Written by Celeste Ann Castillo Llaneta
Photo by Bong Arboleda, UP MPRO

The 8th Steering Committee Meeting of the ASEAN University Network’s Thematic Network on University Social Responsibility and Sustainability (AUN USR&S) was held on November 29, 2019 in the Quezon Hall Board Room. 

The University of the Philippines System is set to host the 8th ASEAN Youth Volunteer Program (AYVP) Philippines 2020 from August 2 to 27, 2020, at the UP Los Baños. It will revolve around the theme, Education Development and Education for All, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal No. 4.

This program follows the success of the 7th AYVP held from July 31 to August 27, 2019 in Kuala Lumpur and Gua Musang, Kelantan, Malaysia. The 2019 AYVP had the theme, Poverty Eradication, in keeping with the UN SDG No. 1. It drew over a thousand applicants from 10 ASEAN countries, with 50 youth volunteers and around six facilitators participating in the actual volunteerism workshop-event.

The hosting of the 8th AYVP Philippines 2020 by UP was discussed at the 8th Steering Committee Meeting of the ASEAN University Network’s Thematic Network on University Social Responsibility and Sustainability (AUN USR&S), held on November 29, 2019 in the Quezon Hall Board Room.

UKM Deputy Vice Chancellor and AUN USR&S Chairperson Prof. Dato’ Dr Imran Ho Bin Abdullah (center) leading the AUN USR&S Steering Committee Meeting, with Ugnayan ng Pahinungod System Director Grace Aguiling-Dalisay to his immediate left, and AUN USR&S Head Secretariat and UKM Community Transformation Center head Prof. Datuk Dr. Rokiah Omar to his immediate right.

Representing UP in the AUN USR&S was Dr. Grace Aguiling-Dalisay , the director of the Ugnayan ng Pahinungod System. She met with members of the AUN USR&S secretariat and the steering committee and officials of the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and other ASEAN universities, led by Prof. Dato’ Dr Imran Ho Bin Abdullah,  the chairperson of the AUN USR&S and the deputy vice chancellor of the UKM. Other members of the AUN USR&S steering committee in attendance at the meeting were: Vice President Fritzie Ian De Vera, for Lasallian Mission of De La Salle University; Assistant to the Vice President for Social Development of Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Edda Dayandante, representing Mr. Rizalino Dr. Rivera, Vice President for Social Development of ADMU; Dr. Agung Harijoko of the Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia; Associate Prof. Kwok Kian Woon of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Dr. Hap Phalthy of the Royal University of Law and Economics, Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Mr. Muhammad Asyraf Mansor of the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; AUN USR&S Head Secretariat Prof. Datuk Dr. Rokiah Omar of the UKM, Bandar Baru Bangi, Malaysia; and, Mr. Wong Kin Lun, member of the AUN USR&S secretariat, UKM.

The AYVP Organizing Committee will be led by the UKM Community Transformation Center headed by Prof. Dr. Datuk Rokiah Omar and the UP Ugnayan ng Pahinungod Council, headed by Dr. Aguiling-Dalisay as the Ugnayan ng Pahinungod System Director. The Ugnayan ng Pahinungod was reactivated across the UP System by UP President Danilo L. Concepcion in May 2019.

Other matters discussed at the meeting were the 5th Asia Engage Regional Conference 2020, to be held in Kuala Lumpur around the third week of November in conjunction with the UKM’s 50th anniversary, as well as proposals for an AUN USR&S Community Research-Driven Fund, and reports by the AUN USR&S Secretariat on the 7th AYVP Malaysia 2019, the 5th CIMB Young ASEAN Leaders (CYAL) 2019, and the ASEAN Journal of Community Engagement.

UP President Danilo L. Concepcion (4th from right) joins the Steering Committee Meeting to reiterate his support for the upcoming AYVP 2020, to be hosted by the UP System.

At the end of the meeting, UP President Concepcion received the thanks of Dato’ Imran for hosting the 8th AUN USR&S Steering Committee Meeting and the forthcoming AYVP 2020. Concepcion, for his part, reiterated his support for the AYVP and the Ugnayan ng Pahinungod.

The AUN USR&S began in 2010 when the AUN Secretariat organized the first Workshop on University’s Social Responsibility and Sustainability from ASEAN-Japan Perspectives: Sharing and Caring for a Better Community, hosted by the Burapha University, Thailand. The workshop discussed the basic idea of AUN’s University Social Responsibility and Sustainability (USR&S). Following this, the AUN established a USR&S Thematic Network as an enabling mechanism to achieve greater regional cooperation among the higher education institutions in ASEAN, to contribute to the social, economic and environmental development of the region. The AUN USR&S Secretariat is based in the UKM.

The AUN USR&S works in synergy with the AYVP and the Asia-Talloires Network of Industry and Community Engaged Universities (ATNEU) to fulfill the network’s objectives: to create mutually beneficial partnerships between and among industry and community stakeholders across ASEAN and Asia, through research, education and volunteerism missions of higher education.  The AYVP is a dedicated youth volunteerism platform that intends: to create opportunities in knowledge-driven volunteerism; to support the exchange of learning experiences; to develop capacity; to enhance cross-cultural understanding; and, to forge a sense of regional identity while making a sustainable difference to communities across ASEAN.

Three Philippine universities are members of the AUN: UP, the Ateneo de Manila University, and De La Salle University.