Stating that both the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) put together have over a hundred years of work in the region, MRC Chief Executive Officer Mr. Hans Guttman remarked that AIT is a regional resource which MRC should draw upon to benefit from its geographical proximity.
In a visit to AIT, an eight-member strong MRC delegation sought to
reestablish its strong linkage with the five-decade old Institute. The
delegation included many alumni from AIT, including the MRC Chief who
studied at AIT, and later headed the Wetlands Alliance Program (WAP) at
the Institute. Mr. Guttman informed that MRC serves the Mekong River
countries catering to almost 60 million people. The Commission is
divided into four division and 12 programs intended to help achieve an
economically prosperous, socially just and environmentally sound Mekong
Welcoming the delegation at AIT, the Institute President Prof. Said
Irandoust said that since January 2012, AIT has become an International
Organization. AIT’s work has been in lines of its Strategy 2013, and it
has worked on strengthening AIT’s quality. “AIT has launched innovative
professional programs and has worked on capacity building issues
through its outreach programs,” he added. The Institute has also
created institute level knowledge dissemination centers including the
ASEAN Regional Center of Excellence for Millennium Development Goals
(ARCMDG), Yunus Center, CSR Asia Center, and AIT Consulting. The
Institute is also active in capacity building efforts in Afghanistan,
Myanmar, Timor Leste and Iraq.
Dr. Sandro Calvani, Director, ARCMDG briefed the delegation about the
activities on his Center. Prof. Sivanappan Kumar elaborated on AIT’s
research which revolves around the concept of Sustainable Development
in the Context of Climate Change (SDCC). He highlighted that a major
part of AIT’s research activity is focused on five thematic areas of
Disaster Risk Management, Sustainable Land and Water Resources
Management, Business and Innovation Models for a Green Economy, Urban
and Rural Quality of Life and Sustainability, and Low Carbon and
Sustainable Production and Consumption Technologies and Management.
Prof. Mukand Singh Babel spoke about Asian Water Research and Education
(AWARE) Center and water-related activities at AIT. Later Dr. Faiz
Shah, Head, Development Management, AIT Extension spoke about the Yunus
The MRC delegation included Mr. Sourasay Phoumavong, Director,
Technical Support Division (TSD); Mr. Phetsamone Southalack, Natural
Resource Management Scientist, Basin Development Plan Programme (BDP);
Dr. Ly Thim, Social Science Programme Office, Environment Division; Mr.
Itaru Minami of Agriculture and Irrigation Programme; Ms. Le Thi Mai
Huong, representative of Integrated Capacity Building Programme (IKMP);
Mr. Heng Suthy, Remote Sensing Specialist, Information and Knowledge
Management Programme (IKMP): and Dr. Lam Hung Son, Coordinator of Flood
Management and Mitigation Programme (FFMP). The delegation held group
discussions at various units in AIT.
Among those who attended the meeting included Prof. I. M. Pandey, Vice
President for Academic Affairs; Dr. Mokbul Morshed Ahmad, Associate
Dean, School of Environment, Resources and Development (SERD); Dr. Lal
Samarakoon, Director, Geoinformatics Center (GIC); Dr. Siddharth K.
Jabade, AIT's Director of Innovation and Intellectual Property Rights;
Mr. Zakir Hossain, Head, Agriculture, Resources and Environment, AIT
Extension; Mr. Ahmed Amjad Ali, Head, External Relations and
Communications Office (ERCO); Ms. Wannapa Pliansri, Coordinator, ERCO;
and Mr. Amandeep Singh Sangha, Senior Program Officer, SDCC.