Advancing International Collaboration in the Asia Pacific Region

Purpose for the Visit

Promoting collaboration among members across the Asia Pacific region is an important role of the AP-FECM. During March 2017, Dr. Guangyu Wang, Director of AP-FECM’s Executive Office, and Ms. Michelle Zeng, Manager of AP-FECM’s Executive Office, visited four member universities – Vietnam National University of Forestry (VNUF), Kasetsart University Thailand (KU), Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) and University of Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). Visiting the four member universities is important for the Mechanism to promote the use of the SFM online courses, and understanding of the current forestry education status in each university, while having the ability to promote current opportunities with the Mechanism. Meetings with these members allows for strengthening of regional cooperation among Steering Committee members to develop more projects and set more goals for the Mechanism and region to work towards when enhancing higher forestry education.

During the Visit

The activities that took place during this visit alone, created the potential for many possible opportunities in student mobility, faculty capacity building, joint research, and mutual course recognition among members; meanwhile attracting technical expertise to support APFNet and AP-FECM. This meeting introduced member universities to the SMF online courses, and introduced the development of the phase II. The second phase focuses through six online courses tropical sustainable forest management, and this meeting allowed not only the introduction of this upcoming project, but the feedback and potential collaboration and new expert ideas in development of these new courses.

Cooperation in joint research was explored between VNUF, KU, IPB, UPLB and UBC in the fields of climate change, carbon, bamboo, forest protection, etc. A faculty capacity building program was proposed by AP-FECM to support improvement in teaching quality and research capacity for young/new faculty from member universities.

Major Outcomes

This visit allowed for the sharing of the formation of a 2-year joint Master’s degree program in Tropical Forest Management proposed by IPB, KU, UPM and UPLB to AP-FECM. This program will be a significant way to encourage mutual course recognition and student mobility across Asia region. Aimed to improve accessibility of forestry education in the Asia Pacific region, the SFM online course program will have a chance to fit this kind of collaborative program in the near future.

This visit had many positive outcomes including when, Dr. Guangyu Wang presented his research in 4 workshops in the adaptation of Asian Pacific forests to a changing climate and introduced a high-resolution climate model, Climate AP developed by an APFNet funded project. As well, he encouraged faculty members and students to utilize the SFM online courses and join the development of its second phase, which will create six new courses in tropical forests. This visit allowed for over 400 students and faculty members from the member universities to engage and participate in the instructor-directed session. Meetings such as this are valuable experiences for the Mechanism to promote the work that is taking place to students and faculty, while strengthening membership and partnership with the Steering Committee and regional members. Overall, this meeting works to meet the Mechanisms overall goal of advancing higher forestry education in the Asia Pacific Region.