Looking East: ESAA Capacity building workshop in Bangkok

On October 26th 2015, the Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Association Network organized its first Regional Capacity Building Event in Bangkok, Thailand, on the Role of Trade in Cross Border Higher Education and the Promotion of Erasmus+ in Asia-Pacific.
Capacity Building (CCB), OCEANS, .

The event was organized in cooperation with the OCEANS Network at the premises of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific (UN ESCAP), and gathered not only officials from UNESCAP and the European Union Delegation in Thailand, but also students and university representatives from South-east and East Asia.

After hosting UNESCAP’s opening with a presentation of the 2015 Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report and a comprehensive presentation of EU Delegation in Thailand on the EU-Thailand strategic partnership, particularly in the area of higher education, the main focus of the event was Erasmus+ and ESAA.

The workshop facilitated a lively group discussions on the opportunities for further promoting ESAA in the region. The debate also left space for constructive suggestions on how to improve some of the barriers for a smoother higher education cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, especially concerning visa procedures, credit transfers and different university protocols.

One of the major suggestions to concretely facilitate cooperation among EU and Asian Higher Education Institutions for future Erasmus+ agreements has been the one to develop an online platform database to match universities in partner and programme countries.

Also, the participants expressed the wish to have a stronger presence of the ESAA credit mobility strand in South-East Asia to facilitate the promotion of Erasmus+ to interested universities, and to disseminate information and provide more Erasmus+ training in the region.

The event was also an opportunity to meet new friends, network and collaborate on common interest. The promise of a brighter future ahead and the hope that these new opportunities present in the horizon are achievable. It was also a chance to explore new places, food and culinary tradition, get to know our ASEAN brothers and sisters and understand them despite the diversity of our cultures in preparation for the forthcoming integration” says Ernesto Icogo, active participant from the Philippines.

For him, this regional ESAA workshop in Bangkok has been a starting point to learn more how to get involved and to help organize a ESAA credit mobility team in his country. Together with his colleagues who joined the workshop and represented their respective countries, he is sure they are at the forefront of this organisational initiative.

It was also with great honour being hosted by the United Nations ESCAP in this mystical Thai capital city. For me, the Bangkok ESAA CMS workshop was a big success. Little by little, slowly but surely, we will arrive at the point where the objective of the meeting will be met easily. ‘Haste makes waste’, as the famous Asian saying goes. We are not in a hurry because we truly believed that the strength of our interpersonal bonding in Bangkok will take care of the rest.

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Author Information

Ernesto Icogo

ESAA member, Philippines

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