United Nations Climate Dialogues 2020 to strengthen collaboration between the UNFCCC and research institutions, aims to address knowledge gaps that remain a critical barrier to countries implementing climate change adaptation measures. The two APRU information sessions were hosted by the University of Auckland and UNSW Sydney. Attending academics represented a wide range of research areas, including Environmental Law, Science, Maori Studies, Climate, Urban Planning and Architecture. “The UN Climate Change and Universities Partnership Programme offers students the unique opportunity to partner with local and regional organizations to conduct a capstone or Master’s project that will fill identified knowledge gaps in the region on key sustainability issues,” said Professor Leanne Piggott, Director of Experience, in the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Education and Student Experience Portfolio at UNSW. “Not only will this enhance the scientific and professional capacity of students, but the projects will also provide tangible outputs addressing needs of local and regional partners,” she added. All attendees expressed their keenness to be kept in the loop and involved in discussions going forward. “The UN Climate Change and Universities Partnership Programme allows universities/ research institutions to develop strong collaboration with UNFCCC, local and regional organizations, and to gain a better understanding of research needs. This new knowledge will further inform and ultimately support future research to address regional climate change adaptation needs’ emphazised Deborah McAllister, Interim Deputy Director, International Partnerships & Services at the University of Auckland the multifaceted benefits of such a collaboration. University partners are welcome to share proposal ideas with the UN Climate Change and Universities Partnership Programme. These will be reviewed by the UNFCCC team with the aim to co-develop the project proposal, including definition of target users, and identification of expert organizations to involve in the defining of expected outputs. The UN Climate Change and Universities Partnership Programme focuses on: Closing knowledge gaps under the Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative (LAKI) Addressing the gaps and needs relating to the formulation and implementation of national adaptation plans (NAPs); UNFCCC thematic work areas, including biodiversity, ecosystems and water resources, human settlements, oceans, health, private sector initiative, gender sensitive approaches, local indigenous and traditional knowledge. Find out more information about the UN Climate Change and Universities Partnership Programme here.
April 29, 2022more
APRU on SJTU News: Shanghai Jiao Tong University Successfully Held the "Resilient Urban Landscape – APRU SCL Webinar & Landscape Architects’Forum"
Original post on SJTU News On April 8, 2022, the “Resilient Urban Landscape – APRU SCL Webinar & Landscape Architects’Forum” jointly organized by Shanghai Jiaotong University, the Alliance of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), and the Shanghai Landscape Architecture Society was successfully held online. The event is held in celebration of the 126th anniversary of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, as well as a member of APRU. It is intended to align with universities, professional associations and practices to call for global attention to environmental issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss may bring significant influences on urban ecological civilization, and suggests to seek innovative solutions with international perspective and local characteristics through international cooperation and communication. The webinar was broadcasted simultaneously on the School of Design official Bilibili account, attracting approximately thousand viewers during peak hours. The event was chaired by Ruan Xing, Dean of the School of Design, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Bart Johnson, Professor of the University of Oregon, James Hayter, the president of International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA), Professor of the University of Adelaide, and Che Shengquan, Professor and Deputy Dean of the School of Design, Shanghai Jiao Tong University delivered academic lectures with a Q&A session afterwards. Luo Peng, Professor, Director of the International Affair Division of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, delieverd an opening speech. He mentioned that after Shanghai Jiaotong University officially joined the APRU in 2019, we participated in various international events and activities, as well as promoting students’ global engagement during covid and other scientific cooperations. Jackie Agnello Wong, director of APRU network and student programs, introduced the background of APRU. It is composed of 61 outstanding academic institutions in the North America, Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. It has a history of nearly 25 years and aims to bring together experts from multiple backgrounds such as leaders, researchers, and policy makers to efficiently solve the problems faced by sustainable development in the 21st century. Her further expressed their heartfelt thanks to Shanghai Jiao Tong University for actively organizing this activity on the theme of resilient urban landscape. Professor Bart Johnson focuses on “Creating and Maintaining Climate Resilient Cities”, calling for active response to the climate crisis to predict future changes and take action before it occurs, explores various strategies to adapt cities to rapid climate change within the framework.With the title of “At the Frontline of Change – 17 Ways Landscape Architects are Contributing Towards Landscape Resilience”, Professor James Hayter proposed 17 corresponding approaches to resilient landscape design, corresponding to the 17 goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and encouraged everyone use the power of design to participate in the contribution of urban resilient landscape. Professor Che Shengquan introduced the framework of sponge city theory and practice through the cases Shanghai Jiao Tong University was involved. The current situation of urban stormwater management in China proposed a stormwater management plan and formed a technical system. At the same time, it was demonstrated and promoted in some cities in China. At the end of the webinar, Zhu Xiangming, President of the Shanghai Landscape Architecture Society, delivered a concluding speech. He believes that many cities in China and the world are facing the challenge of how to deal with the various environmental problems mentioned in today’s lectures. This seminar discussed how landscape architecture planning and design can deal with important issues such as climate change, sustainable development and ecological design, and called on professionals to work towards urban environmental issues, In the future, the society will also strengthen cooperation with universities, jointly promote the integration of production, education and research in design disciplines, provide more high-quality professional resources, and jointly contribute a more resilient and attractive global city of Shanghai.
April 19, 2022more
APRU on Bloomberg: APRU Launches The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim
Original post on Bloomberg APRU (the Association of Pacific Rim Universities) is proud to announce the launch of The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim. The publication is the result of a multi-year collaboration of scholars through the APRU Sustainable Cities & Landscape (SCL) Program activities and engagement within its global network. The handbook addresses a growing list of challenges faced by regions and cities in the Pacific Rim that are fundamental to sustainable development policies and planning practices. These include the connection between cities and surrounding landscapes, the persistence of environmental and development inequities, and the growing impacts of global climate change. This handbook emphasizes the importance of place-based approaches and collaborative, context-specific policies that are specific to the areas where they are being implemented. The publication features a wealth of case studies from the Pacific Rim, enabling a comparative lens and a comprehensive scope to examine innovative policy capacity. The rich cases from the Asia Pacific region support cities in overcoming their need for research and evidence-based actions as highlighted in another report: “The Future of Asian & Pacific Cities published by UN ESCAP and UN-Habitat.” Contributions to the book were made by 128 scholars based in the USA, Philippines, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Israel, Hong Kong, Canada, Thailand, Belgium, Indonesia, India, and Singapore. “This handbook is very much needed, given that much of the scholarly output on sustainable development to date has been developed in Europe and focuses on settings external to the fastest growing areas of the world, such as the coastal regions of the Asia Pacific,” said Dr. Christopher Tremewan, Secretary General of APRU. “This book appeals to scholars, researchers, and students in such disciplines or fields as landscape architecture, architecture, planning, public policy, law, urban studies, geography, environmental science, and area studies,” he added. The APRU Sustainable Cities & Landscape (SCL) Program was established in 2016, hosted by the University of Oregon, and supported by academic experts from 17 APRU member universities. This strong interconnection allows the SCL to draw on the strengths of differences across the region, using different viewpoints to solve urban and sustainability challenges that transcend city and country boundaries in the Pacific Rim. The development of the handbook’s content was supported by the annual SCL conferences in 2018, 2019, and 2020. The SCL Sydney conference in 2019 introduced and foregrounded the significant role of indigenous communities in elevating multi-generational and deeply place-based knowledge and working to increase advocacy and representation among historically marginalized stakeholders. Edited by Yizhao Yang of the University of Oregon, and Anne Taufen of the University of Washington, the handbook targets policymakers and public professionals who require a focused, yet complex understanding of the issues involved in climate action; elected leaders and local officials who are often striving to make connections among the relevant issues and identify opportunities for strategic collaboration; and regional stakeholders who want to see their challenges and successes represented in the studies and analysis that help inform policy decisions. The handbook offers rich teaching materials for classes focusing on sustainable cities and landscapes in fields of urban planning, landscape architecture, and public administration. It bridges academic and policy communities by illustrating the potential for professional development that is scientifically based, integrated across disciplines, and practical for implementation. “The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim is a significant reference volume appealing to readers across the academic and practitioner spectrum. We are delighted to have collaborated with APRU on the publication of this important project,” said Grace Harrison, Routledge Editor for Environment, Sustainability & Product Design. “The book’s editors and section editors have meticulously curated contributions from an international range of researchers investigating key issues facing regions and cities in the Pacific Rim,” she added. The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim is available for pre-order and will ship after March 9, 2022.
April 11, 2022more
UBC News: 2 UBC Esports undergrads win industry research scholarships
Original post on UBC News Gamers often get a bad rap. Critics argue that online gaming is a time waster, exclusionary and male-dominated, even leading to aggression and addiction. In practice, though, virtual games and tournaments connect people across the globe over shared interests, says Zachary McKay, Co-President of UBC Esports Association, an initiative and club. With the motto “where gamers meet UBC,” it is the university’s largest club with nearly 4,000 members, compared to others which average in the hundreds or dozens. UBC Esports aims to build a community of students with no borders, and engage with colleagues and peers worldwide through online video game competitions, social events, tournaments, celebrity meet-ups and their crown jewel, the Legion Lounge where students can play games on campus. Not only does the club want to reverse negative perceptions and attract new people from all walks of life, it is investing in its student members. Case in point: the club and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) recently awarded scholarships to two UBC students through a research paper competition. The Legion Lounge is the crown jewel of the UBC Esports Association and a place for members of the UBC community to connect and play games on campus (video: UBC Esports Association) “The competition is about supporting Esports as an academic area of study, and encouraging students to have innovative and quality research in the field, as well as promote long-term investment in Esports research to enrich students’ and universities’ resources in an emerging field,” says Matthew Tan, UBC Athletics and Recreation Associate Director of Partnerships, and Senator at UBC Vancouver Senate and UBC Council of Senates. Tan collaborates regularly with UBC Esports. At the 2021 APRU Student Esports Paper Competition and Awards, McKay came in first for his piece on Business Models for the Esports Industry, taking home a USD $3,000 scholarship. He is in a fifth and final year at UBC, earning a philosophy degree with a minor in creative writing. Another undergraduate, Kaden MacKay, also won USD $3,000 for first place in the category Esports for Social Good, “writing about different countries and cultures,” MacKay says. “For example, Pakistan winning the biggest tournament ever held: these success stories show that you can’t judge anyone as an Esports player by where they come from – it’s just so diverse.” A club finance executive, MacKay is in year two at UBC, focusing on cognitive systems. Both winning papers will be published in the International Journal of Esports. The students plan to use the scholarship money to pay for university tuition and, because he is in his last term, McKay will use $1,000 of his winnings to establish the first UBC Esports leadership award. UBC Esports is a non-profit, volunteer, student-led organization under the UBC Alma Mater Society umbrella. The club runs as seamlessly as a well-oiled corporate enterprise. And anyone who thinks gamers might be lacking in smarts and motivation need only listen to McKay detail the start-up structure model, workings of its HR department and foundational principles in a manner far more articulate than many CEOs twice his age. Founded 11 years ago, today UBC Esports is internationally recognized – and popular. More than 1,000 entrants have signed up so far for June’s upcoming Smash Tournament “Battle of BC 4,” for example. Club executives of the UBC Esports Association, led by Co-Presidents Zach McKay and Branson Chan, at the UBC Esports Icebreaker event held in person (photo: UBC Esports Association, October 2021) Members can get involved as much, or as little, as they like, McKay says. The action ranges from laidback and leisurely to competitive tournaments in a high-stakes environment, and no prior experience is necessary. The only agenda is getting people excited about and enjoying video games, trying new things and making friends, he says. Some of the most popular games include League of Legends, Valorant and Super Smash Brothers. “We are incredibly approachable,” McKay says. “For myself, I’m not very good at games. I do it for the fun of it. What motivates me is that I’ve been able to make lifelong friendships with people through the club. Our community is really vibrant and the social aspect is a unifying feature.” Busting misconceptions is also part of the club mandate, in particular, leading by example to be diverse, secure and inclusive. Half of the club’s several vice presidents were women in 2021. UBC Esports hosts a women’s night for female-only competitions and boasts a team culture that prioritizes a safe atmosphere for women and marginalized communities. The association also puts on professional development workshops centered on Esports with the goal of preparing students for careers in the video game industry. Topics cover everything from partnerships, project management and event logistics to human resources and graphic design. Prospective students learn more about the UBC Esports Association at their booth on Clubs Day (photo: UBC Esports Association, 2021) APRU decided to get involved when UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Santa Ono first flagged the opportunity back in 2018. Noting the almost 3 billion gamers worldwide, and 2.5 million college and university students likely involved in esports in APRU alone, President Ono voiced his support for UBC to get involved. UBC then became one of 11 founding partners in the APRU Esports Fellowship Initiative, which brought in consultants to advise on what universities could do collectively and individually. An international Esports fellowship and greater support for the club topped the list of recommendations. Along with UBC, founding members of the initiative are Far Eastern Federal University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Keio University, Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore, Tecnológico de Monterrey, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Southern California, University of Washington and Yonsei University. And the movement is growing. Connecting with others from all over the map is at the core, says MacKay. “How rare is it to talk to someone in Chile and Australia at the same time?” he says. “It’s usually very country- or continent-specific, so it’s so cool to do this globally. Everyone who does this is very passionate about what they think Esports can be – and it’s about sharing ideas across the world.” Find out more about the UBC Esports club. Read more about the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU). Read the winning APRU Esports research papers. See the recent Ubyssey feature story on UBC Esports.
March 29, 2022more
APEC Healthy Women Healthy Economy Prize Accepting Applications 2022
The annual APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize is now accepting applications for outstanding research work that strives to improve women’s health and economic well-being, and charts the way for more inclusive growth. The winning entry will receive USD 20,000 and the two runners-up will receive USD 5,000 each. The prize, first launched during APEC 2019 in Chile with the support of Merck, aims to encourage the development and usage of sex-disaggregated data and promote gender-based research within APEC. As women across the world were hit especially hard during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly those who serve as unpaid caregivers, more research is needed to support solutions and advancements that allow women to stay in the workforce as the world rebounds. “We know that women in the region are overrepresented in industries hit hard by the pandemic—food, services, hospitality and tourism, to name a few,” said Renee Graham, the Chair of APEC Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy. “While our focus is to narrow disparity and improve women’s economic participation, we must also ensure that we pay attention to women’s health, safety and well-being.” Thailand, host economy of APEC 2022, is prioritizing inequality and imbalance this year by integrating inclusivity and sustainability objectives in tandem with economic goals. “To ensure an inclusive recovery from COVID-19, which has disproportionately impacted women and girls, we must implement evidence-based, gender-sensitive policies,” said Kannika Charoenluk of Thailand’s Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. “Original research, backed by data and evidence, will be crucial in ensuring a gender-intentional recovery and future growth model.” Since its inception in 2015, the APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies initiative has improved women’s health through public-private partnerships. One key outcome has been the cross-sector collaboration in creating a policy toolkit—a compendium of the issues, actions, and implementing elements for improving women’s health across five areas. The areas are: workplace health and safety; health awareness and access; sexual and reproductive health; gender-based violence; and work-life balance. Applicants to the 2022 APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize can be individuals or teams, with the stipulation that one official participant must represent an APEC member economy. Applicants do not need to come from academia, as long as the research is evidence-based and addresses at least one of the pillars outlined in the Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Policy Toolkit. The prize winner may choose to present their research to APEC gender experts in the public and private sectors on the margins of the 2022 APEC Women and the Economy Forum, hosted by Thailand. “Now more than ever, we need to promote research that supports our collective effort in alleviating the economic burdens women face in the workforce,” said Hong Chow, Executive Vice President and Head of China and International of Merck Healthcare. “By using science, we can provide evidence-based information to policymakers and business leaders so that the right measures get implemented to improve women’s health so women can join and rise in the workforce,” she concluded. Interested candidates may access the prize application form through this link. The application deadline is Tuesday, 31 May 2022. For more information, please visit the APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies website or contact [email protected] with any questions. For further details, please contact: Masyitha Baziad +65 9751 2146 at [email protected] Michael Chapnick +65 9647 4847 [email protected]
March 17, 2022more
APRU on UNESCO News: New report “Moving minds: Opportunities and challenges for virtual student mobility in a post-pandemic world”
February 27, 2022more
APRU on AP, AFP, Yahoo! Finance, Morningstar, BusinessWire, NBC & FOX channels, NHA & 200+ pieces of coverage: APRU launches The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim
APRU (the Association of Pacific Rim Universities) is proud to announce the launch of The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim. The publication is the result of a multi-year collaboration of scholars through the APRU Sustainable Cities & Landscape (SCL) Program’s activities and engagement within its global network. The handbook addresses a growing list of challenges faced by regions and cities in the Pacific Rim that are fundamental to sustainable development policies and planning practices. These include the connection between cities and surrounding landscapes, the persistence of environmental and development inequities, and the growing impacts of global climate change. This handbook emphasizes the importance of place-based approaches and collaborative, context-specific policies that are specific to the areas where they are being implemented. The publication features a wealth of case studies from the Pacific Rim, enabling a comparative lens and a comprehensive scope to examine innovative policy capacity. The rich cases from the Asia Pacific region support cities in overcoming their need for research and evidence-based actions as highlighted in another report: “The Future of Asian & Pacific Cities published by UN ESCAP and UN-Habitat.” Contributions to the book were made by 128 scholars based in the USA, Philippines, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Israel, Hong Kong, Canada, Thailand, Belgium, Indonesia, India, and Singapore. “This handbook is very much needed, given that much of the scholarly output on sustainable development to date has been developed in Europe and focuses on settings external to the fastest growing areas of the world, such as the coastal regions of the Asia Pacific,” said Dr. Christopher Tremewan, Secretary General of APRU. “This book appeals to scholars, researchers, and students in such disciplines or fields as landscape architecture, architecture, planning, public policy, law, urban studies, geography, environmental science, and area studies,” he added. The APRU Sustainable Cities & Landscape (SCL) Program was established in 2016, hosted by the University of Oregon, and supported by academic experts from 17 APRU member universities. This strong interconnection allows the SCL to draw on the strengths of differences across the region, using different viewpoints to solve urban and sustainability challenges that transcend city and country boundaries in the Pacific Rim. The development of the handbook’s content was supported by the annual SCL conferences in 2018, 2019, and 2020. The conferences facilitated collaboration among contributors and helped maintain the momentum to keep the work on track. The safeguarding of momentum has been extremely important, given that much of the book’s content-development period took place after the pandemic had started. Multiple meetings of the SCL steering committee helped shape the handbook’s scope and supported the important activities that have ensured its quality. Leaders of the SCL Working groups were invited and engaged to invite contributors and circulate the call. Some chapters emerged from applied local design workshops with students and some were refined by the SCL-led online workshops that prepared participants for the online conference hosted after the pandemic had started. The SCL Sydney conference in 2019 introduced and foregrounded the significant role of indigenous communities in elevating multi-generational and deeply place-based knowledge and working to increase advocacy and representation among historically marginalized stakeholders. Edited by Yizhao Yang of the University of Oregon, and Anne Taufen of the University of Washington, the handbook targets policymakers and public professionals who require a focused, yet complex understanding of the issues involved in climate action; elected leaders and local officials who are often striving to make connections among the relevant issues and identify opportunities for strategic collaboration; and regional stakeholders who want to see their challenges and successes represented in the studies and analysis that help inform policy decisions. The handbook offers rich teaching materials for classes focusing on sustainable cities and landscapes in fields of urban planning, landscape architecture, and public administration. It bridges academic and policy communities by illustrating the potential for professional development that is scientifically based, integrated across disciplines, and practical for implementation. “The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim is a significant reference volume appealing to readers across the academic and practitioner spectrum. We are delighted to have collaborated with APRU on the publication of this important project” said Grace Harrison, Routledge Editor for Environment, Sustainability & Product Design. “The book’s editors and section editors have meticulously curated contributions from an international range of researchers investigating key issues facing regions and cities in the Pacific Rim,” she added. The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim is available for pre-order and will ship after March 9, 2022. Please see details here. Contacts Jack Ng, Director, Communications, APRU [email protected]
February 24, 2022more
APRU on SCMP: Covid-19 wrecks exchange programme plans, as record low number of Hong Kong university students went overseas in last academic year
Written by William Yiu Original post on South China Morning Post Students walk past Widener Library at Harvard University in 2019. Photo: AP A record low of only 280 Hong Kong university students went on exchange programmes overseas or to mainland China in the last academic year, as Covid-19 travel restrictions wrecked plans for these much sought-after trips. That was 95 per cent fewer than the 5,391 students who spent time away in 2019-20 and the record high of nearly 6,700 in 2018-19. Although Hong Kong universities worked with institutions elsewhere to provide virtual exchange programmes, students said these paled in comparison with visiting a new destination and getting to know the people and culture there. A board at Hong Kong International Airport shows flights being cancelled in January. Photo: Dickson Lee Some universities have begun restarting their exchange trips, with more students likely to go this year even though strict travel restrictions remain. The latest figures for exchange students were announced in December by the University Grants Committee, which funds public institutions of higher education. Hong Kong universities have been expanding opportunities for undergraduates to spend a semester or a full academic year at another university, while continuing to pay the local tuition fee. Students apply to universities all over the world, especially in the United States, Britain, Japan and mainland China, which have exchange partnerships with local institutions. For many, the time away allows them to learn to be more independent, improve their language proficiency, make new friends and experience the culture of the place they are visiting. But the pandemic has continued to disrupt travel for everyone since 2020, particularly with Hong Kong’s strict requirement for arrivals from most places to undergo 21 days of quarantine. Most universities switched to virtual exchange programmes, which meant students remained in Hong Kong but attended online lectures and seminars at institutions elsewhere. Various other activities on culture, social skills, leadership and career development enabled them to make friends despite being separated by long distances. Chinese University (CUHK) said 1,400 of its undergraduates enrolled in its Virtual Student Exchange programme, organised since August 2020 and involving 61 institutions belonging to the Association of Pacific Rim Universities. Chinese University says 1,400 of its undergraduates have enrolled for its Virtual Student Exchange programme. Photo: Winson Wong In an opinion piece published in the Post last month, CUHK president Rocky Tuan Sung-chi said the virtual programme had the potential to make global education accessible to anyone with an internet connection, “rather than merely to those privileged few with financial means to jump on a plane and spend up to a year in a foreign land”. Competition is keen for exchange trips, as applicants must have a good academic track record and meet the language requirements at the universities they hope to go to. Not everyone can afford an exchange either. Students have to cover the cost of their air tickets, accommodation, meals, insurance and visa fees themselves. For those who choose universities in the US, the most expensive choice, this can add up to about HK$100,000 (US$12,840) per semester. Kristen Cheung, a fourth-year English major at CUHK, considered herself fortunate enough to attend a two-week exchange programme at Yale University in the US in 2020, before it was suspended because of Covid-19. She did not think a virtual programme could compare. “Students joining an exchange programme aim not only to study, but also to visit the host country and get to know people from different backgrounds. All these experiences cannot be provided in a virtual programme,” she said. Cheung said some students she knew who joined the virtual programme did so only to polish their resume and were not serious during the online classes. Residents in Nagoya, Japan. The country is among popular destinations for students wishing to go on exchange programmes overseas. Photo: Kyodo Alex Lau, a second-year sociology major at CUHK, took part in a two-month summer virtual exchange programme with a Japanese university and had mixed feelings about it. There were online lectures twice a week, from 11am to 3pm, with optional cultural activities in small group sessions. He said the programme helped him meet more people from Taiwan, mainland China, North America and Japan, but he missed out on experiencing the country and the social environment. “If you just want to get to know people from different places and join something for free, you could go for it,” he said. Now he is counting on travelling to Britain next year for an exchange programme at University College London, so that he can soak up the atmosphere and join in various activities. Some universities said their students were beginning to make plans for exchange trips this year. A spokesman for Education University said fully vaccinated students could go on these trips, but it would still offer virtual exchange programmes that included online immersion programmes, online courses, seminars and cultural exchange activities. For its students preparing to teach English and Chinese language, attending a course overseas or on the mainland was compulsory to help them improve their language proficiency and learn about the culture and education system there. The University of Science and Technology and Lingnan University said they had resumed sending students on exchange programmes since the second term this year. Both also offer virtual programmes as an alternative. City University also said it had resumed the physical programme in the 2020-21 academic year “under safe conditions”. Polytechnic University said its students were able to go on exchange trips to limited destinations such as the mainland, Australia or New Zealand during the earlier stages of the pandemic, or opt for the virtual programme.
February 20, 2022more
APRU Esports Fellowship Program Welcomes the 2nd Cohort of Student Leaders
The APRU Esports Fellowship Program completed the orientation session for its 2nd Cohort on January 22, readying participants for the cohort’s first workshop in March. Led by Tecnológico de Monterrey and in partnership with Cyberport, the APRU Esports Fellowship Program is an international network of student leaders engaged in next-generation learning experiences that support the growth of healthy, vibrant Esports communities. The program places students in internships and jobs and cultivates an alumni network that is accretive to both the fellowship and APRU Esports participating universities. Cyberport, owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government, is an innovative digital community with over 1,500 start-ups and technology companies. “Whereas the program’s 1st Cohort involved seven universities and 38 students, the 2nd Cohort is today welcoming eleven universities and 69 students, reflecting that universities and people are keen to come aboard,” said Pille Kustala, Director of International Business at Tecnológico de Monterrey. “Having completed six workshops and five capsule projects during the 1st Cohort, students have become familiar with each other and everybody is excitedly anticipating the 2nd Cohort,” she added. Terence Leung, Senior Manager of Esports and Youth Team of Cyberport, pointed out that Cyberport and APRU have since 2020 been cooperating to promote the esports industries to students and nurture talents. Leung noted that Cyperport and APRU have jointly conducted two metagame conferences, APRU’s 1st global esports tournament, an esports paper award as well as the APRU Esports Fellowship Program. “Although Hong Kong is relatively new to esports development, we have many advantages, such as good infrastructure and experience in hosting largescale events, and the Hong Kong government has identified esports as an economic sector with good growth potential,” Leung said. “We are very confident that our joint efforts can maximize impact in fostering this promising industry together,” he added. Motohiro Tsuchiya, a professor of Graduate School of Media and Governance at Keio University in Japan and Deputy Director at Keio University Global Research Institute (KGRI), shared that although he is not an esports player, he clearly sees the need to make students familiar with the industry. “Japan is game-friendly country, as reflected by the esports population keeping growing despite the overall population declining every single day,” Tsuchiya said. The Fellowship Program’s 2nd Cohort features student-led workshops on topics such as, marketing, promoting and sponsorship, broadcasting, streaming, and game design. It features informal networking sessions to support students in developing an international network of next generation leaders. The program will also bring in esports experts and leaders to share their experiences in the industry and provide their expertise. Finally, the program will also feature a tournament to further university esports clubs’ international recognition. The 2nd Cohort’s Graduation Ceremony and Final Presentations are scheduled for June. More information about APRU Esports Fellowship Program 2nd Cohort at here.
February 16, 2022more
UP hosts the first virtual APRU Undergraduate Leaders’ Program
Download and view the post-event report here. The University of the Philippines (UP) successfully hosted the first virtual APRU Undergraduate Leaders’ Program 2021 with the theme, “Sahaya: Science and Arts, Harnessing the Youth’s Advocacies” from 18 – 29 October 2021. A total of 29 undergraduate students from 13 participating universities located in the Asia and the Pacific participated in the 12-day program. The Opening Ceremony was graced with Hon. Loren Legarda, 3-term Senator, Deputy Speaker, and Representative, Lone District of Antique and Dr. Howarth Bouis, Director of HarvestPlus (2003 – 2016) as the keynote speakers along with UP Officials, President Danilo Concepcion, and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maria Cynthia Rose Banzon Bautista and APRU Secretary General, Dr. Christopher Tremewan. The UP Concert Chorus also gave a heartwarming performance of “I’ll Be There” and at the end of the program, participants were able to have a glimpse of the University of the Philippines and its constituent units through a virtual campus tour. For the succeeding days, different academic units of the university facilitated workshops and activities with topics on Digital Literacy and Critical Digital Literacy, Producing Vlogs, Holistic Habitation, Flourishing Life through Creativity and the Arts, Ensuring Food Security through Sustainable Production and Good Nutrition, Role of Biodiversity in Resilient Development, and Policy and Governance. Aside from the insightful workshops, a Global Cultural Activity entitled Sahaya Saya! was also held wherein the participants were able to showcase their own culture and interesting facts about their home country. The participants were grouped into four as they create their vlog as an output for the program. Workshops on production including pre- and post-production were facilitated by TVUP and they have assisted the participants in finalizing their respective outputs. A panel was also invited to provide comments and suggestions on the vlog concepts of the participants. During the closing ceremony, participants were able to witness performances highlighting the Philippine Culture from the UP Concert Chorus for their rendition of “Kruhay”, “Hamon ng Kasalukuyan” by Kontra-GaPi, and a special performance by Asst. Prof. Eman Jamisolamin of the College of Music of the University of the Philippines Diliman. Aside from these performances, the vlogs made by the participants were also presented. As the last day of the program, Mr. Jonas Angelo Abadilla of the University of the Philippines Diliman and Mr. Kun Woo Park of Korea University delivered the response on behalf of the participants of Sahaya 2021. Sahaya 2021 was then formally closed with a message from Dr. Grace Javier Alfonso, Executive Director of TVUP and the Chair of the Local Organizing Committee along with a highlights video that wrapped up all the workshops and activities for the past 12 days. The APRU ULP 2021 Sahaya will not be possible without the support of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), the APRU ULP 2021 Local Organizing Committee, TVUP, and the UP Office of International Linkages. To view more information about the program and to watch replays of the sessions, you may visit https://apru-ulp.org/. Resources (Student vlogs) GROUP 1 – THE CHAMPIONS Topic: Are you overconsuming your planet? GROUP 2 – THE YOUTH ADVOCATES Topic: Taking the First Step GROUP 3 – AvocaDO! Topic: Youth Volunteers for Edu-e-Work GROUP 4 – MMACAS Topic: Happy Land For more information about the program, please visit Undergraduate Leaders’ Program. For more information about ULP 2021, please visit the event webpage.
January 24, 2022more
Global MOOC and Online Education Conference 2021 highlights APRU Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) Program
On December 7, APRU co-hosted the Sub-Forum 4: “Virtual Mobility and Cocurricular Programming” of the Global MOOC and Online Education Conference 2021 hosted by Tsinghua University in collaboration with UNESCO IITE. The event featured keynote speeches and case studies from six APRU member universities who all made international education accessible under the APRU Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) Program, which allows students to take academic courses and participate in co-curricular programs without physically leaving home. The audience was comprised of instructors, researchers, experts, policy makers, and practitioners in the field of Massive Open Online Courses and online education from around the world. The Global MOOC Alliance is a diverse group of 17 world-leading universities and 3 online education platforms from across 14 countries in all 6 continents led by Tsinghua University. “The APRU VSE Program was launched with the unique preposition to create co-curriculum activities, and its strong focus on cultural leadership, careers and social aspects of study abroad experience in virtual delivery is precisely the focus we will need in the post-pandemic era,” said APRU Secretary General Christopher Tremewan, who chaired the session. Alan Chan, Provost, J.S. Lee Professor of Chinese Culture, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), in his keynote speech recalled how the pandemic has compelled CUHK to renew its commitment to internationalization. “When all of a sudden the campus became so quiet, then all of a sudden we realized that things we had taken for granted in the past are so central to what we do as a knowledge enterprise,” Chan said. “We realized that global learning and international student exchanges are not peripheral to what we do here at CUHK but are part of our DNA,” he added. Other keynote speeches were delivered by Dr. Xuemin Xu, Vice President (Education and International Affairs), Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Professor Eduardo Vera Sobrino, Director of International Affairs, University of Chile. Xu explained that the new technologies that were developed for teaching and learning as a response to the pandemic will in a post-pandemic era allow students to become global citizens and contribute to UN Sustainable Development goals. Vera Sobrino described how IT-based research sped up in-house internationalization and broadened the global perspective of local problems. “In the APRU exchange program, most exchange students in our classes spoke English as second language, which helped our own students to feel much more confident in using English as the medium of instruction,” Vera Sobrino said. “Clearly, the advantages of diversity in the classroom really surpassed the barrier of using language other than the native language,” he added. Shally Fan, Director of Academic Links, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, illustrated how the APRU VSE Program gave the students a holistic exchange experience just like they would have had when traveling abroad. Fan cited the results of a survey CUHK conducted among the exchange students. “Students said that it inspired them and explained that their minds were able to access the partner universities abroad without physically being there,” Fan said. Seung Hyun Yang, Manager, International Mobility & Cooperation Team, Office of International Affairs, Korea University (KU), reported on the virtual KU experience that enabled exchange students to take a deep dive into K Pop from the historical development to recent issues, as well as into KU’s “Tiger Pride” cheerleading culture. Wang Xiaoxiao, Director of Online Education Center, Tsinghua University, reported on Tsinghua University’s global open course, which has attracted 2.3 million learners since its launch in October. Voraprapa Nakavachara, Assistant to the President for Global Engagement, Chulalongkorn University, pointed out that the pandemic experience proved that cross registration and credit transfer is possible, opening the doors to “a bigger thing” in the future. “The virtual student exchange program proved that you can be a global citizen and attend universities anywhere,” Nakavachara said. “We as faculty must be able to adopt to change and be open minded to new technology,” she added. Revisit the Sub-Forum 4 here
January 15, 2022more
APRU on SCMP: Virtual foreign exchange allowing students to ‘study abroad’ without leaving home will outlast Covid-19
Written by Professor Rocky S. Tuan Original post on SCMP A lecturer at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University leads an online class on March 17, 2020. Photo: Xiaomei Chen Knowledge has no boundaries. This is especially true in a global society, with more and more students crossing borders to access overseas education. Going abroad to study or on exchange has become a rite of passage for millions of young people around the world. According to an OECD report published in 2020, the number of tertiary students pursuing education in a foreign country reached 5.6 million in 2018, more than doubling over the last 20 years. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development also projected that the international student population is likely to reach 8 million by 2025. This phenomenal growth is attributed to the rise of the middle class in developing economies as well as a shortage of high-quality institutions in much of the developing world. The relative affordability and accessibility of international air travel, as well as the rapid development of communication technology, means students can be increasingly mobile while remaining connected to friends and family in their home countries. But the emergence of Covid-19 changed all this. As with so many areas of our lives, the pandemic has massively disrupted the traditional approach to international education; it threatened to erase decades of progress as the world retreated into quarantine almost two years ago. Travel restrictions, border closures, public health measures and pandemic politics have led to a significant decline in international student enrolment levels in most leading host countries. International students in Sydney, Australia, return to China following the outbreak of Covid-19, on August 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters Short-term exchange programmes, which are the backbone of the internationalisation agenda for so many universities, have seen a particularly sharp drop. Short-term overseas experiences are critical for fostering people-to-people links across nations, and provide students with the cultural smarts to forge global careers. Their absence is a potential tragedy for globalisation. Demand for full-degree programmes in top host countries has declined by as much as 20 per cent, but short-term programmes have fallen even further, with demand in many cases evaporating altogether. As universities and analysts think about recovery, it is forecast to take at least five years for international student mobility to return to pre-pandemic levels. What are universities doing about this, and where does a place like Hong Kong fit in? Far from passively waiting for borders to reopen, universities have been reimagining their approach to student mobility and harnessing the power of technology to deliver immersive international student experiences. This is much bigger than putting everything on Zoom or other virtual platforms. The novel approach has the potential to revolutionise access to international experiences and make global education accessible to anyone with an internet connection, rather than merely to those privileged few with financial means to jump on a plane and spend up to a year in a foreign land. According to a survey by the International Association of Universities in 2020, 60 per cent of universities have replaced physical student mobility with virtual mobility or collaborative online learning. Hong Kong is a global city, and its openness to international talent has underwritten much of its development and prosperity – the territory was simply not built to be isolated from the rest of the world. The pandemic could have been catastrophic to its educational exchanges, and indeed to the very fabric of Hong Kong’s people-to-people links with mainland China and overseas. Home to four top-100 global universities and the headquarters of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), an alliance of 61 leading universities from four continents on both sides of the Pacific, Hong Kong has taken a leadership role in developing innovative solutions which allow crucial international student exchange to thrive despite the headwinds of a once-in-a-century global health crisis. One prime example is the Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) programme conceptualised and managed by the Chinese University of Hong Kong under the auspices of APRU. Launched in August 2020, the exchange programme enables students of APRU member universities to take online academic courses on a plethora of topics and participate in culturally enriched co-curricular programmes as well as establish social peer networks, without needing to leave their home countries. Tech-driven and highly immersive, the programme received a commendation at the Times Higher Education’s prestigious Asia awards in 2021. Today, thousands of students from around the world have completed an exchange via the Virtual Student Exchange, and such virtual international experiences look set to endure post pandemic. Students of Chinese University of Hong Kong celebrate their graduation on November 4 last year. Even as we recover from the pandemic, the virtual student exchange platform pioneered during the pandemic is likely to endure. Photo: K. Y. Cheng This has got to be a good thing for expanding access to high-quality university education and achieving one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals – to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Academic studies show that students who undertake international exchange outperform their peers in areas such as teamwork, empathy, work ethic and communication – areas essential for the future of work and economies everywhere. It is clear that, as much as we all yearn for the return of quarantine-free international travel, a simple return to physical overseas experiences would mean only those with adequate economic means can benefit from them. As the world thinks about navigating a new normal at the other side of this seemingly endless pandemic, it is fitting that Hong Kong – Asia’s World City – is blazing a new trail for the future of international education.
January 12, 2022more
UH News: Esports fellowship creates global opportunities for UH students
Written by Marc Arakaki Original post on University of Hawai’i News University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa esports has solidified its standing as one of the top 10 university esports programs in the nation. Now, five students have been chosen for an international fellowship, which will bring more experience and knowledge back to the program. The Association of Pacific Rim Universities is a consortium of 61 universities across the Pacific region, including North America, Asia, Oceania and South America. The second cohort of its esports fellowship program will bring together dozens of students from its member institutions to discuss, share and collaborate on growing opportunities in the esports industry, with a special focus on the Asia region. Students were selected based on a nomination process by their advisors. They will attend monthly meetings virtually with other participants throughout the spring semester. “I’m most looking forward to getting a more global perspective on esports,” said UH Mānoa student Kwan Ho Cheung. “I think my current perspective is all about franchising and less so about what goes on behind the scenes of an esports broadcast, and all the intricate parts required to pull off some of the international events, the pinnacle of esports.” Lana Kawauchi added, “This is such an amazing opportunity and unlike anything I have ever participated in before. I’m looking forward to networking with students from all across Asia and working with them to create healthy environments in the esports community. I’m also looking forward to being placed in jobs and internships with companies that will help us achieve these goals.” The other UH Mānoa participants are Kelsy Padilla, Alohi Tolentino and Micah Tossey. “The fellowship will provide the selected students with an understanding of how the esports industry in Asia (Hong Kong, Japan and Korea) works, with educational, networking, business and internship opportunities. I am excited by the development of the academic and curricular component of our esports program at UH Mānoa,” said Nyle Sky Kauweloa—a communication and information sciences PhD student, head of the UH Mānoa Esports Task Force in the College of Social Sciences and instructor. UH’s position within the Asia esports market is crucial as the State of Hawaiʻi is in a prime location that bridges the East and West. One of the reasons why UH was selected as a host site for the Overwatch League’s summer tournaments, playoffs and grand finals was to improve the online latency difference as teams from North America and Asia competed virtually head-to-head in real-time. Visit the UH esports team’s Twitter and Discord pages. More stories on UH’s esports program. This program is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Enhancing Student Success (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020. More info about APRU Esports Fellowship Program 2nd Cohort
January 11, 2022more
APRU Global Health Conference Focuses on Urban Health and Infodemics
The APRU Global Health Conference 2021 was held virtually on November 16-18, hosted by the School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong. The event, which took three years of preparation due to the pandemic, focused on global urban health and featured the announcements of the student winners of the APRU Virtual Global Health Case Competition and the Global Health Student Poster Contest. Urbanization and expansion of cities are inexorable global trends. Over 55% of the world’s population now lives in urban cities, and this proportion is expected to increase to 66% by 2050. The health consequences of such population changes are increasingly recognized as a key issues for sustainable human development. Cities present opportunities and challenges, which holds the key to citizens’ health and well-being. “Cross-sectoral partnerships offer the chance to develop integrated responses connecting environment and health,” said Gabrielle Fitzgerald, the founder and CEO of US-based Panorama, a platform for visionary leaders to develop solutions and bold action for social change, in a keynote speech. “How we catalyze the coalition in a fluid system is the key to address global challenges,” she added. Keynotes and plenary speakers shared insights on the built environment and its effects on human well-being under climate change and rapid urbanization. The panels’ topics ranged from mental health among adolescents to digital technologies and from health risk behaviour to active lifestyles. The APRU Virtual Global Health Case Competition 2021 awarded the winning prize to the short-listed teams at the conference. Participating teams were challenged young talents to develop technology-driven solutions to the COVID-19 Infodemic. There is a pressing need to address the massive amount of misinformation that has quickly spread throughout the world during the pandemic, with dramatic negative personal and societal consequences. This year the competition was conceived and hosted by the APRU Global Health Program in partnership with Amazon Web Services. ‘Amazon and AWS have made an upskilling commitment, to make it easier for people to have access to the skills they need to grow their careers. The APRU Global Health Case Competition encourages young talents and future leaders to address global challenges with technologies mindful of social impact, equity of access and equality to learning. This synchronises perfectly with AWS’ commitment.’ said by Dr. Julian Sham, Head of Health Business, Asia Pacific & Japan, AWS. 121 teams from 37 universities in 17 economies submitted the entries this year. The winning team is UP Mediasina, a team of six medical students from the University of the Philippines, who were awarded US$1,000. The two runners-up are from The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Nanyang Technological University. “Although the Philippines is the social media capital of the world with 89 million active users, it lacks a dedicated information crisis response,” the UP Mediasina team said in their video introducing their Project Dinig for systemized communication strategies. “The Philippines is facing a perfect storm and our health system is under crisis, but it need not be for long, as Filipinos could benefit from social listening facilitated by Project Dinig,” they added. The global health poster contest, for its part, invited current undergraduate and graduate students to submit their works related to global health research and studies to enter the competition. The contest received 64 submissions from 27 universities across 12 economies. The winning teams of the undergraduate category and graduate category are from the University of Santo Tomas and The University of Hong Kong respectively. The two winners were each awarded US$500. Find out more about the conference and the student case competition here.
December 10, 2021more
Congratulations to the 1st Cohort of the APRU Esports Fellowship Program Participants
November 20, 2021more
APRU on The Jakarta Post: A Mounting Battle that Starts at Home
Original post on The Jakarta Post Both at home and abroad, plastic waste is a mounting problem that is not going to disappear on its own. The United Nations estimates that 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into the ocean worldwide each year, with Indonesia contributing upward of 600,000 tons of marine plastic pollution according to the Indonesian Institute of Sciences. These levels are reported to make Indonesia the second largest marine plastic polluter after China. If this continues unchecked, the problem will only continue getting worse, especially during a pandemic where we rely on single-use plastic items such as takeaway cutlery and essential personal protective equipment gear like masks and gloves. There is no doubt the pandemic places huge pressure on waste infrastructure. According to UNEP, medical waste in the form of disposed COVID-19 tests and IV bags in Jakarta has risen by a staggering 500 percent, far outstripping the capacity to incinerate or sterilize it as required by law. Other Asian cities have reported similar spikes in plastic waste. While the Indonesian government has stated goals to triple the nation’s capacity to collect plastic waste by 2030, local leaders can – and must – take initiative to battle this growing crisis on the municipal level now. As highlighted by key members of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Sustainable Waste Management Program including program director Yong Sik Ok of Korea University and Tsinghua University’s Xiaonan Wang, closing the plastic loop rests urgently on the collaboration of governments, researchers and industries toward intelligent design. So how do we begin on the local level? Knowledge sharing is an essential way forward and there are different lessons that can be learned from our neighboring peers. Through the Asia Pacific Mayor’s Academy organized by 6 collaborators including APRU and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), leaders from different cities across the region came together to discuss urban challenges and share solutions that may be applicable to different scenarios. The stories of a plethora of cities rebounding during unprecedented times sheds light on emerging possibilities to rebuild. Looking toward the Philippines in Ormoc city, multi-stakeholder engagement from different levels of government and the private sector along with NGOs and the public was a key to alleviating the city’s significant waste management issues. The implementation of a more integrated solid waste management system and single-use plastic products regulations ordinance was supplemented with complementary measures such as projects aimed at tackling marine waste to support healthy oceans. Besides launching new programs and engaging stakeholders, Ormoc has also emphasized smart green technology while looking out for new financing mechanisms that can supply the capital needed to fund the city’s burgeoning sustainability programs. Not only is this positively impacting the plastic waste problem, the multifaceted approach is driving a holistic Resilient and Green Recovery Plan focused on realizing a circular economy. This not only creates better livelihoods and standards of living for locals today with a cleaner and more efficient city, the new green infrastructure is seen as a way to help safeguard the city moving forward and secure its longevity. With clearly articulated objectives by the Ormoc mayor’s office, different parties across a range of industries can better understand how to progress their businesses while moving cohesively toward common goals that better society. An example of how industries have been forced to innovate in the wake of COVID-19 while tackling the rising plastic issue can be found in Koh Tao, Thailand. As tourism declined drastically during the pandemic, the island’s dive boats and tour operators lost the lifeblood of their businesses. To assist people seeking work, Koh Tao was able to secure funding that put people from the tourism and transport industries cleaning up the island. In addition to cleaning up marine waste while giving people an income during the height of the pandemic, the program also provided life skills with financial literacy training from company sponsors. This temporary measure is just one solid example of how a cleverly designed initiative can fulfill a variety of needs during a time of need. But while it’s important to tackle immediate problems (such as unemployment), it is also essential to focus on not just restoring the status quo, but doing so in a forward looking manner. Koh Tao leveraged the forced absence of tourists as an overdue opportunity to explore how best to implement a “Smart Island” sustainable tourism model. By factoring environmental impact more prominently into their operations, Koh Tao is forging a path that better manages natural resources and protects biodiversity while providing economic opportunities and stability to its citizens. For an economy that heavily depends on tourism, there was tremendous wherewithal and leadership needed to evaluate how to keep families afloat while also rebooting and rebuilding the economy with a more resilient and sustainable model. With Indonesia taking strides to address plastic waste with ambitious measures, it’s clear that there must be great participation and education across all levels of society and a wave of innovative solutions. There are reasons for optimism. It’s been reported that the Environment and Forestry Ministry has recently pushed producers to upcycle and repurpose waste raw material from trash banks into useful items. Such actions can go a long way towards realizing better waste management in a greener circular economy.
October 18, 2021more
APRU Student Global Climate Change Simulation Tackling Climate Change Head-On
In time for the upcoming COP26 meetings, 120 dedicated APRU students from across the Asia Pacific region and close on 40 expert speakers and facilitators from within and outside the APRU network contributed to and concluded the first APRU Climate Change Simulation. The 3-session is a role-playing exercise in which students formed multi-country, multi-disciplinary teams to slip intothe roles of delegates to the UN Climate Change Negotiations. The APRU Student Global Climate Change Simulation uses materials from Climate Interactive and the EN-ROADS simulation model developed by MIT. Live sessions and breakout room-discussions were supplemented with keynote presentations by experts from the IMF, adidas, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, short lectures from key experts across the network and other materials developed and curated by the APRU expert team. On the long list of intriguing topics were indigenous knowledge, planetary health, public health, coastal habitats, deforestation, clean energy, trading and offsets, as well as diplomacy and negotiation skills. APRU envisions the event to be the first of many activities to develop a network of committed citizens who tackle climate change head-on. “The opportunity to work across different disciplines, places and perspectives as part of this negotiation simulation wasa rare chance for students to learn about the complexities of developing solutions to urgent global challenges, the largest of which is climate change,” said Kathryn Bowen, Deputy Director of Melbourne Climate Future, University of Melbourne. Kristie Ebi, Professor at the Center for Health and the Global Environment, University of Washington, also one of the sixteen participating APRU experts actively facilitating the negotiations and discussions, added that “the APRU Student Global Climate Change Simulation represented a call to taking collective action against global warming.” The APRU Student Global Climate Change Simulation was co-organized by the APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Program housed at the University of Oregon and the APRU Global Health Program housed at the University of Southern California. External partners include Adidas, Rebalance Earth, Smart Energy Connect-CLP, Tuvalu Mo Te Atua, UN Habitat and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The participating students gave their thumbs up. For instance, Annette Benger, who studies Masters of Environment at Melbourne University, shared that the event has taken her understanding to the next level. “In my lectures on Sustainability and Behaviour Change, we are discussing the role of selfishness and altruism in human nature,” Benger said. “It is so easy to see so much selfishness, until you come across something like this, and we are all planning to keep in touch in our WhatsApp group,” she added. The APRU Student Global Climate Change Simulation also impressed its facilitators, with Tze Kwan, Research Associate, Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions, National University of Singapore, labelling the event “super”successful. “I am honoured to be part of this and to have had the opportunity to share my interests with the participants,” Kwan said. “This event was such a valuable learning opportunity, making me hope more students will get to attend and be inspired to act in face of climate change,” she added. The APRU Partner Universities involved in the Student Global Climate Change Simulation are Monash University, Nanyang Technological University, Peking University, Tecnológico de Monterrey, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, The University of Auckland, The University of Melbourne, Tohoku University, Universidad San Francisco De Quito, Universiti Malaya, and University of Washington. Find out a featured article from University of Southern California, here. Find out a post-activity report from University of Oregon here. Read students’ feedback from a CUHK article here.
September 16, 2021more
APRU on SCMP: Banning Plastic Cutlery Is Only One Part of Hong Kong’s Sustainability Challenge
Hong Kong can look to other cities to find better ways to manage plastic and other waste, use the lull in visitors to explore more sustainable forms of tourism and invest in workforce training for a more circular economy Original post on SCMP The public consultation in Hong Kong on the scheme to regulate disposable plastic tableware has sparked debate among green groups clamouring for faster action and more stringent measures. The scheme comes as sustainability demands our attention more than ever. Everyone can see how pollution has worsened during the pandemic as plastic waste plagues Hong Kong in ever more concerning amounts. Many other places are waging similar battles, as waste management systems across Asia-Pacific cities are overwhelmed with lockdowns and quarantines, forcing people to rely on deliveries and takeaways. Our reliance on plastic may be ingrained but we all know it’s a ticking time bomb that needs defusing. While this environmental cost looms large, the immediate concerns of many have understandably been focused on rebuilding post pandemic, with key industries such as tourism, aviation, hospitality and more upended. There is hope that we can secure Hong Kong’s future if we start tackling the problems today. The plastic cutlery scheme represents an important step forward – even if it may not go far enough, we need the positive momentum to build on. We need our local leaders to fix community issues to rebuild a more resilient city after Covid-19. How do we chart the best way forward? Inspiration from our peers may help. At the Asia-Pacific Mayors Academy, organised by the Association of Pacific Rim Universities and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), among others, I saw different mayors share their best practices. While each city faces unique circumstances, sustainable development can be adapted to local challenges as common threads hold true. For example, for Ormoc city in the Philippines, collaboration between the national and local government, private partners, NGOs and the public became a key to unlocking its holistic approach to battling waste issues. From building a more integrated solid waste management system and instituting a single-use plastic products ordinance, to healthy ocean projects that reduce marine waste, Ormoc engaged different stakeholders and used smart, green technologies and different financing mechanisms. These measures feed back into Ormoc’s Resilient and Green Recovery Plan to build a circular economy to uplift citizens and reduce vulnerabilities to crises. Some might feel Hong Kong needs to do more to clarify its sustainable development plan and how all the moving parts, such as the latest scheme, feed into it. Only with clear, measurable goals and a well-thought-out, multi-stakeholder engagement strategy can the city better educate people on how to effectively take part. While plastic waste during Covid-19 has been a massive issue, there are instances where the challenge was turned into an opportunity. For Koh Tao in Thailand, the pandemic reduced the popular dive destination’s daily visitors by over 90 per cent, leaving many struggling to find work. To help, the island secured funding to pay out-of-work tour boat operators and taxi drivers to clear waste from the beaches and waters. Not only did the community benefit from a cleaner environment and a source of income during challenging times, the programme also trained participants in financial literacy, courtesy of corporate sponsors. Now, Koh Tao is working on a “smart island” sustainable tourism model that would better manage its natural resources and biodiversity, economic stability and safety. Hong Kong is experiencing a pandemic-induced tourism lull. Is there a better way for us to operate once tourists return in numbers? Can we better use this time to invest in retooling people who are struggling? There is untapped potential for businesses and the workforce to thrive in a more circular economy– we just need to relentlessly foster the right capabilities and skill sets. Every city needs a cohesive vision as well as coordination and buy-in across different levels of society. We need to be on the same page about our collective problems and be engaged in debate over ways to address them. Prevention is better than cure. We need pragmatic, forward-looking solutions. The last thing we want is to burden future generations with our half-solved (or unsolved) mess.
August 31, 2021more
Esports Webinar Series by YESPORTS and APRU helps exploring career opportunities
Global esports career development platform YESPORTS and APRU recently convened five Asia Pacific Esports leaders in webinar series to empower students, administrators, and university leaders to make the most informed decisions about participation in Esports and assist in exploring students’ career opportunities for the future. On the 3-session agenda held July 7-28 were Career Plan For Young Gamers; Esports Player Contracts: Common Clauses And Potential Legal Issues; and Marketing Strategies in Esports. The Esports Industry Requires a Multi-disciplinary Skillset Speakers at Session 1, Dr. Baro Hyun, founder of an unprecedented Esports advisory practice at KPMG Consulting, Japan; and Joe Jacko, the League of Legends Head Coach at the University of Southern California, shared their Esports career pathway and gave suggestions on personal Esports career development. Jacko recalled how he started his Esports carreer with winning over US$20,000 in sponsorships with teams he had created. “That helped me to sort out coaching positions in universities across the country, from Delaware to California,” Jacko said. “It allowed me to take a dive into all the important issues and to directly tie my academic pursuits to gaming and Esports,” he added. Inequalities in Esports and Unionization of Players Speaker at Session 2, Mathew Jessep, Senior Fellow, The University of Melbourne, and Principal Lawyer, Game Legal, informed the contractual relationship between Esports teams and players and gave an idea on how these contracts can take shape and be implemented. Jessep shared his experiences of building his own career from a sports lawyer and expanding to esports. “Seeing esports through a sports law lens, I saw many cross issues, such as sports governance and sports integrity,” Jessep said. “But I also identified some gaps, which I have since been trying to address,” he added. Jessep provided a summary of notable judgements which provide a basis for players’ rights. While the outcomes of such judgements have a long way to go with regard to adopting practice into policy reform, Jessep offered examples where governments and players’ unions and associations have opportunities to take on a bigger role in providing support and services to players across the spectrum of the industry. Marketing Strategies in Esports Session 3 focused on marketing strategies. Aiman Arabain, Founder, NAJIN ESPORTS Streamer Content Creator; and Kamilla M. Sumagui, Team Owner of The Refuge Esports and formerly PH Bandits Management of UCLA PH, spoke at Session 3, provided first-hand experiences, as industry professionals, about building careers in Esports. “When I first got into the Esports business I had been the manager of the National Federation of Cycling [of the Philippines] and found that there were a lot of hindrances in the Esports scene, such as lack of knowledge in marketing and business management,” Sumagui said in Session 3. “People saw a lot of potential in my expertise, and now I am sitting here and am happy to share my expertise with a larger international audience,” she added. Summary of the Webinar Series The Esports Webinar Series involved YESPORTS and APRU pointing out that with an average retirement age of 25 for professional gamers, a career in Esports has been long stigmatized. However, with much more robust career offerings throughout the entire ecosystem, players can now see beyond the gamer role as viable career pathway. More information about the webinar series and Revisit the webinar recordings >>
August 23, 2021more
APRU on Associated Press: APRU partners with United Nations ESCAP on The Asia Pacific Mayors Academy to Empower Mayors as Regional Leaders for Sustainability with Training Tailored to Unique Urban Challenges for a More Resilient Future
Original post in Associated Press. Co-organised with UN-Habitat, UCLG ASPAC, UNU-IAS, and IGES, the Academy helps regional city mayors to lead inclusive and sustainable future cities development and navigate challenging times in light of COVID-19 Held from November 2020 through May 2021, the second cohort of The Asia Pacific Mayors Academy recently concluded with a final module that saw 16 mayors participate from Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. For this capstone sixth module, the Academy focused on exploring future pathways to financing sustainable urban projects. Organised by six collaborating partners, The Asia Pacific Mayors Academy was launched in 2019 by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and United Cities and Local Governments Asia-Pacific (UCLG ASPAC) in cooperation with the United Nations University, Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and APRU (the Association of Pacific Rim Universities). Under the expertise of a faculty including regional experts from the APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Program, the Academy engages newly elected or appointed city mayors in Asia-Pacific to increase their understanding and application of sustainable urban development tools, resources and technical solutions. Together, this multi-stakeholder network of local leaders explores scenarios with specific challenges as well as relevant case studies to facilitate plans for sustainable solutions in their communities. For example, in the sixth module, the Academy discussed leveraging urban land value, co-creating private sector innovation, and promoting polluter-pay solutions to create long-term value for citizens, businesses, and the environment. Chris Tremewan, Secretary General of APRU, “APRU university experts work with city leaders and multilateral organizations to strengthen sustainable city development and to develop concrete plans for urban solutions. We are honoured to be one of the partners of the Academy. These specialised training sessions and knowledge exchanges have been invaluable during COVID-19 as we collectively respond to the crisis. We need to do everything we can to put cities on the path to recovery.” Stefanos Fotiou, Director, Environment and Development Division, ESCAP, “By drawing on multi-disciplinary members from across the Academy’s network, this unique and inclusive initiative supports mayors and the critical role their cities can play in realising the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Paris Climate Agreement. Starting local is essential to sustainability progress across the region, and it begins by addressing urban problems with smart sustainable solutions.” The Academy offers a robust curriculum including modules on Cities 2030 – Designing, Planning and Managing Sustainable Urban Development and COVID-19 Response and Recovery in hopes to see strengthened regional cooperation and mayors applying learnings to generate positive outcomes in Asia Pacific cities. To find out more: https://www.asiapacificmayorsacademy.org/call-for-expressions-of-interest
June 24, 2021more
APRU Joins Solve Climate by 2030 Project
APRU is proud to have joined Solve Climate by 2030, a trailblazing global education project organized by Bard College and the Open Society University Network. The project harnesses the power of climate-concerned universities and high schools worldwide to facilitate ambitious Green Recovery action that can put us on the way to solving climate change by 2030. Dr. Eban Goodstein, economist and Director of the Solve Climate project at Bard College urges climate-concerned teachers at the college, university and high school level to assign the APRU university webinars as homework– either live or recorded– and then engage students in this critical dialog. APRU contributed to the Solve Climate by 2030 project by working with 13 APRU universities to host 14 webinars. With more than 21 hours of discussion and knowledge exchange, together we engaged over 3,000 students, experts, and climate leaders. On the long list of stakeholders engaged by APRU are 60 climate experts; national governmental offices of environment and business; two city government leaders (Tokyo and Sydney); as well as representatives of the United Nations Development Program, the Asian Development Bank, the World Green Organization, ARUP, ESI Energy, and the World Resources Institute. “APRU is eager to mobilize its vast network of academics, students, and public leaders to strengthen Solve Climate’s virtual imprint,” said Jackie Wong, APRU’s Director (Network Programs) and organizer for Solve Climate by 2030 at APRU. Solve Climate by 2030’s Global Dialogue on Green Recovery, Climate Solutions, and a Just Transition started on April 6 with a resounding success thanks to over 10,000 viewers tuning in. Webinars were streamed from Argentina, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Palestine, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Rwanda, South Africa, Serbia, Singapore, Taiwan, UK, the US, and Uruguay. Solve Climate by 2030 is expected to expand well beyond webinars as COVID-19 recedes. Why Now? Because the world’s top climate scientists have told us we have a ten-year window to make rapid reductions in the carbon pollution causing global warming. If we don’t, we will severely destabilize the global climate, leading to extreme weather, droughts, floods, and sea-level rise that will be increasingly hard for humans to manage. APRU recommends that public leadership builds partnerships to reduce the use of water, energy, resources in the food industry. APRU calls onto students to listen and include the climate change topic in all their academic conversations, from the legal field to art. In terms of climate justice, APRU stresses the need for equal access to energy efficient equipment and infrastructure for all social groups, especially underrepresented communities. “Universities can do a great deal to contribute to solving our global climate crisis. They will educate the leaders of tomorrow to become active community-engaged citizens who volunteer, make informed consumer choices, and energize efforts to solve climate challenges. As the powerhouses of knowledge and innovation, universities worldwide have a great deal of power to inform policies discussions which will change our lives for the foreseeable future.” Wong said. APRU Introduction Video here More information about the event here YouTube playlist of 14 webinars from thirteen APRU member universities here
June 3, 2021more
Cyberport Brings Together Hong Kong and Pacific Rim Youth for Esports Exchange
Original by Cyberport, Media OutReach Workshop Organised with APRU Teaches How to Win Heavyweight Brand Sponsorships for Esports Development HONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach – 30 April 2021 – Hong Kong Cyberport and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), a consortium of 58 leading universities in the Pacific Rim region, today held the APRU Esports Fellowship Workshop on the Cyberport campus and online. Talon Esports, a Cyberport incubatee and well-known organiser of esports leagues, shared its perspective on the esports business ecosystem and how marketing and business sponsorship can benefit the industry’s development. 30 students from universities in Hong Kong and the Pacific Rim, including the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the School of Professional and Continuing Education of the University of Hong Kong (HKU SPACE) and the Open University of Hong Kong, joined the workshop and exchanged views with fellow students who share their passion for esports. Participating students conducted a mock sponsor pitch to enhance their knowledge of the esports ecosystem. Eric Chan, Chief Public Mission Officer of Cyberport, said, “Cyberport is committed to cultivating local young talent and providing them with diversified entrepreneurship and career opportunities. As a high-growth emerging industry, esports and digital entertainment present younger generations with a rich array of opportunities, from content development to team management and training, and from event planning to brand marketing. Through this workshop, participants learned about the esports industry’s business models and the unique advantages of Hong Kong’s esports companies. Those aspiring to a career in esports could also broaden their horizons and enjoy fruitful exchanges via the APRU network with their counterparts from other universities in the Pacific Rim.” Industry Leader Shares Tips on Winning Sponsorships According to the latest forecast from industry research institute Newzoo, the global esports market’s value will reach USD1.084 billion in 2021, representing year-on-year growth of 14.5%. Business sponsorship will account for USD641 million, close to 60% of the total value. This demonstrates that business sponsorship is the esports industry’s bread and butter. As a Cyberport incubatee, Talon Esports is well-known for its League of Legends team, PSG Talon, as well as for the successful esports events it has staged, such as the VALORANT competitions in Hong Kong and Taiwan which have attracted lucrative sponsorships from a wide variety of businesses including sportswear company Nike, KFC Thailand, Hong Kong virtual bank Mox and gaming seat developer Recaro. Today’s workshop tutor, Sean Zhang, CEO and Co-founder of Talon Esports, noted: “Everything begins with the fans. Esports fans typically represent a very valuable consumer segment for many brands, but they are also notoriously difficult to reach through traditional channels. So the most important thing for us to understand from a partnership perspective is what our partners are looking to achieve, from both a business and a branding standpoint, and then our job is to work out how we can best help them bridge that gap between them and the gaming community in a way that is authentic and adds value for our fans too.” Sponsor Pitch Simulations Each participating university, including the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, HKU SPACE, the Open University of Hong Kong, the Far Eastern Federal University, the National Taiwan University, the National University of Singapore, the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, the University of British Columbia, the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Washington, arranged for two to three representatives to join the workshop. Grouped into five teams, the students were required to conduct a sponsor pitch for a popular esports league. To enhance their knowledge of the esports ecosystem, feedback and suggestions were provided by the tutor. Organising inter-university tournaments and academic competitions Dr Christopher Tremewan, APRU Secretary General, said, “Empowering future Esports leaders in the Pacific Rim brought APRU and Cyberport together to create the APRU Esports Fellowship Program. Through Cyberport, the new generation will have access to the resources they need to develop skills and build networks for careers in the thriving Esports industry, including access to over 140 Esports start-ups. A perk of our program is that students will have the exclusive opportunity to pitch to industry leaders after learning about sponsorship relations and insider tips that cannot be found in textbooks. Going forward, we will forge ahead with this partnership and offer more opportunities for students to learn through student-led inter-university tournaments, academic competitions and fellowships.” APRU is a premier alliance of research universities, established in Los Angeles in 1997 by the presidents of UCLA, Berkeley, Caltech and the University of Southern California. It aims to foster collaboration between member universities to promote economic, scientific and cultural advancement in the Pacific Rim. APRU now has a membership of more than 50 leading research universities. Organised by Cyberport in partnership with APRU and the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, the APRU Esports Fellowship Program is a one-year programme dedicated to the esports industry. Cyberport’s session in Hong Kong is the programme’s third workshop, with the first two hosted by the National University of Singapore and the University of California, Los Angeles. The next workshop is planned for May, and will be hosted by the University of British Columbia. In addition to workshops, the programme also includes competitions which aim to boost the student’s esports skills and techniques. About Cyberport Cyberport is an innovative digital community with over 1,650 start-ups and technology companies. It is managed by Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, which is wholly owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government. With a vision to be the hub for digital technology thereby creating a new economic driver for Hong Kong, Cyberport is committed to nurturing a vibrant tech ecosystem by cultivating talent, promoting entrepreneurship among youth, supporting start-ups on their growth journey, fostering industry development by promoting strategic collaboration with local and international partners, and integrating new and traditional economies by accelerating digital transformation in the public and private sectors. For more information, please visit www.cyberport.hk.
May 3, 2021more
YESPORTS ESPORTS APPRENTICESHIP Recipient Announced
Original from Yesports Grooming and supporting the next esports generations of all parts of the world, Yesports announces its recipient for its FIRST Yesports Esports Apprenticeship. After reviewing a pool of remarkable applications, we are thrilled to announce that Samuel He from the University of British Columbia of Canada will be awarded the USD$10,000 apprenticeship to support his college education and esports dream. He was selected out of hundreds of applicants around the world after displaying exceptional academic achievement, extra-curricular participation and passion for esports. Samuel is a former professional Starcraft2 player under the premier organization Complexity Gaming. His experience in esports spans over 8 years and has played on the top stages such as Red Bull Detroit and MLG Anaheim. Furthermore, he has trained in the Invictus Gaming team house and was also a student of Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn. He has also been sponsored by NCSoft to compete in England for the Blade and Soul World Championship Qualifiers in 2018. He is studying a Masters of Music under world-famous clarinetist Jose Franch-Ballester and is a recipient of the prestigious British Columbia Graduate Scholarship. “Thanks so much to Yesports and APRU for hosting this amazing initiative! I believe that the increased involvement of esports within our educational institutions is a strong step forward in popularizing esports as an industry, legitimizing it as a career path, and integrating it as part of our modern-day culture” Samuel said. Funded by Yesports, the apprenticeship program enables youth to continue their education at the collegiate level while developing their hobbies. The organization has been actively taking part in nurturing all-rounded talents and future leaders in the blooming and dynamic esports communities. This fund helps support those who exhibit the same commitment. Applications were accepted from students who are planning to further pursue their studies in colleges and universities. “Building on that commitment, in the coming year, Samuel will be our ambassador promoting esports and our brand in his local communities and schools by holding various events and networking with different esports societies,” says Yesports’ Apprenticeship Coordinator, Ms. Ariel Chu. “He will as well show up on our social platforms a lot as he will be creating content for us.” On the other hand, the recipient will be offered a 4-6 weeks work term at Yesports office based in Hong Kong, a chance to gain invaluable exposure to the esports industry that can give him a competitive edge. “With Yesports, Samuel will get a taste of how an Asian esports company operates, as well as the chance to help organize both online and offline world-class tournaments and events,” Ms. Chu further commented. Lastly, Yesports welcome all interested students to apply our new series of the Yesports Apprenticeship 2021-2022 which is now opened for application. We want to cater to students of all aspects; therefore, we have created 5 types of scholarships targeting applicants with different talents and skills. Please visit our website for more information. We look forward to seeing more all-round students like Samuel having the opportunity to glow in the esports world. Congratulations! For more information, please visit: https://yesports.asia/ Apply for Apprenticeship: https://www.yesportstalents.com/scholarship https://www.facebook.com/yesports.asia For further enquiry, please contact: Ms. Ariel Chu [email protected] +852 6514 9262 Natalie TT Wong [email protected] +852 5622 4680 About Yesports Yesports, the global O2O hub for talents to meet and connect to international employers and sponsors for unlimited career and business opportunities. Yesports is a global “esports +” social media platform where gamers meet celebrities for fun and opportunities to show their talent! It connects game lovers to a dynamic world of resources and people. Yesports Talent showcases talents from around the world and provides a platform for connecting to the corporates to maximize marketing synergies. Additional Important Information Yesports does not guarantee any of the applications will be successful in attaining the apprenticeship grant nor does the final amount offered. As the apprenticeship grant is provided by Yesports, the recipient(s) maybe subjected to additional terms and conditions, not currently presented in this document, as implemented by Yesports. The University does not have any input nor control over any of the terms and conditions as required by Yesports. The nominated recipient(s) should independently decide his/her acceptance of the apprenticeship grant.
April 14, 2021more
APRU Virtual Webinar Series Helps Mastering Remote Teaching Challenges
A 12-session virtual workshop series developed jointly by the APRU Global Health Program’s Global Health Education and Technology Working Group at the University of Southern California and the Global STEM Education Program at the University of Oregon has grown into an effective platform providing important support for higher education staff, cushioning the impact of COVID-19. The creation of a peer-to-peer learning platform to exchange ways and knowledge on teaching in virtual environments became a pressing issue, as the pandemic forced the academic community to move fully to online teaching. Launched in August 2020 and scheduled to run until June 2021, the APRU Teaching in Virtual Environments Webinar Series addresses everyday educational problems, such as how do adjust safeguards for course exams. Underlining the series’ significance, it will be highlighted as a case study in a publication expected to be published later this year by the Spring Nature. “We designed these sessions to respond to the immediate need of providing remote teaching resources to faculty within the APRU network, and they have surpassed all of my expectations with a truly global faculty community,” said Elly Vandegrift, program director for Global Science Education Initiatives in the Division of Global Engagement at the University of Oregon. “Our work together strengthens and builds resiliency within our global higher education community to respond to future educational challenges,” Vandegrift adds. The APRU webinar series, moderated and led by Prof Vandegrift are conducted in 90-minute sessions and structured around specific faculty experts sharing their evidence-based practices that they adopted to online teaching. In the webinars’ breakout rooms, participants from different regions with different technology infrastructure share how they overcome the respective challenges. In conclusion the webinars return to a full group discussion to share insights learned and best practices shared across the diverse group. “We have collectively learned how many similar challenges students and faculty have faced during the pandemic and together explored ways to adapt global solutions to our local teaching and learning contexts,” highlights Mellissa Withers, program director APRU Global Health Program at the University of Southern California. The webinars support and complement other APRU Global Health Program events. The seven sessions that have been held so far involved participants from 92 institutes representing 19 economies. For upcoming webinars in this series visit https://apru.org/our-work/pacific-rim-challenges/global-health/
April 7, 2021more
Winners of the 2021 APEC Healthy Women Research Prize
Issued by the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy Announced during the APEC Women and the Economy Forum on September 24, 2021, the winner and two runners-up for the 2021 APEC Healthy Women Healthy Economies Research Prize are listed here. The winning team is co-authored by Mr. Chen-Wei Hsiang, PhD student at University College London; Dr. Ming-Jen Lin, Distinguished Professor of Economics at National Taiwan University; Dr. Kuan-Ming Chen, Post-Doctoral Fellow at the United States’ National Bureau of Economic Research. Runner-up: Dr. Ying Yang, Associate Professor at China’s National Institute for Family Planning Runner-up: Ms. Nurliyana Binte Daros, Lecturer at Nanyang Technological University Find out the news release here and more information about the prize below. Applications are now open for the 2021 APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize. The prize rewards researchers who spur the creation of sex-disaggregated data and gender-based research in APEC. Launched in 2018 by President Sebastián Piñera of Chile with the support of Merck, the research prize seek for outstanding research work that will provide policymakers and business leaders with the tools they need to implement measures that improve women’s health and well-being so women can join, rise and thrive in the workforce. “Robust data and evidence are the foundation of sound policymaking,” said Renee Graham, New Zealand’s Secretary for Women and Chair of APEC’s Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy. “The gendered impacts of COVID-19 make the call for data and evidence all the more important, as we look to ensure women are fully incorporated into, and benefit from, the economic recovery from the pandemic.” Last year, the inaugural research prize was awarded to Dr Fanghui Zhao, a director at the National Cancer Center and Cancer Hospital with the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, whose winning research looks at ways to make cervical cancer prevention more accessible and affordable for people in lower-middle income economies. Dr Lih Rong Wang of Chinese Taipei and Dr Dorothy Chan of Hong Kong, China were the two runners-up for the 2020 prize. Applicants to the 2021 APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize can be individuals or teams with one leader listed as official participant from an APEC member economy. Applications for the 2021 research prize are due on 31 May 2020. Applicants do not need to come from academia, as long as the research is evidence-based and addresses at least one of the pillars outlined in the Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Policy Toolkit, such as: workplace health and safety health awareness and access sexual and reproductive health gender-based violence work/life balance The prize winner will receive USD 20,000 and have the opportunity to present the research to APEC gender experts in the public and private sectors on the margins of the 2021 Women and the Economy Forum, hosted by New Zealand. Two runners-up will receive USD 5,000 each. “COVID-19 has exacerbated gender inequalities across a range of women’s health issues, making sex-disaggregated data and gender-based research essential for today’s policymakers,” said Liz Henderson,Regional Vice President, Merck Biopharma Asia Pacific. “To truly unlock the economic potential of women, we must first empower women by promoting policies that improve their health outcomes.” “It is important to make available sex-segregated data, especially in the services sector where women’s participation is high and which have been affected by the pandemic,” explained Dr Rebecca Sta Maria, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat. “Good sex-segregated data will contribute to the development of policies that are effective, equitable and beneficial.” Since established in 2015 the Healthy Women, Healthy Economies initiative aims to identify and implement policies that advance women’s health and well-being to support their economic participation. To submit your application form, click here. The deadline to submit applications is 31 May 2020. For more information, please visit the APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies website or contact [email protected] with any questions. For further details, please contact: Masyitha Baziad +65 9751 2146 at [email protected] Michael Chapnick +65 9647 4847 at [email protected]
March 3, 2021more
APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Policy Dialogue
The Asia-Pacific region lags behind other global regions with respect to women’s health and economic participation. Sustainable economic growth cannot be achieved if women, who consist half of the workforce, are unable to fully participate in the economy due to health implications. Since 2014, APEC’s Healthy Women, Healthy Economies (HWHE) initiative convenes government (health, labor, gender officials), private sector, academia and other interested stakeholders to raise awareness and promote good practices to enhance women’s economic participation by improving women’s health. A virtual APEC HWHE Policy Dialogue will be held on March 2, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. (EST) / March 3, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. (SGT). A number of high-level speakers from across government, academia, and the private sector will be participating as speakers in the event. The objective of this policy dialogue is to share how public and private stakeholders across the APEC region can ensure women are not left behind, especially given the impact of COVID-19, as well as to identify and discuss the long-term societal risks if we do not build back better. We hope this policy dialogue will help stakeholders – especially those who might not ordinarily consider gender in their line of work – understand why it is vital to construct a COVID-19 recovery effort that takes into consideration the unique ways women have been impacted by the pandemic. Register now to join the policy dialogue on March 2nd/ 3rd.
February 19, 2021more
4th SCL Conference mastered shift from face-to-face to virtual, new survey shows
The 4th APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes (APRU-SCL) Conference and PhD Symposium held 14th-18th December 2020 received an overwhelmingly positive feedback from academics and students for serving as a highly valuable platform for the exchange of insights between peers from across the Pacific Rim. 91.7% of respondents in a recently completed survey said they would like to continue engagement with their working groups in 2021 while 75% would be interested in joining the 5th APRU-SCL Conference in Hawai’i in person in 2022. The 4th SCL Conference and PhD Symposium were held virtually, with the survey’s stellar approval rates illustrating that the new conceptualization and pioneering approaches to empower attendees to fully engage in many different formats of interactions has worked out very well. For the host institution, the Future Cities Research Hub at the School of Architecture and Planning of the University of Auckland, the event represented the first fully virtual conference of this kind and size. “The strong financial support from the senior management, faculty and school made this successful shift to an online format possible,” said Christina Schönleber, APRU’s Senior Director (Policy and Programs). “It enabled attendees to participate in live panel discussions, set up one-on-one meetings with other attendees, participate in group networking and watch keynotes from presenters, with a total of 56 funded registrations for PhD Students, Early Career Academics, Postdocs and academics from developing countries” added Paola Boarin, Conference Director. The APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Program was launched to address the urgent necessity of understanding and managing the interconnection between cities and their surrounding ecology in the face of unprecedented population growth and climate change. The 4th SCL Conference was structured around eleven working groups, as well as plenaries, keynotes, interactive happy hours and virtual tours, attracting 152 participants from 21 economies. The opening keynote was given by the University of Auckland’s Associate Professor Damon Salesa, followed by keynotes and panel discussions on Indigenous Knowledge and Wisdom (given by Dr Rhys Jones, Senior Lecturer in Māori Health at the University of Auckland) and on SDGs in post-pandemic cities in New Zealand and Across the Pacific (given by Bernhard Barth, Human Settlements Officer at UN-Habitat’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific). The seven panelists — from Māori experts to policy makers — encouraged in-depth thinking on cultural traditions and methods to build back better. A two-days PhD student symposium was offered for the first time this year. The event allowed students to present their research that relates to the topics of the working groups and the SDGs. In total 24 PhD students from across the Pacific Rim were accepted in the Symposium. Yao Ji from Keio University won the best paper award for her paper titled” Remaking the rural: Alternative forms of revitalization in post-growth Japan”. Click here to know more about the conference.
January 11, 2021more
APRU Launches the First Global Inter-University Esports Conference and Fellowship Program
HONG KONG–(BUSINESS WIRE)–APRU launches the first and largest global inter-university Esports MetaGame Conferenceand Fellowship Program to introduce some of the only international pilot Esports programs with curriculum for students that go beyond technical knowhow. In partnership with Cyberport, the virtual conference consists of 3 elements – gaming, policy discussions and next generation learning – creating a platform for global gamers to compete while inviting Esports scholars and industry leaders to discuss the emergence of Hong Kong in the international Esports landscape and other Esports topics, such as entrepreneurship, diversity and inclusion, and career pathways. From gamers and industry partners to students and governments, the MetaGame Conference incorporates the full Esports ecosystem with an aim to expand the purview of the Esports landscape. With Esports’ high economic potential evidenced by its US$1.1 billion in global revenue in 2019, there is tremendous opportunity for career development. By establishing this program from the Hong Kong headquarters, APRU can facilitate the international collaboration of Esports leaders in the Pacific Rim by connecting students and communities across borders. Hong Kong is the first host city of the MetaGame Conference as an emerging regional Esports hub, future conferences will rotate so that APRU universities can demonstrate their unique capabilities within the Esports ecosystem. Chris Tremewan, Secretary General of APRU said, “Students are leaders in creating the ecosystem of Esports. It is not just a game but a new way of interacting which is changing society (like social media). Esports holds out opportunities in employment, industry development, education and personal development, public policy leadership and cutting-edge research. The Asia-Pacific region is the dynamic core of the development of a global Esports ecosystem and with APRU’s 56 member universities around the region, we can help establish a sustainable and ethical industry with spinoffs for health and social equity as well as economic productivity.” “Working with business and government, we are excited to bring a new Esports learning experience to students that not only builds a more sustainable industry but widens employment opportunities far beyond it: business and management, technology and design, performance and health, and socio-economic well-being and appropriate public policy.” Fellowship Program Tecnológico de Monterrey, APRU and Cyberport joined in partnership to launch the year-long virtual APRU Esports Fellowship Program today which will foster the growth of critical skills for future Esports leaders by contributing to outcomes for students such as internship and job placement opportunities and activities such as hackathons, pitching competitions and industry networking. The curriculum goes beyond the technical training related to Esports and focuses on ethical leadership, industry connections, community building, design thinking, entrepreneurship, and cultural awareness. Students will be deeply connected to the entire Esports industry – publishers, leagues, and its technological advancement – for a greater opportunity to develop their Esports skillset and career.
December 14, 2020more
14th APRU Global Health Conference 2020 records massive virtual reach
APRU held its annual 2020 Global Health Conference October 19-21, expanding the APRU Global Health Program’s knowledge-sharing and member-engagement through the network. The 14th APRU Global Health Conference was the first APRU program conference conducted virtually, and it also was the APRU conference with the widest reach, attracting nearly 1,500 contributors and participants from 39 APRU member universities and over 300 external partners across 53 economies. In line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, the conference this year focused on the theme Universal Healthcare across the Life Course. The two keynote speeches were held by Dr Margaret Chan, Inaugural Dean of Tsinghua University’s Vanke School of Public Health and Emeritus Director General of WHO, and Alejandro Gaviria, President of Universidad de los Andes and former Minister of Health and Social Protection, Colombia. “When the WHO was founded in 1947, new diseases were rare, as people travelled internationally by ship and news travelled by telegram, but since then profound changes have occurred in the way humanity inhabits the planet,” Chan said. “Today, very few health threats are local, and climate change, population growth, rapid urbanization, intensive farming practices, environmental degradation, and misuse of anti-microbios are challenges that have disrupted the micro-bio world, leading to a dramatic increase of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases around the world,” she added. The third prominent speaker was Dr Ren Minghui, the WHO’s Assistant Director-General, Universal Health Coverage/ Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases. A panel on migration (focusing on immigration in Ecuador, wellbeing of the migrant care workers in Taiwan, and personal story sharing on human trafficking in Philippines) and women (focusing on women’s voices maternity care in the SDG era, case studies in Malawi and China, and infertility in the Asian community) also garnered much attention. The conference prominently displayed new member participation, as reflected by the Universidad de los Andes’ President Gaviria in his keynote speech endorsing further collaboration with APRU’s Global Health Program, and University of Queensland Professor Gita Mishra and Universidad San Francisco de Quito Professor Maria Amelia Viteri serving as the moderator of the life course plenary and speaker in the migration panel respectively. The other speakers on plenaries were Zhijie Zheng, University Endowed Chair Professor and Head of the Department of Global Health, School of Public Health, Peking University, Wen Chen, Director, Center for Pharmacoeconomic Research and Evaluation, Fudan University, Fan Wu, Deputy Dean of Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, and Michael Lu Dean of School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley. Whereas in APRU’s previous global health conferences a physical polling facilitated the picking of the best video of the Global Health Student Case competition, this year an international judging panel chose seven posters (in graduate and undergraduate categories) and three videos as finalists. The panel then invited all students and faculty to log in the online conference and voted for their favorite works. The winning students have received a prize of USD 500. APRU is delighted to note that the virtual conference was able to reach to a wider range of participants. “One of the key benefits of using a virtual platform is helping to reduce disparities in access to information and best practice sharing for people in middle-income countries who would likely not be able to attend international conferences in person, “said Christopher Tremewan, APRU Secretary General.
November 27, 2020more
APRU Quarantunes Competition Connects and Uplifts Student Communities through Music, Boosting Spirits during Ongoing Pandemic
HONG KONG–(BUSINESS WIRE)–To bring international university students together by sparking creativity and sharing positivity during the pandemic, the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) recently launched its Quarantunes student music competition. Attracting 108 impressive entries by students from 13 economies across Asia-Pacific, the Quarantunes competition was organised by APRU Plus, an online hub launched specifically to address challenges during COVID. The winning teams reflected an incredible breadth of international student talent, with the leading entries emerging from student teams in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mexico, the Philippines, California (USA), Colombia, and South Korea. With virtually no international student mobility and physical classes halted, students are facing unprecedented disruptions to their studies and university experience. A study conducted this past summer by a higher education research consortium that includes APRU member University of California, Berkeley found that 35% of undergraduate students were positive for major depressive disorder, while 39% had generalized anxiety disorder, a much higher rate than years past. With anxiety prevalent across universities worldwide, APRU Plus provides innovative opportunities for collaboration to bridge the gap created by social distancing. Conceived as a way to foster creativity and discussion around the importance of mental wellness during this challenging time, the Quarantunes competition gave students a new way to cope with isolation and come together to produce musical works that spread positivity. Each of the students’ submitted songs tells a unique COVID story that helps us see beyond the current difficulties to inspire hope for the future. “‘Get Down’ is a song that combines dancy, hopeful music and reflective lyrics about the happenings right now. We hope to present an honest yet playful version of the world, inside which people acknowledge the flaws of the society but remain optimistic for a brighter future.” – National Taiwan University and The Chinese University of Hong Kong team View highlight video and winning entries : 1st Prize (Tied) “Get Down” – National Taiwan University and The Chinese University of Hong Kong “Sonos Más” – Tecnológico de Monterrey 3rd Prize “Six Feet Apart” – University of the Philippines Special Prize “Golden Girl” – University of Southern California “Homenaje a Lucho Bermúdez” – Universidad de los Andes “We’re All Heroes” – Yonsei University To further connect students internationally, APRU also offers the APRU Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) Program, an exclusive opportunity to connect with peers from around the world to learn new knowledge and skills, exchange ideas and cultures, and develop connections vital for success. Visit here to learn more. Contacts APRU: Jack Ng [email protected] PLUG: Marisa Lam [email protected]
November 16, 2020more
Civic Resilience and the COVID-19 Crisis (Part 2 of 2)
By Jeff Hou See the original post here. This series of articles represents the outcomes of a two-part webinar, titled Bottom-Up Resilience and hosted by APRU Plus in July 2020. Through a partnership between Pacific Rim Community Design Network and the APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Hub, the discussion brought together a group of activists, organizers, and researchers across the region to critically reflect on their ongoing work in supporting the local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learning from Civil Society and Civic Resilience What exactly can we learn from these different types of civil society responses during the pandemic? What do these cases tell us about social and community resilience from the bottom up? What do they reveal about the longstanding disparities in society? What can we look forward to in terms of sustaining these networks and momentum? Contrasting responses Besides the disproportionate impacts on the mainstream society and the marginalized communities, the contrasting responses from the state and the civil society groups present another parallel across the different geographical contexts. In Manila, Tessa Maria Guazon found the state’s bureaucratic response to daily emergencies like food supply, mass testing for the virus, and the provision of public transport to be, as usual, delayed and inadequate. As a result, communities turned to self-help and mutual aid as a way to address urgent needs, a pattern also found elsewhere. The experience in China offers a different scenario. In Wuhan, the local government did react relatively quickly but failed to account for the less privileged. Yang Bao and Shuyun Cao argued that “as the pandemic spread, the government’s one-size-fits-all directives could not respond to the detailed needs of all sectors of society.” It was in this context that the self-organized civil networks have emerged in response to the urgent needs of those who have not been helped. In Tokyo, the support from the government in terms of temporary accommodation for the homeless was critical but short-lived. After seven days during the crisis, “people were back on the streets,” said Mago Yoshihira. She went to note, “we were worried about them and that was why we started free ‘food delivery’ to homeless people […] so we can visit them directly and conduct short interviews each time.” “Face-to-face conversation is best to feel empathy,” said Yoshihira. YUI Associates also began to accept people who had newly become homeless due to COVID-19 and assisted them in finding jobs, according to Yoshihira. In other cases, the government response has been a source of longstanding challenges. In Hong Kong, Michelle Wong described the dilemmas faced by the homeless and social service organizations, “even before COVID-19, they stay in tunnels; they stay on the streets, or they stay in McDonald’s.” “They move around quite often, and the reason why they need to move is that the government would remove their stuff in the tunnel or park frequently,” said Wong. This has made the work of volunteers and social service organizations difficult because they cannot locate the homeless, build relationships, and provide support for them. Trust and empathy As a discussant on the first day of the webinar, Kian Goh of the University of California, Los Angeles highlighted the presence of place-based and historically informed local experiences as illustrated by the speakers. Goh noted that many community self-help and mutual aid practices “really have to be built on trust and empathy […] developed among close-knit circles.” Indeed, local practices that built trust and empathy appeared to have played an important role in engendering community responses during the COVID-19 crisis. In Manila, Tessa Maria Guazon pointed out the notion of Namamangketa as “a way of life” and “a manner of thriving” among the community members she worked with. Asked about how empathy was developed, Guazon noted that empathy among the women partners was built from shared experiences, particularly the struggles with local law enforcement and government. Working with the women partners through the SEANNET project, she learned that a way to live together was “to be with another, to feel the pain of another, to empathize with others.” In the case of LuMo Road Rescue in Wuhan, Yang Bao found trust was already established and deeply rooted in the group, “making the rescue, their donation [drive], and mobilization of resources [go] quite smoothly.” Iderlina Mateo-Babiano also found community resilience to be underpinned by trust in the case of Life Cycles PH. She noted that many of the transactional activities, including the borrowing of bicycles, were based on trust and community spirit or Bayanihan. “There was no money involved; transactions were just purely made on trust and generosity within the community Facebook group,” said Mateo-Babiano. Asked about how trust was developed for Life Cycles PH, Mateo-Babiano suggested that the transactions became a form of relationship building. Following the online transactions, “the group would go and meet up with people to exchange bicycles,” said Mateo-Babiano. The social media platform also allows the group to build trust by being transparent about their actions. Reciprocity and Scalability As place-based and locally-specific actions, Kian Goh wondered about the potential of looking across scales to include different community groups and different levels of government, and if these efforts are bound to one place and one community. In other words, are these civil society responses scalable? In Singapore, Tan Beng Kiang found an untapped resource of people who are interested in helping: “I think there are a lot of people during the lockdown who were at home and they all want to do something [to help] but they can’t get out,” said Tan. Tapping into the potential of these individuals presents opportunities for scaling up. In Manila, Tessa Maria Guazon found evidence of “a cycle of generative reciprocity” in the example of a chef who converted her restaurant kitchen into a community kitchen and came up with a set of guidelines for establishing community kitchens and for making them safe. A colleague from the university then translated the guidelines into Tagalog or Filipino so they can be widely circulated. “It keeps these efforts going. Some of us may fall out because of fatigue but I think others will be interested to help,” said Guazon. In the case of Life Cycles PH, beyond facilitating the lending and borrowing of bikes, Mateo-Babiano found the group to have expanded their advocacy to create a culture of cycling, “a culture of just and sustainable mobility for everyone.” This includes pushing the government to build more bike lanes and cycling infrastructure to make cycling safe. She found that the conversation has moved from short-term emergency response to long-term needs for expanded infrastructure for more equitable and safer mobility. In the migrant worker community in Hong Kong, Cecilia Chu and Marta Catalán Eraso came across additional actors that served to bridge multiple scales. For instance, they highlighted the role of banks in lending technical support to the workers as they might become future clients. “This suggests that self-help is not really entirely independent […] there is a kind of intricate relationship between institutional engagement and community self-help,” said Chu and Catalán Eraso. Solidarity and collaboration The answer to scalability perhaps already exists in the way that many of these groups and initiatives operate, through collaboration and acts of solidarity. In answering my own question about how organizations adapted to crises and how such adaptation can sustain in the long run, Iderlina Mateo-Babiano sees the sharing paradigm as key, particularly when “fueled by the ongoing advocacy and solidarity of like-minded individuals,” and “a common concern for social justice and human connection.” Michelle Wong had a similar response, “as an organizer I always go back to solidarity as a solution.” For instance, the COVID-19 crisis has led ImpactHK to consider forming a network of homeless advocacy organizations in Hong Kong to address the problem effectively and to lobby the government. “At the end of the day, the government is the resourceful, powerful kind of machine that can do much more than a small organization like us,” said Wong. Collaboration already played a critical role in the ongoing work of ImpactHK. During the crisis, the organization hosted around 200 homeless individuals by partnering with guest houses for travelers. In another instance, to learn about the issues facing the street cleaners and to better support them, Fixing Hong Kong organized a learning session for volunteers with the Hong Kong Cleaning Workers Union so they can “understand more about the difficulty that these street cleaners face,” said Bernard Lee. In Singapore, during the crisis, some of the existing NGO groups have formed a coalition because their work is similar. Instead of everyone trying to replicate others’ activities, “they are combining,” said Tan Beng Kiang. According to Tan, the groups are also partnering with the government because during the crisis, “there are things you can’t do unless you get permission, such as entering the quarantined migrant worker dormitory.” As a result, “there’s now a partnership going on between the government and the NGO groups,” said Tan. Spontaneous solidarity can also take place across borders. In Tokyo, where masks were in short supply during the COVID-19 outbreak between March and June of 2020, YUI Associates received donations of masks from regular customers of their tourist hotel in Sanya. According to Mago Yoshihira, more than 1,200 masks were sent from Shanghai and Hong Kong where the number of infections had declined at the time. YUI members brought these donated masks to rough sleepers and the homeless populations in Sanya as well as a terminal care facility for homeless individuals and a hospital. In answering the question about how civil society responses can be sustained, Tessa Maria Guazon suggests that this can be supported through multi-nodal efforts: “When people work at various scales, if one group suffers fatigue, then another catches them.” Similarly, Masato Dohi, co-founder of ARCH, reflected on the voluntary effort of Tokyo Street Count: “[with] just a small group of two or three people, we can only count a small part of the city and small part of the homeless population, but with hundreds of people we can count the homeless people in Tokyo.” (Nao Kasai further notes that the robustness of the count is not the focus of the argument, but rather that societal inclusivity starts from “I recognize you” at the grassroots level. “Our Tokyo Street Count is an effort to scale up this ‘I’ to ‘we,’ so we can say ‘we recognize you all’ as a society,” said Kasai.) Collaboration and solidarity are indeed keys to how responses of civil society, albeit often modest in scale and capacity, can have a greater collective impact during a crisis and in the long run. They enable groups to maintain autonomy and self-manage while working toward a common goal. By pooling together resources of different kinds, it creates efficiency and allows groups to adapt to changing needs and circumstances and scale-up. Barriers to Civil Society Responses With lockdowns and other extraordinary constraints during the COVID-19 pandemic, civil society responses have their share of challenges and difficulties as well. In Tokyo, Nao Kasai noted that because of limited capacity, the work of ARCH on street homelessness had to shrink. “Many street support activities rely on volunteers, and service providers had to redesign or stop their activities without volunteers during the pandemic,” said Kasai. As a social enterprise, YUI Associates faced a financial challenge during the crisis. With almost no guests by April, they had to close one of the hotels to reduce costs even though the demand from the homeless population has increased, including people who require special care. Other aspects of the widespread lockdown during COVID-19 posed additional difficulties. In Manila, residents from San Roque, an informal settlement in Manila’s northeast protested against the local government during the lockdown. They were dispersed and later arrested as they were deemed by the police to be defying the law against public gatherings. In Hong Kong, where there was already a ban on public gatherings issued by the government to rein in the civil unrest, volunteers handing food to the homeless in the park received warnings from the police because of the restrictions against public gatherings. “I know that some of our homeless friends. They get tickets. They get warnings and tickets from the police,” said Michelle Wong. She suspected that the police were using the ban to “scare them off from the park.” “I think they make use of COVID to get what they want right now because of the protests and also for the homeless; they don’t want them,” said Wong. Faced with this challenge, volunteers of ImpactHK resorted to a flash mob tactic to continue serving food in the park next to their office. Physical and mental fatigue came up as another important issue in the conversation. Tessa Maria Guazon described her experience in Manila, “after what we did for our women partners, I was totally just exhausted.” In her concluding thought on the first day of the webinar series, Shuyun Cao suggested, “we should not over-emphasize contribution or devotion to a great goal […] I think in that way individuals will be swallowed by those great goals.” Instead, she suggests attention to self-care and individual mental health, “then the empathy fatigue will not be that serious,” said Cao. Besides fatigue, it is also important to critically reflect on other challenges facing mutual aid and self-help. Cecilia Chu argued, “all these self-help practices [by migrant workers] when we presented them seemed very positive and enlightening, but in Hong Kong, it’s been really not seen as part of the civic engagement in the eyes of most of the local residents.” Furthermore, she suggested that the community self-help was in fact a reflection of their marginalized position “that so far has not been really breached.” Lastly, Shu-Mei Huang suggested that even with all the focus on the marginalized groups through civil society responses, some groups might still be left out. For instance, while we have better understood the struggles of the domestic workers, we still know rather little about factory workers and fishers, “migrant fishermen […] really can’t make it to public space over the weekend because they don’t have a weekend.” Implications and Lessons for Planning and Design Practices A key question on both days of the discussion concerns the implications and lessons of civic resilience for planning and design professionals, the main audience of the webinars. Iderlina Mateo-Babiano responded with a reflection on her training as a planner, “when I hear the stories […] I think that’s one of the learnings that as a planner we should take on.” “Sometimes we think that we know what are the lived experiences of those for whom we provide public spaces, but actually what we have thought of as the right solution, the right public space, may not really be the right one for the users,” said Mateo-Babiano. For Tan Beng Kiang, a key lesson from the civil society responses was simply to act. She thinks that as designers or as educators, “we can encourage our students to act, even if they are locked down at home or with limited access to visit [a site], etc., what is it that they can do to help? What is it they can do within their community?” Indeed, the cases presented by the webinar speakers would not have been possible without the actions and initial responses. Whether there have been pre-existing networks or not, the most critical aspect of community self-help has been the will and ability to act. While the focus of the urgent and immediate relief was critical, in the grand scheme of things, it’s also important to identify how civic resilience can be supported and cultivated on an everyday basis before and beyond the moment of crisis. As suggested by the role of pre-existing networks and organizations, it is important to engage these networks and organizations in the planning and design of neighborhoods, districts, cities, and regions, and ensure such engagement can help build capacity and strengthen relationships among the groups. Opportunities also need to be provided for those without formal affiliations. As evident in the outcomes of the pandemic, social disparities have been an acute form of vulnerability that threatens not only the underserved and underprivileged but also the society at large. As these social and economic disparities are often reinforced by the built environment, planning and design professions, by and large, have been accomplices to a structure that produces and reproduces these inequalities. Addressing these disparities and closing the gaps requires the built environment professions to play a more self-critical role and reflect on longstanding assumptions and practices. As we rebuild cities and communities to avoid future outbreaks of infectious diseases, we must ensure that the voices of the less privileged are not left out. As evident from the cases highlighted in the webinars, a seemingly insignificant change in the everyday environment and everyday life can have a significant impact on the vulnerable populations. Additionally, a well-intended policy or measure can have unintended consequences especially if the concerns of those who are not at the table are not accounted for. We must avoid the pitfalls that have plagued the rescue, relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts in the past that have deprived rather strengthened the communities in need. Finally, as Kian Goh noted during the webinar, “mutual aid community self-help is not a cure-all.” There are structural issues that will require much more substantial effort and perseverance. But as the experiences highlighted through the webinar have indicated, seemingly robust structures can fail and when they do, civic resilience can play an important role in saving lives and supporting communities in need. Furthermore, changing and rebuilding the structures will also require the efforts of civil society in holding the state and institutions accountable. A deeper and more critical understanding of civic resilience is the first step toward the long-term safeguarding of cities and communities beyond the pandemic.
September 17, 2020more
Civic Resilience and the COVID-19 Crisis (Part 1 of 2)
By Jeff Hou See the original post here. This series of articles represents the outcomes of a two-part webinar, titled Bottom-Up Resilience and hosted by APRU Plus in July 2020. Through a partnership between Pacific Rim Community Design Network and the APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Hub, the discussion brought together a group of activists, organizers, and researchers across the region to critically reflect on their ongoing work in supporting the local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, civil society responses including self-help and mutual aid have become critical to the survival of many individuals and communities, lending a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable populations in our society. In the Seattle area, the ground zero of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, citizen groups and community organizations mobilized to provide food delivery and relief for elderly residents. Makerspaces, architecture firms, and university labs shifted gear to produce Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers. Artists volunteered and collaborated with neighborhood organizations to paint murals on boarded-up storefronts to support local businesses and deter vandalism. While many of these efforts may appear to be ad-hoc and spontaneous, others also emerge from longstanding networks and relationships. Together, they represent the emergence of civic resilience — the ability of citizens and communities to cope with and adapt to social, economic, and environmental disturbances. Compared with the common association of resilience with infrastructure projects and scientific analyses, civic resilience suggests the agency and power of individuals and civil society groups in responding to urgent and longstanding challenges. Seattle is far from the only city where such instances exist. Cases of community organizing for self-help and mutual support have also emerged elsewhere during the pandemic, including cities and communities in Asia. Through a two-part webinar titled Bottom-Up Resilience and hosted by APRU Plus in July 2020, a group of activists, organizers, and researchers across the region joined in a dialogue to share lessons and experiences from their ongoing work during the COVID-19 crisis. The webinars set out to examine the following questions: How do communities and social groups self-organize to address challenges during the pandemic, in particular challenges facing the most vulnerable populations in our society? What do these cases have in common? What can we learn from these civil society responses for future planning? What are the roles of researchers, planning and design professionals, and institutions in strengthening community resilience? This essay summarizes the findings and presents the key lesson learned in the hope of advancing the understanding and practices of mutual aid, community self-help, and civic resilience. Pandemic Inequalities With lockdowns, travel restrictions, social distancing requirements, and economic slowdowns, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused enormously disruptive changes to societies around the world. As schools, streets, and other forms of public and private spaces shut down in one city after another, the patterns of daily lives that were once taken for granted had suddenly unraveled. While a large segment of society can afford or manage to work from home, however, others are not as fortunate. As the death toll under COVID-19 has shown, cities and communities have been impacted differently, with the less privileged ones suffering a greater blow. Inequalities and the experiences of the marginalized and unprivileged were the main themes during the webinar with presenters sharing their first-hand accounts working with or learning from the homeless, migrant workers, and street vendors on the front line during the pandemic. In one case after another, we learned that a simple change in how urban spaces were managed could have a substantial impact on the populations that depended on them for their livelihood. In Manila, for instance, Tessa Maria Guazon of the University of the Philippines Diliman reported on the experience of street vendors during the lockdown, sharing that “many of those who sold their goods on the streets had no earnings having lost touch with their loyal customers.” The street that once provided a “semblance of security” was no longer accessible. The restriction imposed on transportation during the lockdown also “put the marginalized at a greater disadvantage,” said Guazon. Changes in mobility during the lockdowns had a disproportionate impact on different segments of the population. According to Iderlina Mateo-Babiano of the University of Melbourne, 80% of the Philippines population is largely dependent on public transport. Banning mass transit to prevent the spread of COVID-19 had a significant impact on those who rely on public transport. “The impact was felt hardest by the essential workers and frontline workers who still had to go to work but had limited mobility choices,” said Mateo-Babiano. In Hong Kong, homeless individuals, or McRefugees, were locked out of their usual refuge as McDonald’s was closed for a month during the lockdown, according to Michelle Wong, former program manager of Impact HK, a charity organization serving the homeless in Hong Kong. For those who had to report to work, such as the street cleaners, long working hours meant that many did not have time to cue up for buying masks even if they could afford to buy them, said Bernard Lee of Fixing Hong Kong, a volunteer organization that organized donations and distribution of PPEs to street cleaners and those in need during the pandemic. For migrant workers in Hong Kong, Cecilia Chu and Marta Catalán Eraso of the University of Hong Kong reported that “fears of contagion meant that employers were largely unwilling to give domestic workers their weekly time-off.” Specifically, they found 29% of the domestic workers have their days off refused. Foreign domestic workers were also not included in the almost HKD 300 billion government fund to assist industries and the public in Hong Kong. Many also do not have access to PPEs, according to Chu and Catalán Eraso. The situation in Singapore is perhaps most telling in terms of the demographic disparities. According to Tan Beng Kiang of the National University of Singapore, 95% of local cases are migrant workers living in the dormitories. The number of COVID cases is significantly high “because of the high-density living in the sharing of common spaces,” said Tan. Other seemingly simple or trivial changes could also have a significant impact on the less privileged. In Tokyo, according to Mago Yoshihira of YUI Associates, a social enterprise organization serving the homeless population in Sanya, during the pandemic people often eat at home and do not go out to drink (at bars or restaurants), resulting in a lot of household cans to collect. The price of cans went down as a result, with the price for one kilogram falling by almost 50% from 80–85 yen to 45 yen. This falling price presented a challenge for people who make a living by collecting cans. Vulnerable populations during the pandemic include not only the homeless and migrants but also those with chronic illnesses. In Wuhan, the first epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, medical resources were squeezed in the city, and many patients with chronic illnesses had difficulties accessing medical care during the lockdown, according to members of the Dinghaiqiao Mutual Aid Society Yang Bao and Shuyun Cao who have been observing volunteer efforts in Chinese cities during the COVID-19 outbreak. Many of the challenges facing marginalized populations have long existed before the pandemic. In Tokyo, chronically homeless people keep living on the street and refuse to receive social benefits, according to Mago Yoshihira. “One of the major reasons for them to refuse services is that they do not like to stay at the institutional facilities […] Usually the bunk beds are provided, or one room has to be shared with another person. There are also lots of restrictions […] it’s not a good environment,” said Yoshihira. In Taiwan, where the local authority has successfully contained the outbreak of COVID-19, the social isolation and spatial segregation experienced by migrant workers during the pandemic was not new, according to Shu-Mei Huang, an Assistant Professor at the National Taiwan University. From an interview with a community worker, she learned that the migrant workers ”are actually better than anyone to live in isolation, and to maintain online, fragmented social interactions.” Organized Civil Society Responses It was in the context of disparities and inequalities faced by the vulnerable and marginalized populations that many of the self-help and mutual aid efforts emerged. At the webinars, it was interesting to hear about not only the range of efforts but also the organizations that undertook the initiatives. Specifically, it is important to note that many of the organizations existed long before the pandemic. Their efforts showed how they have responded and adapted to changing needs in the community, and how existing networks and relationships played critical roles during the crisis. Starting with Manila, Tessa Maria Guazon shared the effort of her research team as part of the Southeast Asia Neighborhoods Network, a project that started in 2017. During the pandemic, the team shifted from research to supporting community partners who were mainly homeless women and itinerant vendors. Using social media, the team solicited donations and organized “survival packs” for distribution to community members. Each survival pack provides one family with a week’s supply of rice, cans of sardines and corned beef, powdered coffee and milk, sugar, bread, and fresh vegetables. Multiple organizations from Hong Kong were featured in the webinars. Fixing Hong Kong is a volunteer group based in Tokwawan, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Hong Kong. Founded in 2015 after the Umbrella Movement, the group provides home repair services as a way to perform outreach to communities to promote democracy and community self-help. With the outbreak of COVID-19, the group shifted gear to organize donations and distribution of masks and hand sanitizers to those in need, particularly street cleaners. As of July, the group has received and distributed over 50,000 masks and several hundred liters of hand sanitizers, according to Bernard Lee. ImpactHK is a charity organization focusing on serving the homeless in Hong Kong. With limited staff, the organization focuses on linking the homeless, volunteers, donors, and their own staff. ImpactHK already had a food distribution program that served about 30 people a day before the pandemic. During the COVID-19 crisis, the program expanded to serve 150 people a day. The group also distributed masks and hand sanitizers, although they found the homeless were more concerned with having a place to stay and addressing other more immediate survival needs, according to Wong. For migrant workers in Hong Kong, many grassroots organizations and unions from the community of domestic workers have been active in providing extra support to those in need. According to Marta Catalán Eraso, these groups reached out to the community and gave away masks and other supplies donated by companies. They also provided moral, legal, and health support. The Indonesian migrant workers union even had an online meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo to discuss these issues. The first-ever global online rally of migrant domestic workers took place with more than 500 participants representing organizations from 39 countries, a testament to the power of the pre-existing networks among the migrant workers. In Singapore, several existing organizations have stepped up during the crisis. According to Tan Beng Kiang, NGOs such as Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach delivered meals to migrant workers who are quarantined or under a stay home order. A Singapore choir group “Voices of Singapore” organized a virtual sing-along for migrant workers and kids to raise funds for migrant workers. During the lockdown, religious spaces opened their premises for the homeless, including Malaysians who commute to work in Singapore each day but were stranded overnight because of the sudden lockdown and border closure. In Wuhan, the NGO Wuhan LGBT Center provided health counseling and medicine delivery for HIV patients. They also set up a mutual support WeChat group for people to borrow HIV medication in emergencies. According to a report by Jean Chong of OurRight Action International, “between January 26 until the end of lockdown on April 8, the Center delivered medicine to an average of 200 persons daily,” and “an estimated 14,000 persons received 130,000 bottles of medicine over the entire 74 days of lockdown.” In the Wanhua District of Taipei, a historic district with a high concentration of poor and elderly populations, the dense network of existing social service organizations provided much-needed support for the area’s residents and businesses. With large public gatherings banned during the early part of the pandemic in Taiwan, the network of organizations successfully moved a market event online. The event typically held three times a year since 2016 has been important for supporting local businesses and social enterprises. The success of the online event encouraged the event partners to continue working together, according to Shu-Mei Huang. In Tokyo, YUI Associates is a social enterprise that runs hostel-like hotels and a cafe in Sanya, a neighborhood historically known for a concentration of day laborers and homeless people. The organization operates two hotels for travelers and a third one to serve the homeless and provide them with a more comfortable and dignified environment. During the COVID-19 crisis, the group used one of its travelers’ hotels to accommodate chronically homeless individuals during the emergency declaration. It continues to provide food deliveries in the area for the homeless. Besides formal organizations, informal social networks also played an important role during the crisis. In Manila, Tessa Maria Guazon found that the drives for food provision during the first few weeks of the city-wide lockdown have relied on social media networks. “There was a resurgence of community kitchens, and efforts were pooled between individuals and the many citizen groups that social media helped gather,” said Guazon. In Hong Kong, Bernard Lee argued that many of these civil society responses during COVID-19 in Hong Kong have their roots in the protest movement in 2019. “Because of the protests, we are much better at organizing ourselves,” said Lee. Among the migrant workers in Hong Kong, there was also informal sharing of masks and sanitizers, as well as emotional support for those returning to their home countries under the lockdown, according to Marta Catalán Eraso. Emerging Mutual Aid and Community Self-Help Besides the existing networks and organizations, the recent crisis also saw the emergence of several new groups and self-organized initiatives. The formation of these efforts suggests new possibilities of community self-help and new forms of civic organizing. They also suggest the potential of civil society particularly in places where such a phenomenon was not expected or was not prominent historically. In Singapore, a society arguably without a strong tradition of civic actions, there has been an outpouring of support for mutual aid and community self-help during the pandemic. A group of students from the National University of Singapore volunteered as translators for the migrant workers with a hospital, “They translated common questions the doctors would ask workers into voice recording and text. (in five languages — Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Myanmar, and Chinese). These were used by the doctors when they communicated with the workers,” said Tan Beng Kiang. On the campus of the National University of Singapore, with a dormitory converted into a community recovery facility where migrant workers discharged from the hospital came to recover, students collected t-shirts and delivered them to the workers (as they could not go back to pick up their belongings) and offered financial literacy classes for the workers. At the Nanyang University of Technology, with the school in lockdown and the canteen closed, an undergraduate student who had just opened a noodle shop in the canteen decided to cook for hundreds of elderly citizens with donations from a crowdfunding campaign. With students having to engage with home-based learning during the lockdown, a group of volunteers formed a group called Community Against COVID that repaired laptops for students in need so that they could continue learning at home. Other groups included “Masks Sewn with Love” that “sewed masks from their home for the homeless, migrant workers, and other vulnerable groups,” said Tan. In Manila, Life Cycles PH was formed by a team of transport advocates, cyclists, and social media campaigners to provide bicycles to frontline workers in need of transport during the community quarantine. According to Iderlina Mateo-Babiano, through the donation of bikes and funds to purchase bicycles in bulk from suppliers, the group has delivered over 1,000 bikes to hospitals and institutions. Also, they have been able to match more than 400 bike lenders to borrowers in the community. Mobility and transportation during the pandemic was a challenge not just in Manila. In Wuhan, known as China’s punk rock capital, music fans from two renowned live houses together with other participants formed a group called LuMo Road Rescue. The group coordinated and gave rides to medical workers during the city’s extraordinary lockdown. Starting with mobility support, the group has since branched out to coordinate donations and distribution of personal protection supplies to those in need, including local hospitals. Wuhan was the site of many other self-help and mutual aid efforts, including those that serve the socially marginalized populations. According to Yang Bao and Shuyun Cao, volunteers formed a support group for pregnant women especially single mothers and same-sex partners. There were also pet owners who organized a support network to care for abandoned pets and those whose owners were missing or could not return to their apartments during the lockdown. The emergence of these novel, self-organized initiatives illustrates the possibilities for community self-help and mutual aid even in societies with a tradition or system of top-down governance. It suggests that when called for by extraordinary circumstances, community groups and informal networks may leap into action. Yet it is also quite possible that these self-help efforts have long existed but were overshadowed by the state institutions and cultural biases that fail to recognize these survival mechanisms.
September 17, 2020more
APRU Global Health experts co-publish insights on global health ethics in the time of COVID-19
APRU Global Health Working Groups provide a platform for experts and scholars to develop joint-research and share lessons-learnt. During a webinar held in May 2020, experts brought together by the Global Health Bioethics Working Group examined ethical challenges in both research and clinical care associated with COVID-19. The inter-disciplinary and international nature of the event offered participating scholars the unique opportunity to analyze these challenges from diverse perspectives and publish the findings in the Journal of Global Health Science. View the paper here. Find out details about the authors and the webinar here.
September 16, 2020more
APRU E-Sports Apprenticeship
September 15, 2020more
Winners of the Global Health Student Activities 2020 Announced
August 17, 2020more
TEC News: Song of Tec students wins 1st place among universities worldwide
Pictures: Archive pictures of Frida Rangel and Rubén Villicaña Written by WENDY GUTIÉRREZ |MEXICO CITY CAMPUS Original post in The news site of Tecnológico de Monterrey With the song “Somos Más”, Frida Rangel and Rubén Villicaña have won first place worldwide in the Quarantunes Music Competition, a virtual event organized by the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU). According to the organizers, the students from Tec de Monterrey’s Mexico City campus were given the prize for the song which revealed the positivity that is needed in these uncertain times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The composition won first place in the national ‘Songs of Peace and Hope’ competition organized by the Tec and tied for the title of global champion with the song “Get Down”, by students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). “This contest consists of composing songs that express the feelings we have experienced as students, during the pandemic, but also shows how we can inspire others through our song and strengthen the hope that a better future will come,” explained Frida. The students mentioned that they felt very happy and fulfilled in getting first place. “We’re very satisfied with all the work we did and the results that we got. But, mostly, we’re extremely grateful and inspired by all the support we’ve received,” declared the winners. A SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT Having reached first place in an international composition competition is a significant achievement, as it reaffirms that they are on the right track. According to the songwriters, their participation in the contest inspired them to continue looking for similar opportunities, and to keep entering more contests. “We want to make more music, and to improve more and more. We know that we still have a lot to learn and that excites us a lot,” said Frida, who’s studying Music Production. The prize was a cash sum, which they intend to invest in equipment to improve the quality of their music, and thereby generate new knowledge and opportunities for themselves. The Tec students received the invitation to participate in Quarantunes through the Leadership and Experience (LiFE) department on their campus and decided to compose a song with a positive message. The LiFE program focuses on students’ development through sports, arts, leadership, and includes their nutritional, psychological and emotional well-being. Frida and Ruben shared that the Tec has greatly influenced both their lives and their professional careers. “We’ve both been members of the Contemporary Music Ensemble on our campus, and participated in the National Song Festival, so we’ve acquired many skills and experiences that have influenced the path we want to take both in our careers and our lives. “These experiences have deeply affected us. In fact, it was in the ensemble where we met and, thanks to that, we’ve achieved many things together”, they said. The champions thanked the department of art and culture at the Mexico City campus for all the support they were given during the two weeks of the contest. “We want to thank all the people who shared our video, and who were encouraging and supporting us. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of all these people. We especially want to thank our families, who never gave up. Really, thank you for helping us share our art. You’ve inspired us to keep going,” the winners concluded. Listen to their song by clicking here.
August 7, 2020more
Quarantunes Student Music Competition
APRU is pleased to announce the winners of the Quarantunes Student Music Competition designed to inspire hope for the future. We have received 108 impressive entries, over 400 students from 24 leading research universities and 13 economies of the Asia Pacific participated. The top winners have been selected from a shortlisted of entries by popular vote. Top entries reflect highest responses on Facebook and the voting form. All participants were subject of review according to competition Terms and Conditions. The Quarantunes student music competition offered students a chance to inspire each other and our communities by making music. Students were challenged to help us see beyond current difficulties, come together in mutual support, and strengthen the determination and hope for the future. We thank all of the participants for sharing their talent, creativity, and collaboration which has inspired our communities across the Asia Pacific to have hope for the future even during this uncertain time. 1st Prize (tied): “Get Down” National Taiwan University and The Chinese University of Hong Kong Prize: USD 2500 Team Members: Chaichon Wongkham, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Yen Wei Kuang, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Tsou, Yi-Hsu, National Taiwan University Hsu Tung, National Taiwan University 1st Prize (tied): “Somos Más” Tecnológico de Monterrey Prize: USD 2500 Team Members: José Rubén Villicaña Ibargüengoytia Frida Berenice Rangel García 3rd Prize: “Six Feet Apart” University of the Philippines Manila Prize: USD 2000 Team Members: Alicia Bracamonte Victor Ablan Kyle Delfin Special Prize: “Golden Girl” University of Southern California Prize: USD 1000 Team Members: Ben Ragasa Maddie Wu Special Prize: “Homenaje a Lucho Bermúdez” Universidad de los Andes Prize: USD 1000 Team Members: Gabriel Collazos Didier González Miguel Ángel Hoyos Jhon Jerez Sergio Meneses Ian Middlenton David Pérez Manuel Pinto Santiago Prada Valeria Rocha Andrés Sabogal
August 5, 2020more
APRU-IRIDeS Multi-Hazards Virtual Summer School 2020
Due to the impact of COVID-19, the 8th edition of APRU-IRIDeS Multi-Hazards Summer School had to be held virtually. Through a zoom platform, three sessions were held on July 15, 22, and 29 (JST). The event aimed to share the experiences and lessons learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (GEJET), learn from the experiences in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and risk management from various stakeholders, and understand the latest international disaster science research conducted by the researchers globally. Total 842 people worldwide have attended the sessions. View the program and report here. View the speakers’ information here. Read a blog from our students who joined the summer school from Nanyang Technological University.
August 3, 2020more
USC-based Global Health Program highlights interdisciplinary collaboration in the time of coronavirus
By Laura Lambert The program, part of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, is rooted in collaboration, communication and education. originally published in USC News In the shadow of the United States leaving the World Health Organization, and amid rising international tensions, the work of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Global Health Program, which is housed at USC, is a welcome meeting of the minds, rooted in collaboration and communication, education, rather than politics, sharing, rather than blame. Associate Professor Mellissa Withers of the Keck School of Medicine of USC has been the director of the APRU Global Health Program since 2013. And when the coronavirus pandemic hit, Withers realized it was the perfect time for the conversations at the heart of her program to reach a wider audience. “As this was all starting, I thought, we’re in global health — this is us,” says Withers. “To be able to disseminate the work of the network is impactful.” The pandemic as the great equalizer In May, the APRU Global Health Program hosted a webinar, bringing together five of the leading minds within the network – from Australia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Mexico and Ecuador – to grapple with the most pressing questions in bioethics, from how best to distribute scarce resources to the role that outdated notions of aging play in managing COVID-19. More than 1,000 members from across the Americas, Asia and Australasia signed up – far more than 350 or so members who typically take part in the group’s annual conference. The influx of new participants made a real impression on Christopher Tremewan, PhD, the APRU Secretary General, based in Hong Kong. “This first APRU Global Health webinar also highlighted a key benefit of virtual platforms in helping to reduce disparities in access to information and training for people in middle-income countries who would likely not be able to attend international conferences in person,” he said. Withers agrees, saying, “There is an interest and need.” There was a need, too, to make the webinars more than just a one-way conversation. “We allowed time for questions, versus just listening to somebody, not being able to interact,” says Withers. “We intentionally did that.” After the webinar, members in Singapore and the Philippines sent in additional guidelines for health care workers, further disseminating information in a way that reflects the collaborative nature of the APRU network. “It’s not just an opportunity to talk about bioethics,” says Withers. The webinars provide a way to practice the kind of cross-cultural work that is at the cornerstone of global health. Promoting international conversations in an increasingly global world Connecting across borders and time zones requires certain cross-cultural competencies, not to mention technical logistics – and the APRU Global Health Program webinar was not the first time members have been able to hone such skills. Since 2015, APRU Global Health has also hosted for-credit graduate-level distance education courses on the topics of leadership and ethics, where students and faculty from at least three research universities from across the Pacific Rim come together to investigate and discuss of-the-moment topics from a variety of cultural vantage points. Says Withers, “It’s building the skills they will need in the future.” For USC students who have taken part, the courses have been transformative. Louis Litsas, a lab manager in Toronto who earned his MPH from USC in May, credits the Global Health Leadership course with developing his cultural sensitivity and listening skills. “It was an evolution of my global eyes,” he says. “The COVID experience has shown me that the global perspective is what my vision has to be in the future. It can’t be local anymore.” For Bethany Deford, who took the APRU Global Health Ethics in Research and Practice course in the fall as an elective for her MPH program, the cross-cultural conversations made a huge difference when, after graduation, she returned to work as a traveling nurse in the midst of the pandemic. Ethics were always at the forefront in the ICU, Deford explains, especially as traditional hospital practices were up-ended in the midst of the health care disaster. “It was a lot of preserving dignity and patients’ rights,” she says, of the work she strove to do. And for Diana Dimapindan, who also took the ethics course, the interdisciplinary nature of the course was key. “I’m a policy student,” she explains. “There were lawyers in the class, physicians in the class, and soon-to-be public health policy makers. I think that broad range of students perspectives is what made it so meaningful. And it’s amazing, logistically, that it even works, having all those countries dialing in.” The conversation continues Bioethics was just the first of APRU Global Health Program’s coronavirus-related webinars. In June, a series of eight additional webinars, co-hosted by the APRU Global Health Program and USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health, kicked off, grappling with on COVID-19 and how it intersects with, for instance, mental health, environmental health or human rights. “We can look at COVID-19 from many different aspects,” says Withers. “We need engineers, anthropologists, lawyers, psychologists. It’s not just medicine and public health professionals.” The goal of the conversation, then, is to be both international and interdisciplinary – and now, more than ever, students, researchers and faculty around the Pacific Rim are primed for this kind of conversation. “Luckily, people who weren’t paying attention to global health before are interested in what we’ve been talking about,” says Withers. “There’s a general shift in sentiment — and a new appreciation for the importance of the work we do.”
June 25, 2020more
Collaboration, technology and global health policy
By By Peggy McInerny, Director of Communications, UCLA A group of Bruins minoring in the global health met during the APRU Global Health Student Case Competition. They are now planning careers in the field. The APRU Global Health Student Case Competition gives students an opportunity to practice critical-thinking and problem-solving skills to help solve global health challenges. The competition has brought together young and creative teams of university students to tackle many pressing global health problems with out-of-the-box ideas in helping to facilitate real changes in society. Originally published by UCLA International Institute. UCLA International Institute, April 9, 2020 — UCLA students today have an enviable capacity to use multiple communication methods simultaneously when collaborating on a project. It is a skill that will serve them well in the coming months, as all UCLA courses continue remotely due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.The “Gamechangers Team,” a group of global health minors who designed a social media–based health intervention and produced a video about it, have a unique view on the value of communications technology in global health. Over the course of roughly six weeks in spring 2019, six undergraduates (two of whom have since graduated) met once a week in person, exchanged ideas regularly via a smart phone chat room and shared research on project components via Google Docs.The students came together to participate in the annual Global Health Case Competition of the APRU (Association of Pacific Rim Universities), whose 2019 challenge was: “Social Networking Intervention to Promote Physical Activity among Young People in Urban Environments.” The team was comprised of Julia Houshmand (UCLA 2020, molecular, cell, and developmental biology), Franklin Leung (UCLA 2019, microbiology, immunology & molecular genetics), Vera Ong (UCLA 2020, psychobiology), Rene Rosas (UCLA 2019, international development studies), Wendy Tang (UCLA 2021, economics) and Sahej Verma (UCLA 2020, global studies). “I remember that [student counselors] Katie Osterkamp and Magda Yamamoto said, ‘You will be competing with medical students and Ph.D. students.’ — And I thought, ‘Great!’” said Julia Houshmand ironically. “I remember watching some of the past videos — we were very intimidated,” said Vera Ong. “But we just gave it our best shot.” That best shot won the Gamechangers team a place among the three finalists — the first time a UCLA team had placed in this APRU competition. (Bruins have won and placed in several APRU health poster competitions in the past). Building on one another’s ideas and skills The team eventually designed a campus-based intervention that would use competitions between individuals, colleges and professional schools of UCLA (and with other universities in Los Angeles) to build community, increase physical activity and encourage healthier eating. One key idea was to showcase star UCLA athletes interested in pursuing careers in fitness by livestreaming their workouts. Although the International Institute was set to cover the students’ travel costs to attend the 13th APRU Global Health Conference last November, the conference was eventually cancelled due to demonstrations in Hong Kong. In the end, the UCLA team came in third. Surprisingly, the students were remarkably upbeat about the outcome, stressing they had learned so much from the collaborative process. “We went into this not to win the competition, but because we wanted to,” said Houshmand. “It sounded like something that was fun and interesting.” “Stressful, but fun!” added Ong, noting that the team developed their case on a compressed timeline that ran into spring quarter finals. “It was interesting how we all came up with the idea. It wasn’t just one person. Honestly, it was all of us sitting on Kerckhoff Patio and using the Socratic Method, asking: ‘What about this?’ ‘No, no, no, no.’ ‘What about this?’” said Ong. As they progressed, the students divided up research and tasks such as budgeting the hypothetical funding. Franklin Leung, a runner, suggested that the intervention use a Strava application to measure physical activity. He also ended up editing the final case video. “We wanted to create an intervention where people would actually have discussions about exercising together, eating healthier foods and so on,” explained Verma. “We set it up in a competition environment so that if, for example, I and Julia were roommates, we could compete with one another to see how we are doing. The goal was to use those friendly elements to live healthier lives.” A shared interest in global health policy The team members are deeply interested in the social determinants of health, equitable access to health care and health policy. Whether pre-med students, future economists or future health activists, their educations and career goals were a great fit with the video project. Houshmand, for example, is a pre-med senior whose interest in global health was sparked by significant travel and the experience of living between France and the United States for most of her life. “The two countries have very different medical systems,” she remarked. “My classmates in both countries came from a lot of different backgrounds, including refugees and people who were undocumented, and on the other hand, people from the highest levels of society,” she continued. “So I saw a lot of these differences, not just at the level of health, but at the level of access to health care.” “Since I became interested in medicine, I’ve always seen it in a global framework,” explained Houshmand. “When I started taking classes in my global health minor, I realized that I love thinking of solutions and interventions for a health issue not just from a biological standpoint, but also taking into account the historical context, the cultural context, the political climate, etc.” Ong also has significant experience in two countries, having been born in the Philippines before moving to Silicon Valley at a young age. She subsequently traveled frequently to see family in the Philippines. “What really got me into global health was growing up watching my uncle, who is a general surgeon there, serve his community,” she remarked. “Similar to Julia [Houshmand],” she adds, “I have experience of different health care systems and have seen that same lack of access to care,” she adds. Both her interest in global health and her volunteer work in the UCLA chapter of Global Medical Training (2018–2020) deepened her intellectual engagement with health policy. For example, she joined the Health Equity Network of the Americas, where she helped organized international conferences that address topics such as universal health, gender inequality in health access and immigrant health. Doctor in provincial hospital in Bulacan, Philippines. (Photo: ILO Asia-Pacific via Flickr). CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Ong, who plans to become a doctor, eventually came to evaluate potential medical schools partly on the basis of whether they incorporated courses on global and public health in their curricula. “That is a big factor for me in choosing a medical school and in what I want to do in the future,” she said. Houshmand, who is also going to medical school, shook her head in agreement. Verma approaches health policy from a social development perspective, but with insider knowledge of health care — he comes from a family of doctors. An internship for a pharmaceutical lobbying group in Geneva, plus subsequent biotech work experience, helped him define a health policy career direction. Specifically, he seeks to combine health policy with new therapeutic and diagnostic technologies to achieve better health outcomes. To do so successfully, however, requires effective communication. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with a few health economists in the Fielding School of Public Health,” he said, “and I’ve seen how they work to communicate the value of therapeutics and life sciences products to different policy makers to help them devise solutions that will both improve people’s lives and health outcomes.” COVID-19 and its impacts The COVID-19 pandemic has, if anything, increased the interest of the Gamechangers team in global health policy. The race to develop a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infections, for example, directly bears on Verma’s senior thesis. The global studies senior, now an undergraduate research fellow, is researching the role of Indian pharmaceutical manufacturers in developing vaccines against diseases of poverty that are prevalent in low- and middle-income countries. Verma may, in fact, temporarily delay plans to pursue a Ph.D. in health policy and economics so that he can work for the Indian ministry of health as it develops the regulatory infrastructure to speed the development of safe, efficacious and affordable pharmaceuticals. The pandemic is a wake-up call for the United States, said Verma. “Whether it is the inequitable distribution of materials — think therapeutic tools (vaccines), sanitary equipment (masks), life-saving infrastructure (protocols for medical staff in hospitals) or social rigidities (young people not following social distancing norms, while older folks are scared to shop for essential groceries and medicines) — America needs to rethink where its priorities lie as a society,” he continued. An image of the global pandemic in the shape of a COVID-19 molecule. (Image by Miroslava Chrienova courtesy of Pixabay.) “Post–COVID-19 will be a time not only to reconstruct infrastructure, but also to reconcile a communal attitude with productivity arguments,” he remarked. The UCLA student believes that the pandemic will lead many young people to study health policy in order “to challenge existing rationales about mechanisms of healthcare in the USA.” Ong has been struck by how much the pandemic has highlighted pre-existing flaws in public and global health policy. “It exposed just how much our current systems were unprepared for a pandemic such as this, and how much we need to improve as global and local communities,” she commented. “COVID-19 definitely shows the importance of global communication, teamwork and transparency, as well as the importance of forming pre-planned protocols to minimize potential consequences,” she said. Ong, who is currently working with the UCLA Learning Assistants Program to help professors navigate Zoom and better engage their students remotely, is seeing firsthand how time-efficient and useful such interactions can be. “With an increased focus on telemedicine, I can see similar benefits within the medical field,” she said. “By decreasing overall waiting time and providing more scheduling flexibility, telehealth could encourage patients to be more active in consulting physicians overall, increasing doctor-patient interaction and treating illnesses early.” Verma also believes that one outcome of the pandemic will be a revival of doctor-patient interaction. Yet the barriers to effective telemedicine remain significant, with equitable access to communications technologies at the top of the list. “The COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting the gaps in communications infrastructure, with restricted broadband speeds amid increased usage,” he pointed out. How regulators and the government support the adoption of these technologies will be the true litmus test of their efficacy in serving community health needs, insisted Verma. Ong points to additional barriers that must be addressed before telehealth can become a reality, including lack of technological literacy among physicians and patients, hacking dangers and lack of a robust protocol. As for the immediate future, Ong — like Houshmand — heads off to medical school in the fall. Verma will begin working as a research assistant at University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. Expect these Bruins to make their mark on global health policy in the coming decades. Published: Thursday, April 9, 2020
May 18, 2020more
2020 Healthy Women/Healthy Economies Research Prize Application Open Through May 2020
The APEC “Healthy Women, Healthy Economies” (HWHE) has found that sex-disaggregated data and gender based research and analysis is lacking. Policy makers, business leaders and others do not have adequate data and evidence to draw from to identify gender-specific interventions appropriate for their economies and organizations. To spotlight and spur much-needed data and evidence, Chile, along with Merck’s support, has created an annual prize recognizing research that enables policy makers, business leaders, and others to identify and implement measures to improve women’s health in APEC economies so women can join and rise in the workforce. Dr. Mellissa Withers, Director of the APRU Global Health Program, was chosen to be one of the judges of this contest in 2019. Prize The winner of the prize will win USD $20,000, while the 2 runners-up will win USD $5,000 each. If the winner or runner up is from government then the prize money will be given instead to HealthyWomen (a women’s health not-for-profit). Alternatively, the winner or runners-up may designate a not-for-profit entity to receive the prize money. Please attribute the research to all involved in its making, but only one individual may be nominated and eligible to receive the prize money and present the research. Eligibility In order to be considered for this prize, individuals must submit an original piece of research that is no older than two years of age as of January 1, 2020. All are welcome to apply; you do not require a background in academia in order to be considered. However, the research must be evidence based. Furthermore, the research must be submitted in English. If the research was not originally written in English please have it professionally translated. Application Materials Application (**Please use this for applying. Send completed version to [email protected]**) APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Application Form APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Prize Flyer For more information, please visit the APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies website. Contact [email protected] for any questions.
April 8, 2020more
Asia-Pacific Mayors Academy concludes first cohort
The Asia-Pacific Mayors Academy for Sustainable Urban Development successfully completed its first cohort with its third session held February 9-11 at the World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi. Twelve mayors participated in sessions on financing, project bankability, and frontier technologies for sustainable urban development. The Mayors Academy was launched jointly in October 2019 by APRU, UN ESCAP, UN-Habitat, the United Nations University’s Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), United Cities and Local Governments Asia-Pacific (UCLG ASPAC), and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) to assist newly-elected and newly-appointed city leaders in the Asia-Pacific region to promote sustainable urban development. APRU is a member on the academy advisory board and supported the delivery of the inaugural cohort. APRU experts engaged in APRU’s Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Program (SCL) contributed to the overall curricular development as well as the academy’s Boot Camp on Urban Management. “The outcome of traditional urban planning is often too narrow or too grand in scope, ineffective, imbalanced, and exclusionary,” said Yizhao Yang, SCL Hub steering committee member and associate professor at the University of Oregon’s School of Planning, Public Policy and Management, who developed the curriculum’s Sustainable Urban Planning part. “By contrast, vision-driven sustainable urban planning can create sustainable, healthy, and economically vibrant cities that deliver a high quality of life to residents,” she added. The Academy’s third session involved mayors presenting real case studies of their own cities and their initial concepts applying key learnings. Cities covered were Sipalay and Bauang (Philippines), Nili and Kabul (Afganistan), and Tawau (Malaysia). Guest presentations were delivered by the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, United World Infrastructure, Gateway Global LLP, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the International Society of City and Regional Planners, Cisco Systems, ADB, World Bank, Habitat for Humanity International, and Mastercard City Next. The Academy’s preceding two sessions took place at the Asia-Pacific Urban Forum in Malaysia’s Penang in October 2019 and the UN Conference Centre in Thailand’s Bangkok in December 2019 respectively.
April 3, 2020more
APRU Sustainable Cities & Landscapes Experts Develop Curricula for Asia Pacific Mayors’ Academy
The Asia Pacific Mayors Academy for Sustainable Urban Development successfully completed its Component II. Held December 2-5 in Bangkok, Thailand, Component II comprised Module III — How is my city growing?; Module IV — How to finance sustainable cities?; and Module V – Who governs the city? The Asia Pacific Mayors Academy was launched jointly in October by APRU, UN ESCAP, UN-Habitat, the United Nations University’s Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), United Cities and Local Governments Asia-Pacific (UCLG ASPAC), and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) to assist newly-elected and newly-appointed city leaders in the Asia-Pacific region to promote sustainable urban development. The task of informing urban leaders is increasingly pressing due to the rapid pace of urbanization in most of the Asia Pacific cities. Indeed, the decisions made by today’s Asia Pacific city mayors and governors are set to determine whether the aspirations of the global development agendas, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Climate Agreement, and the New Urban Agenda, can be achieved. “Experts from APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Program have been engaged in developing specific content in relation to key topics such as sustainable urban development and planning, green finance, and sustainable governance, and we are delighted that they delivered key sessions at the Mayors Academy Component II meeting,” said APRU’s Director of Policy & Programs Christina Schönleber. “APRU is proud to be a major partner of the Mayors Academy, and we are looking forward to the next meeting at the World Urban Forum in February in Abu Dhabi,” she added. Module III focused on elements related to managing urban growth through urban and territorial planning in an inclusive and participatory manner. Participants discussed the implications of population shifts and economic growth on urban sprawl, informal settlements, resource use, and land value. They also considered the implications of climate change, with a focus on building cities’ resilience to disaster risks, including the use of nature-based approaches. Module IV explored topics such as enhancing cities’ own source revenue, public private partnerships, and structuring finance for infrastructure programs via a discussion of various case studies. Module V started with an analysis of power relations within urban contexts and went on to explore the imperatives of improved vertical and horizontal integration. Component II was completed with the “Planning Next Steps” session in which the participating city mayors and governors presented their revised initiatives based on the insights developed in Modules III-V. The participating city leaders expressed that they now have a clear plan for their next steps and to begin preparations for their participation at the 2020 World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi.
January 6, 2020more
APRU Global Health Program advisory group leader launches new journal
APRU congratulates Dr. Juhwan Oh, a long-standing member of the APRU Global Health Program’s advisory group, for the successful launch of the Journal of Global Health Science (JGHS). The open-access, peer-reviewed international online journal officially published by the Korean Society of Global Health advances research to support policy, practice, and education in the field of global health by publishing papers of high scientific quality from diverse stakeholders in the global health community. JGHS’s focus is on under-served populations in the low- and middle-income nations and marginalized groups within otherwise prosperous nations. As a reflection of the successful start, JGHS will turn to quarterly publication this year, from biannually during the inaugural year 2019. APRU sees JGHS as playing an important role. Although unparalleled improvements in living conditions, poverty reduction, and life expectancies were made in the last century, many more global challenges lie ahead, including aging, urbanization, migration, environmental degradation, rising rates of chronic diseases, as well as social and economic inequalities. “Confronting the health challenges of our modern world requires challenging conventional wisdom with new ideas that reflect the changing global landscape; the launch of JGHS is an important step in advancing global health by creating a platform to share and debate scholarly research from around the world,” said Dr. Mellissa Withers, Director, APRU Global Health Program. “I am pleased to see that the focus of the JGHS is under-served populations in low- and middle-income economies and marginalized groups in high-income economies, and I am certain that JGHS will expand the opportunity to share high quality scientific work through an open-access format,” she added. JGHS places special focus on the following topics: reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child, and adolescent health; infectious diseases, including neglected tropical diseases; non-communicable diseases including cancer and mental health; injury; humanitarian aid; nutrition; universal health coverage; health law; global health workforce; health systems; surgery; health technologies; people centeredness; and health policy. The journal specially aims to focus on interconnecting diverse key stakeholders: community leaders; national and local members of parliament; national and local health officials; professionals from academic institutions; non-state actors; clinical and laboratory experts; and multilateral and bilateral agency officials. The scope of JGHS accommodates diverse styles of submissions including Original Research Articles, Review Articles, Short Research Notes, Editorial, Comments, and Letters from Field. Special niches within JGHS include articles on scientific program evaluation as well as any debating comments on official development aid.
December 15, 2019more
Upgrade needed for universities’ workplace wellness programs, new APRU survey shows
APRU Global Health Program released its latest report on Workplace Wellness (WW) finding that although many universities have implemented a range of programs designed to promote employee health and well-being, these programs are often not designed in a strategic or comprehensive way. The report was initiated at the Global Health Conference 2016, a special workshop on workplace wellness was held on the first day of the conference. A Sydney Statement on Employee Health and Well-being was announced and called on our universities to fulfil the responsibility to their employee’s health and well-being. Responding to this call, the report is based on an online survey conducted by the APRU Global Health Program (GHP) and completed by 29 universities in 13 Asia-Pacific economies in 2018. The survey aimed to assess the range and scope of employee health and wellness programs at universities in the Asia-Pacific; evaluate gaps and challenges; and facilitate the crafting of recommendations. “We identified a number of innovative and successful workplace wellness programs that our member universities offer, such as fitness challenges and health screenings, but programs relating to mental health, violence, and smoking cessation are especially lacking,” Prof Mellissa Withers of USC says. “The results demonstrate that the main perceived challenge of workplace wellness programs is lack of employee participation,” she adds. The survey suggests that participation suffers from a lack of protected time for employees to engage in WW programs. It also found that few universities offered financial rewards (such as discounts for health insurance or salary bonuses) for employees who have healthy lifestyles. The report moreover cited universities’ insufficient usage of social media or mobile phone messaging to disseminate health information to employees. Among the commendable case studies highlighted are The University of Hong Kong’s Walking Challenge, which entails a goal number of steps for the HKU community to walk together. In October 2018, the challenge expanded to involve over 1,500 people from more than 17 countries and amassed 463,447,412 steps—equivalent to walking 7 times around the world. Another case study is the Domestic Violence Support Policy by The University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney, which supports members who are directly or indirectly experiencing domestic violence, including by offering paid domestic violence leave of up to 10 days. The University of Southern California, for its part, offers an attractive reward scheme for smoking cessation, with staff and faculty who do not use tobacco or commit to enroll in a tobacco cessation program receiving a $25 reduction per month in paycheck contributions for their medical plan. Download the report >> The APRU Global Health Program, launched in 2007, is hosted by the University of Southern California and is led by Program Director, Professor Mellissa Withers. By facilitating collaboration and enhancing regional dialogue, the APRU Global Health Program works to bridge health divides, promoting and protecting population health and meeting shared health challenges.
December 13, 2019more
UNU-IAS and Partners Launch Asia-Pacific Mayors Academy
Published in United Nations University, Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability UNU-IAS, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), UN-Habitat and other partners have launched the Mayors Academy for Sustainable Urban Development in the Asia-Pacific, a new initiative to create and support a network of local leaders who will be committed to sustainable urban development in the region. The academy provides participating mayors with tools, strategies, and models to improve their capacity to achieve the SDGs in their constituencies, through appropriate city planning and management approaches. It fosters exchange, peer-learning, and cooperation between city leaders to enhance their leadership capacity, and provides a framework for short- to medium-term planning and action towards adoption of more sustainable development pathways. The academy comprises training sessions and ongoing peer-learning, and is organised in collaboration with the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), and the United Cities and Local Governments-Asia Pacific (UCLG-ASPAC). Launched on 15 October 2019 at the Asia-Pacific Urban Forum in Penang, Malaysia, the academy will run until December 2020. In February 2020 participating mayors will present proposed work plans at the World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi. Background In 2015, UN Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This agenda and its seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are designed to put the world on a path towards a more sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future. On the current trajectory, it is estimated to be difficult for Asia and the Pacific to achieve any of the 17 SDGs by 2030. Accelerated progress is required on all fronts. It is crucial that local governments are enabled to contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. For example, local ownership needs to be fostered to ensure support for this transformative action plan. Moreover, transformative local implementation is dependent on the availability of sufficient knowledge, capacities, resources and appropriate multi-level governance arrangements. In addition to translating the SDGs and their targets into concrete local policies, actions and programmes, it is important for local governments to develop appropriate follow-up and review processes to track progress on implementation. As most of the projected urban growth in Asia and the Pacific will occur in intermediate cities, their role will continue to expand, with the mayors of these cities and other subnational authorities quickly emerging as potential leaders to promote sustainable urbanization throughout the region. In this context, the Mayors Academy will mainly target mayors, especially those who are newly-elected or appointed, to provide better access to information, greater awareness of regional resources, and a support network to assist in the acceleration of urban sustainability initiatives. UNU-IAS is engaged in this initiative as part of its Governance for Sustainable Development (GSD) project, which addresses the policymaking processes and governance structures needed for achieving the SDGs.
October 15, 2019more
Cities and Refugees – 2019 Global Student Design Ideas Competition
By the end of 2017, around 68.5 million people were forcibly displaced, about half of which were children. Of this figure, over 25 million people escape to other countries, and as a result become refugees. Most refugees do not live in camps – forced displacement is now an urban phenomenon which creates a range of challenges. To address this global challenge, the Cities and Refugee Student Design Competition was hosted by the Rapid Urbanisation Grand Challenge at UNSW Sydney, with Australian Red Cross, ARUP International Development, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the APRU – Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Program Hub (APRU SCL). The opening night of the APRU SCL Conference 2019 at UNSW Sydney featured a public keynote address from Brett Moore, Head of Shelter and Settlements at UNHCR. His talk titled “Cities & Refugees: Complexity and Conflict: how can we deliver inclusive and sustainable urban development in challenging contexts?” served as a prelude for the announcement of the competition winners. Twenty-eight entries from fifteen economies took the challenge. We thank all judges for the incredibly difficult task of choosing the winners. Find out the challenge here. Prize winners 1st place (AUS$5000) Merapatkan Selayang: A Bridging Intervention for Social Integration Yale-NUS College Lucy Madeline Davis, Sharan Kaur Sambhi, Ernest Tan Sze Shen, and Nguyen Ngoc Luu Ly Physical Sciences (Chemistry), Anthropology, Urban Studies, and Urban Studies 2nd place (AUS$2500) Welcome to the Agora Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et de Paysage de Bordeaux & Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Strasbourg Cécile Elbel & Ipek Erker 3rd place (AUS$1000) Threshold Conditions UNSW Sydney Samuel Jones Masters of Architecture Honorable mentions University of Auckland Dennis Byun, Angela Lai, Harry Tse, Todd Min, Sungoh Choi, John Woo, Scott Ma, and Jingyuan Huang Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) representing Portal Studio Project title: Train-sition Shahid Beheshti University Solmaz Arzhangi, Sara Arzhangi, and Narges Rajaeipour Post-disaster reconstruction in architecture and urban study, Master of Architectural engineering and Master of Architectural engineering Project title: Towards a New Life University of Technology Sydney Allan Soo Project title: Case Study: Sydney
September 10, 2019more
Sustainable Urban Development Mayors Fellowship
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) – in cooperation with the United Nations University- Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), and the United Cities and Local Governments-Asia Pacific (UCLG-ASPAC) – invite newly elected or appointed city mayors/governors in the Asia-Pacific region to join the Mayors’ Academy for Sustainable Urban Development. The deadline for submission is August 23, 2019. [Objectives] This fellowship is to create and support a network of local leaders and mayors in Asia-Pacific committed to sustainable urban development through annual weekly intensive “boot camp” and ongoing peer-learning. The expert-formed academy will: Develop capacity to increase the leaders’ ability to address urban sustainability issues; Assist mayors to become knowledgeable of cities’ contributions to climate and sustainable development goals (SDGs) and targets to strengthen commitment to global development; Increase the use of sustainable urban development tools, resources and technical solutions by newly-elected mayors in the region, as well as city-to-city cooperation opportunities; Facilitate and strengthen the regional resources available to mayors and local authorities in support of the implementation of sustainable urban development; Establish a network of informed mayors and local leaders to serve as regional advocates for sustainable urban development in support of global development agendas. [Eligibility] A newly-elected or appointed mayor/governor, typically in the first third of the term. Must commit to attending the training sessions on October 15-17 at Penang, in December 2019 at Bangkok, and tenth session of the World Urban Forum in February 2020 at United Arab Emirates. Selected candidates’ expenses will be paid. [Deadline & Contact] Find out more information on the website. Fill in an application form and submit it by August 23, 2019. For application-related clarifications, applicants can write to [email protected] with copy to [email protected]
August 5, 2019more
APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize 2019
The inaugural APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize is now accepting applications for outstanding research that strives to improve women’s health, economic well being, and inclusive growth. The winning entry will receive USD $20,000 and two runners-up will receive USD $5,000 each. Theme The prize aims to highlight and spur the creation of sex-disaggregated data and gender-based research that will help decision-makers make more evidence-based policies to improve the lives of women and strengthen the regional economy. Based on The Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Policy Toolkit, the five research topics are: workplace health and safety health awareness and access sexual and reproductive health gender-based violence work/ life balance Requirement Individuals must submit an original piece of research that is no older than two years as of January 1, 2019. Applicants may be individuals or teams (with one leader listed) who are from an APEC economy. No academic background required. The research must be evidence-based and addresses at least one of the topics outlined in the toolkit. The research must be submitted in English. Find out the full list of requirements. Must be an APEC member economy. Submission & Deadline To submit your application form, click here. The deadline to submit applications is July 5, 2019. Prize The winner of the prize will win USD $20,000, while the 2 runners-up will win USD $5,000 each. If the winner or runner up is from government then the prize money will be given instead to NGOs. See details here. The top three finalists will have the opportunity to present their research to members of the APEC Women and the Economy Forum in La Serena, Chile. The prize winner will be announced at the annual Women Leaders’ APEC Roundtable during the 2019 APEC CEO Summit in Santiago, Chile in November 2019. APEC CEO Summit is Asia-Pacific’s most influential meeting of business and government leaders. Contact For more information, please visit the APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies website. Contact [email protected] with any questions.
May 6, 2019more
APRU Inaugural Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Design Field School
Thirteen selected international students from APRU’s member universities participated in a two-week design field school in Indonesia led by HKU faculty staff and local partners, from August 27 to September 9, prior to the commencement of 2018 APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Conference. The school explored the uncertain landscape complexities, caused by urbanization, through examining a recent study that focused on the rapid modernization of landscapes and communities in East Java. A group presentation was given by the students during the conference’s dinner, addressing topics on eco-tourism, Gundih village, and marine debris in Indonesia. See travel blogs from Stuart and Mayeesha who just came back from the trip. Find out more about the field school here.
September 27, 2018more
Winners of 2018 Global Health Student Poster Contest
The winners of the APRU Global Health Program Conference Student Poster Contest 2018 emerged from 36 excellent submissions from students from 10 economies. They were judged by APRU Global Health Advisory Group members. The winners are: UNDERGRADUATE 1st Place: Anak Agung Diyananda Paramita (Warmadewa University) 2nd Place: Bonardo Hasiholan (University of Indonesia) 3rd Place: Megan Ren, Jason Zhang, Rishi Makkar, Nicolas Gonzalez, Mili Patel (University of California, Los Angeles) GRADUATE 1st Place: Mengge Han (Fudan University) 2nd Place: Jocelyn Dracakis (The University of Sydney) 3rd Place: Sarah Lawrence, Betty Nguyen, Jacqueline Pei (University of California, Los Angeles) The 1st prize winners in each category will receive a USD$100 gift card during the awards ceremony at the annual APRU Global Health conference 2018 which is going to be hosted by University of Malaya on October 28-30, 2018. All student posters will also be presented at the conference.
September 3, 2018more
Finalists entries for the 2016 Global Health Case Competition
For this year’s inaugural APRU Global Health Program Case Competition student teams were encouraged to consider a balance of innovative yet realistic, evidence-based solutions for the competition challenge Preparing Pacific Rim Countries for Natural Disasters’. The plot created for this case study is fictional and bears no direct reflection to any existing organisation or individual and was created exclusively for use in the 2016 APRU Global Health Case Competition. Any reuse, reproduction, or distribution of this case material must be approved by the USC Institute for Global Health or APRU. For questions, please contact Mellissa Withers at [email protected] Here are the videos of the winning team, Our Lady of Fatima University and the finalist teams from Tohoku University and Kyoto University: Winning Team: Our Lady of Fatima University Finalist Teams: Tohoku University and Kyoto University (L-R)
November 30, 2016more