By Nitipol Kiravanich
September 9th, 2021 — The 5th International Conference on Nation-Building (ICNB) 2021, held online for two consecutive days (from September 8th to September 9th) amidst the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the session ‘Enhancing International Cooperation for Long-term Crisis Recovery and Nation-Building’, AIT President Dr. Eden Woon along with prolific panelists from the government agencies, academics, and private sectors including the representative of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Don Pramudwinai; Vice Minister H.E. Dr. Vijavat Isarabhakdi; Prof. Dr. Suthiphand Chirathivat; Executive Director of the Central Group, Chairman of Chula Global Network, and Director of ASEAN Studies Center of Chulalongkorn University in Thailand; Prominent Venture Capitalist Ms. Rina Neoh, who is also Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Ficus Venture Capital in Malaysia, shared their perspectives revolving around the issue — highlighting collaboration is fundamental in the global recovery.
In addition, two AIT faculty members Dr. Yuosre Badir from the School of Management (SOM), and Dr. Mokbul Ahmad from the Development Planning Management and Innovation program of the School of Environment, Resources and Development (SERD) also chaired two important sessions on economic and social matters on ‘Innovative Strategies for Crisis Recovery and Nation-Building’ in which four of AIT students have participated in the discussion.
AIT President Dr. Eden Woon encouraged participants on internationalization, as well as, in the geo-politics aspect which contributes to globalization. Dr. Woon stipulated ASEAN and Southeast Asian countries are encountered with global economic and climate challenges which invoke wide implications on technology, trade, and supply chain, together with education which determines technology and knowledge advancement in the future. Moreover, The AIT President later shared initiatives taken by AIT and its global partners to maintain international cooperation, such as providing Organization Quarantine (OQ), Hybrid Instruction, Dual Degrees, longer research collaboration, to name but a few. From an educational point of view, Dr. Woon stated “I submit that the universities are, probably at this point, the key players in currents of maintaining the internationalization and rebuilding internationalization,” said Dr. Woon.
Another globally recognized panelist, H.E. Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Thailand, was represented by his representative Vice Minister H.E. Dr. Vijavat Isarabhakdi. Dr. Isarabhakdi stressed the Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy as conceptualized economic model to bolster Thailand 4.0 policy as a strategy to drive economic and social development. On a national level, the government is now aimed to incentivize SMEs, and startups by enriching the digital divide equipping the workforce and expand access through funding resources. “I myself look forward to a future where global measurement of growth is not restricted merely to an increase in economic advancement but encompasses balanced development that can be experienced by all nations and all levels,” urged H.E. Dr. Vijavat as he added that private sector, civil society, academia, and individual citizens must engage in all levels of partnerships in order to move forward as one.
Prof. Dr. Suthiphand Chirathivat; Executive Director of the Central Group, Chairman of Chula Global Network, and Director of ASEAN Studies Center of Chulalongkorn University in Thailand during his remarks voiced from an economist point of view the world is facing one of the largest crises in the past 90 years, and all developed nations are not safe until the developing countries are. Similary, Dr. Yoo Jae-Hoon, Chairman of the Asia Future Institute in South Korea in support called for social and economic inequality to be solved, closing his statement as global collaboration will detect the next pandemic.
Prominent Venture Capitalist, Ms. Rina Neoh, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Ficus Venture Capital in Malaysia, gave entrepreneurial and business insights that “while culture unites all of us -- science, technology, and innovation play a crucial role especially in this pandemic.”
Meanwhile at the conference, Dr. Yuosre Badir from AIT School of Management (SOM) chaired the ‘economic’ sub panel, where participants from universities and institutions attempt to tackle the national economic crisis by proposing community development; better utilization of agricultural products, attract organic tourism, and smart farming; employee and worker development, including educational service development. Dr. Mokbul Ahmad from the Department of Energy of AIT School of Environment, Resources and Development (SERD), chaired another ‘social session’ providing rooms for participants to contribute their ideas on sustainable society and the environment.
In addition to the panels, individuals from multidisciplinary backgrounds including AIT SOM students Nguyen Manh Duc and Binam Acharya shared their research on ‘Employee Performance in Remote Workplace During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Thailand: A Qualitative Enquiry’. Nguyen Manh Duc presented his research during the social session centered on capitalizing employees’ performances in organizations. Another student from Yunus Professional Masters in Social Business and Entrepreneurship program, Mr. Brian McKeown proposed the his view on Collaborative Networks as a driving force for innovative new partnership to address crisis recovery.
Furthermore, Ph.D. student in SERD’s Environment Engineering and Management (EEM) program Abhishek Kanojia shared his research centered on ‘Urban Resilience in Solid Waste Management System with Nexus of Industry 4.0 Technologies’ pointing to the importance of industry 4.0 (introduced by the German Government to tackle industrial production systems) and circular economy (the concept to sustain natural resources). At last, AIT students from the Faculty of Gender and Development Studies (GDS) Farheen Masfiqua Malek and Kuntala Chowdhury explored the topic of ‘Advancing the Usage of Digital Platform to Strengthen Community Cohesion through Urban Farming’, in order to lead well-balanced health and economic condition by utilizing the concepts of ‘Green Circular Economy’ and ‘Community Cohesion'.
In conclusion to the conference, the AIT community has contributed our expertise in the discussion on ‘Crisis Recovery and Nation-Building’ to encourage, and elicit insights from participants around the world to tackle and overcome this pandemic crisis together.
The ICNB2021 focuses on Innovative Strategies for Crisis Recovery and Nation-Building. Organized by the Nation-Building Institute International (NBII), the conference is held annually to bring people from across continents, disciplines, and sectors to share, exchange, and learn from different experiences and to collectively find solutions to the common current and future challenges of the world. AIT is one of its Academic Partners this year.
More about ICNB: http://icnb.co