AUN-EEC hosts online General Assembly 2023; new Executive Director announced
16 May 2023 | Raul Javier H. Baquiran
Last 26 April 2023, the ASEAN University Network on Ecological Education and Culture (AUN-EEC), hosted by the Ateneo Institute of Sustainability (AIS), held its annual General Assembly (GA) to discuss the network’s plans and focus-areas for the year ahead. The event, which was held online via Zoom, was attended by 23 institutional representatives coming from 19 member institutions across Southeast Asia.
To begin the GA, Dr. Choltis Dhirathiti, Executive Director of the ASEAN University Network (AUN), provided his opening remarks through a recorded video. Dr. Dhirathiti shared his pleasure over AUN-EEC’s movement towards ecological restoration for the year. He remarked that commitment to the environment must be intensified in the transition to a post-pandemic world. He also encouraged members to invite student organizations to the network, emphasizing the importance of youth engagement in promoting ecological education.
Echoing Dr. Choltis’s observation of a marked post-pandemic disconnection with the environment, the AUN-EEC Secretariat revealed that the theme for the year would be Environmental Restoration and Reconciliation. This banner aims to champion reconciling with nature as the means through which ecological and cultural education can be advanced. The Secretariat also noted that this theme would coincide with the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which runs from 2021-2030.
The Secretariat then outlined how there would be three major events for the year. The first event was the AUN-EEC Webinar, entitled “From Rivers to Streams: A Situationer on ASEAN Ecosystems and Environmental Education'', which was held last 12 April 2023. Next, the 2023 AUN-EEC Conference which is scheduled to take place virtually on 16 August 2023. The theme of the conference is “Communing and Reconciling with Nature” and the conference is currently accepting abstract submissions under four thematic areas. Wrapping up the lineup of events is the AUN-EEC Workshop on “Individual Commitments for Ecosystem Restoration & Reconciliation'' which will be on 11 October 2023.
Another major announcement made in the GA was the re-opening of AUN-EEC membership applications after a three-year pause due to the pandemic. The Secretariat clarified that membership shall be open to universities, university-based student groups, and other professional groups (e.g. businesses, NGOs, LGUs). For this cycle, the membership application shall be open until 31 January 2024.
Following the presentation of the secretariat, a discussion ensued in which participants were able to recommend speakers and topics for the upcoming AUN-EEC Conference in August. As a means of exploring opportunities for increased collaboration between AUN-EEC and its members, the floor was also opened for participants to share existing initiatives in ecological education and culture from their respective institutions.
The event ended with closing remarks from AUN-EEC Executive Director Dr. Assunta C. Cuyegkeng, who expressed her gratitude to those who have helped grow the network. She cited particular milestones and accomplishments in the network’s history. To close the session, Dr. Cuyegkeng, who has been serving as Executive Director of AUN-EEC since its establishment in 2019, announced that Dr. Emmanuel D. Delocado would be succeeding her in the role starting 01 June 2023.
Dr. Delocado is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Biology and is the Research Group Leader of the Ateneo Biodiversity Research Laboratory. He specializes in Philippine biodiversity, freshwater conservation, insect systematics, and education for sustainable development. Concurrently, he serves as the Program Manager for Sustainable Development Goals at AIS and the Country Manager of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Philippines (SDSN PH).
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