More than 70 academics and industry representatives recently took part in a conference hosted by Asia@RMIT and RMIT Vietnam.
The conference, titled Learning from the Greater Mekong Sub-region: Financial Inclusion, Human Resource Management, Global Education, and Sustainability, included participants from international organisations, government departments, industry and universities.
The main theme was to learn from the successes, challenges and dynamism of the Greater Mekong Sub-Region which covers Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar.
Professor Gael McDonald, President RMIT Vietnam and Vice President, said: “The event provided a forum to share research across the Greater Mekong Sub-Region and to foster a dialogue between government, industry and higher education.
“The cross-disciplinary nature of the conference will enable new perspectives and fresh ideas to be shared amongst participants.“
The event included keynote addresses from Jinchang Lai, International Finance Corporation and World Bank Group, Adam Mooney, Good Shepherd Microfinance, Associate Professor Trinh Quoc Lap, Cantho University, Dr Kevin Laws, University of Sydney, Professor Son Jang-Ho, Daegu National University of Education, Republic of Korea, and Honorary Professor Pham Chi Thanh, RMIT Vietnam.
Participants explored the challenges, including environmental problems, faced by the countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-Region.
Professor Supriya Singh, Graduate School of Business and Law and co-convenor of theAsia@RMIT network, said: “There are lessons to be learnt as the countries grow and modernise their public sector and non-government organisations, increase the reach of formal financial institutions, cope with increasing migration and expand the range and deepen the quality of their global education.
“Through all of this, the Sub-Region remains one marked by relative gender equity in its financial inclusion.“
Some of the most important outcomes of the conference are the deepening of personal relationships between researchers at RMIT in Melbourne, Saigon South and Hanoi which have already led to research and training initiatives.
Associate Professor Bob Baulch, Vietnam Research Coordinator, offered RMIT Melbourne PhD candidates a temporary home at RMIT Vietnam when they come to do their field work. Interested candidates can contact him if they need university facilities and are encouraged to engage in the bi-weekly research seminars and to present their research results.
There was also a suggestion that a research network similar to Asia@RMIT be established at RMIT Vietnam.
Participants appreciated the opportunity to discuss a wide selection of topics and to address research management issues with colleagues and counterparts.
One RMIT lecturer said: “I hope researchers have time availability and willingness to mentor aspiring PhD candidates like myself.“
The conference was preceded by a PhD Day where candidates from RMIT Melbourne and the National Academy of Public Administration, Vietnam, presented their research.
The day began with a stimulating diversity of topics and free flowing discussion. This continued over dinner that evening and during the conference when the topics discussed repeatedly surfaced in presentations.
The event organisers included:
- Professor Supriya Singh, Graduate School of Business and Law and co-convenor of the Asia@RMIT network.
- Associate Professor Paul Battersby, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies and co-convenor of the Asia@RMIT network
- Associate Professor Bob Baulch, Vietnam Research Coordinator, RMIT Vietnam
- Dr Ngan Collins, School of Management
- Dr Lukas Parker, Centre of Commerce and Management, RMIT Vietnam