Asia-Pacific RCEs Discuss Empowering Local Wisdom at 14th Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting

From 19-21 July, 2022, the 14th Asia-Pacific RCE Regional Meeting was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, hosted by RCE Greater Gombak and International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), under the theme 'Empowering Local Wisdom for Education for Sustainable Development'.

The three-day Meeting highlighted the rich history and cultures shaped by indigenous knowledge and reinforcement of values - especially its distinct identity in spirituality, ethics, and communal activities - to take a holistic approach to sustainable development by involving multi-stakeholders. 

About 70 people attended the Meeting in-person, including members from 12 RCEs and local partners. Some sessions were organised in a hybrid mode, with about 50 people from more than 20 RCEs who participated virtually. 

In his keynote speech, Prof. Emeritus Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak (Prof. Dzul), Rector of IIUM and the Co-chair of RCE Greater Gombak, emphasised the importance of diversity and human-centralised education based on collaboration. He also underscored the vital role of RCEs in connecting knowledge and practice in sustainable development to realise a whole community transformation.

In concurrent sessions, 13 RCEs presented their projects on local wisdom for social, economic and environmental sustainability. This was followed by a session with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zainal Abidin Sanusi reporting on the results from the 'RCE 2050: Futures Workshop with RCEs', where he stressed that transformations are required for RCEs to be relevant in the future. In the RCE thematic collaborative project session, Dr. Hyunsoon Bae from RCE Dobong-gu presented ongoing joint projects, whilst three additional initiatives were introduced as potential future joint projects. Next, Prof. Mario Tabucanon (Visiting Professor, UNU-IAS) moderated the Asia-Pacific RCE Updates on Organisations session, and 12 RCEs were appointed members of the AP RCE Coordinating Committee 2022-2023. Two AP Regional Advisors were also introduced, followed by the announcement of a plan to appoint Regional Youth Coordinators.

On Day 2 and Day 3, field visits were conducted - participants visited various sites, including an indigenous community as part of a Real-world Lab (RWL) designated by IIUM to learn closely about their lifestyles through hands-on experiences, a primary school, and the National Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Pedagogy.

The Meeting provided an invaluable opportunity for the participants to exchange practices and strengthen the Asia-Pacific RCE network, and also to learn the latest information about the ESD for 2030 framework and the global RCE community. Notably, the in-person participants had a hands-on experience through the field visits to different sites enabling experiential learning. They learned how RCE Greater Gombak works with their stakeholders and integrates indigenous and traditional knowledge into their ESD initiatives to learn from the past, act in the present, and create sustainable communities. 

Please see the event page for further details from the event, including presentations, and watch video highlights from the event here.

The Global RCE Service Centre would like to thank the team at RCE Greater Gombak for their wonderful efforts and organisation in making the 14th Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting a success, and to all participants for their active participation and contributions.

(Photo credit: UNU-IAS)