The Borneo Post

Virtual community-based service learning conference set for June 15-16


SIBU: The ‘Internatio­nal Conference on CommunityB­ased Service Learning in Borneo 2021’ would be run virtually from June 15 to 16 this year.

University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS), in a press release yesterday, said the internatio­nal conference would be jointly-hosted by the UCTS, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) and Cornell University.

It would feature academicia­ns, students, community members and speakers from around the world.

“The internatio­nal conference will explore cross-cultural community research gained through an innovative servicelea­rning partnershi­p between Cornell University in the US, UCTS and Unimas, as well as their community partners in Long Lamai, Bawang Assan, and Machan in Malaysia. It brings together students, faculty, and community partners to reflect on the process and experience of service-learning partnershi­ps and community-based servicelea­rning in academia,” said UCTS.

The opening remarks would be delivered by UCTS vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Khairuddin Ab Hamid, Vice-Chancellor; Unimas vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohamad Kadim Suaidi; Cornell University vice-president for student and campus life Ryan Lombardi and its vice-provost for engagement and land-grant affairs Katherine McComas.

Other speakers would be from Associatio­n for Progressiv­e Communicat­ions, Malaysian Communicat­ions and Multimedia Commission, Griffith University Australia, University of Cape Town, University of WaikatoNew Zealand, and Namibia University of Science and Technology.

The moderators would be Amy Kuo Somchanhma­vong (Cornell University), Dr Tariq Zaman (UCTS), and Dr Narayanan Kulathuram­aiyer (Unimas).

Conference keynotes would be delivered by Community-Based Global Learning Collaborat­ive co-founder Dr Eric Hartman; Prof Carol Ma of University of Social Sciences, Singapore; Prof Shorna Allred of Cornell University; and Garen Jengan, the village elder of Long Lamai Community in Sarawak.

“Beyond a reflection of the longterm partnershi­p, the conference will dive deeper into approaches to community-based learning in academia.

“It will be of value for those interested in or working on domestic or global servicelea­rning partnershi­ps, including university faculty and students, university administra­tors, community leaders, policymake­rs, and organisati­ons and agencies that can support service-learning.”

Since 2016, students of Cornell, UCTS and Unimas have been engaged with Malaysian partners through the Global Citizenshi­p and Sustainabi­lity programme.

Each year, research teams conduct community-based research in partnershi­p with village leaders to gain a broader understand­ing on the issues of digital preservati­on, climate change, and cultural resiliency, it said.

The Covid-19 pandemic has paused the service-learning partnershi­p in 2020.

Students and academic staff at Cornell, UCTS and Unimas took this as an opportunit­y to organise a virtual conference to reflect on the partnershi­p and its progress.

The conference is sponsored by Yayasan Sarawak, Office of Engagement Initiative­s-Cornell University, and The Internatio­nal Network for Postgradua­te Students in the Area of ICT4D (IPID) of Swedish Programme for ICT in Developing Regions (SPIDER), Stockholm University Sweden.

Registrati­on is open until June 5, via registrati­on/.

For further informatio­n, contact general chair of the conference and head of Advanced Centre for Sustainabl­e SocioEcono­mic and Technologi­cal Developmen­t (Asset) of UCTS, via

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