ROBUST discussions can go a long way in effecting change, more so when they involve both national and international experts.
In the spirit of fostering such discussions and encouraging collaborative research, Universiti Malaya (UM) and University Brunei Darussalam (UBD), led by their respective Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences, recently came together to host the Malaysia-Brunei Forum (MBF) 2023.
Themed “Resilience and Transformation: Navigating Contemporary Challenges in South-East Asia”, the event saw the participation of 43 attendees, including lecturers, researchers and postgraduates, from the two varsities.
Among the contemporary challenges in South-East Asia that were discussed included focus areas such as culture, society, civilisation, economy, politics and internationalisation, sustainable development and social well-being, the media, communication, and innovation.
The forum, held from Dec 13 to 14, marked the fifth international cooperation between the two varsities.
In a press release, UM Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences deputy dean (Research) Assoc Prof Dr Helena Muhamad Varkkey, who is also the MBF 2023 chairperson, said the forum sought to strengthen academic cooperation and social networking between the two countries.
Echoing her sentiments, UBD Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences dean Dr Kathrina Datuk Paduka Mohd Daud expressed her hope that the forum would be continued to further strengthen relations between the two varsities, especially in joint ventures such as student and academic exchange programmes.
In this latest edition, Universiti Utara Malaysia Emeritus Prof Dr Ranjit Singh Darshan Singh delivered a keynote speech, followed by a series of presentations by 37 participants exploring titles such as Influence of Research and Publication on the Preservation of Malay Intellectuality; Navigating and Flourishing in Academia: An Autoethnographic Guide for Neurodivergent Scholars; and Green Space and Drug Abuse: An Analysis on the Strategies to Overcome Drug Addiction.
A fresh addition to the forum was the inclusion of postgraduate workshops and discussion sessions to allow students at the master’s and PhD levels to present their research findings and exchange ideas.
At the end of the event, the attendees were hosted at a dinner party with UM deputy vice chancellor (Research and Innovation) Prof Dr Kaharudin Dimyati and Brunei High Commission deputy director of Education Megawati Karim in attendance.
UM, in the press release, said the forum is in line with its vision to be a global university with a global impact, and its mission to go beyond the limits of knowledge and shape aspirational leaders.
“Academics and postgraduates should aspire to exchange their views, expertise and experience in teaching and research,” it said, adding that it hoped that the forum would build a more informative network in the future.