UBD-BSN Conference: Borneo Within, Borneo Beyond
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Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) organised a two-days UBD-Borneo Studies Network (BSN) Conference on 30 June - 1 July 2021. Yang Mulia Datin Dr Dayang Hajah Anita Binurul Zahrina binti Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Wijaya Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Aziz, Vice Chancellor of UBD officiated the Opening Ceremony of the UBD-BSN Conference with the theme: Borneo Within, Borneo Beyond held this morning at Mawardi Global Classroom, ILIA Building, UBD.

Yang Mulia Datin Vice Chancellor in her opening address mentioned the establishment of Borneo Studies Network in October 2013 with 12 founding member institutions. The main objective and key role of BSN is to encourage and promote collaboration across different higher education institutions and research centres in Borneo. Datin Vice Chancellor also highlighted that the two day event includes discussion and knowledge exchanges on the potential contribution that Borneo can offer in a number of relevant areas including a wide range of topics such as Health and Medicine, Language, Cultural Heritage, Energy, Population Studies, Entrepreneurship as well as Environmental Challenges. Currently, BSN has five research groups, namely, Borneo Energy & Advanced Material, Borneo Cultural Heritage, Borneo Sustainable Community & Transformation, Borneo Economy & Banking as well as Borneo Biodiversity.

The Chair of the UBD-BSN Organising Committee Dr Joyce Teo Siew Yean, Assistant Vice Chancellor (Global Affairs) of Universiti Brunei Darussalam gave her welcoming remarks where she shared that many initiatives, programmes and activities have been carried out in the past 8 years under BSN umbrella which includes active research collaboration, student mobility and short term programmes. Recently, the 12 BSN institutions also came together to initiate a new project on "BSN Online Learning Space" to enable BSN students to enroll for virtual modules in BSN partner universities related to Borneo themes.

The conference seeks to explore the different paths and ways in promoting and developing the beneficial connectivity of the Borneo region within and beyond it, explore the practices and experiences on various aspects about the region and about connecting the region.

The first Keynote Speech entitled " A Contextualization and Deconstruction of Borneo Studies Over the Last 50 Years" was delivered by Professor Emeritus Victor T. King, Professor of Borneo Studies at the Institute of Asian Studies, Universiti Brunei Darussalam. The second Keynote Speech entitled " Climate Change and the Meantime: Borneo in Asia Context" was delivered by Professor Jonathan D. Rigg, Chair in Human Geography at School of Geographical Sciences, Cabot Institute for the Environment, University of Bristol of the United Kingdom.

The two-days conference of 12 parallel panel sessions with 6 panels on the first day 30 June 2021 with the themes given as: Borneo Historical Perspectives, Health and Medicine, Language, Identity and Music, Language and Identity (Comparative Studies), Islamic Finance, and Brunei Consumption and Heritage. On the second day 1 July 2021, the 6 panels' themes ranging from Teaching and Learning in Times of Covid-19, Diversification from Hydro-Carbon Energy, to topics on Human Capital and Entrepreneurship, as well as Environmental Challenges.

For more information on the Borneo Studies Network, please contact the BSN Secretariat at: ubd.bsnconference@ubd.edu.bn

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