On July 22nd, 2023, a momentous occasion unfolded as the Urban and Regional Planning Program at the Faculty of Built Environment and Surveying (FABU) joined hands with the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Diponegoro (UNDIP), Semarang, Indonesia, to host the 1st Joint International Student Seminar 2023. This collaborative event was a pivotal milestone in fostering academic cooperation between the two institutions.
The organization of this international joint student seminar stems from a significant discussion during the previous meeting focused on fostering potential collaboration between the Urban and Regional Planning Program (URPP) at UTM and the Regional and Urban Planning Department (URUPD) at UNDIP. This meeting, held on July 10, 2023, was attended by key representatives, including Assoc. Prof. Dr Siti Hajar Misnan, the director of URPP, Prof. Dr Wiwandari Handayani from UNDIP, and other lecturers from both departments. As part of the agenda, the student seminar shall be organized to enhance academic ties and promote knowledge exchange between the institutions.
The seminar brought together 2nd-year students from the Program of Urban and Regional Planning at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and 3rd-year students from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Diponegoro University (UNDIP). Their shared passion for urban and regional planning formed the basis for an enriching exchange of knowledge and ideas. The seminar commenced with an engaging and inspirational welcoming speech delivered by Dr Mohamad Fadhli Rashid, a senior lecturer from FABU, who represented the program director. Following that, the event was honoured by the esteemed presence of Prof. Dr Wiwandari Handayani, the Head of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at UNDIP, who delivered the opening speech.
The seminar’s main theme, “Sustainable Rural Development and Knowledge Cross-Fertilization,” has been chosen to promote the mixing and sharing of diverse ideas, approaches, experiences, and knowledge from case studies in Indonesia and Malaysia. This seminar is an exceptional platform for stimulating a more profound understanding through exchanging ideas and information on various sub-topics related to sustainable rural transformation, the concept and assessment of livelihoods, and the crucial role of rural action plans in facilitating meaningful bottom-up planning at the grassroots level. By fostering this collaborative environment, the seminar aims to enhance the overall understanding and implementation of effective strategies for rural development.
Furthermore, this seminar holds particular significance as it is the culminating event, concluding a series of previous joint activities, notably the four-invigorating series of invited guest lectures. These guest lectures, delivered by esteemed lecturers from FABU and the Faculty of Engineering, spanned from March to May 2023, covering a diverse range of rural and regional planning topics. The seminar is a comprehensive platform to consolidate the knowledge and insights gained from the guest lecture series. It combines the accumulated wisdom and expertise from these lectures, offering students and participants a holistic understanding of the subject matter.
There are two main sessions of this seminar, with two presentations each that students’ representatives have delivered. Each session will be concluded by the appointed discussant (to summarise the main points from presentations). The presentation topics are as follows:
Session 1: Sustainable Rural Development
- Rural Development Action Plan in KEJORA (Kampung Tanjung Serindit)
- The Impacts of Tourism Development on Sustainable Rural Livelihoods
Session 2: Sustainable Rural Transformation and Livelihood
- Rural Development Action Plan in KEJORA and PENGERANG (Felda Adela)
- From Rustic Roots to Tourism: Unveiling the Rural Transformation
The seminar witnessed an encouraging turnout of between 120-130 participants throughout the program, signifying a consistent number of attendees and a favourable reception towards the event. With resounding success, this seminar diligently pursued the following key objectives:
- Enhancing Understanding: The foremost goal was to deepen participants’ comprehension of the principles, concepts, and diverse forms of planning relevant to the development of both urban and regional areas. By delving into the intricacies of planning within the context of cities and regions, the seminar aimed to foster a comprehensive grasp of the subject matter.
- Strengthening Cross-Border Cooperation: A central focus of the seminar was to foster active collaboration among stakeholders from Indonesia and Malaysia on various planning approaches. By facilitating knowledge exchange and mutual learning, the event sought to bridge the gap between the planning practices of the two countries, promoting a more harmonious and synergistic approach to development.
- Cultivating Critical Thinking and Novel Perspectives: Another vital objective was to nurture critical thinking skills and inspire fresh ideas concerning planning practices in Malaysia and Indonesia. By encouraging participants to engage in thought-provoking discussions and interactive sessions, the seminar aimed to cultivate innovative approaches and a deeper appreciation of the planning dynamics in the two nations.
The seminar contributed significantly to the participants’ professional growth and academic enrichment in accomplishing these objectives. It served as a pivotal platform for fostering meaningful connections, knowledge dissemination, and developing a unified vision for sustainable urban and regional planning in the region. The seminar’s resounding success sets a promising precedent for future collaborative efforts and academic endeavours between the institutions involved. This collaborative effort brought together budding professionals and academics, setting the stage for a fruitful cross-cultural learning experience and fostering a solid foundation for future academic collaborations. It served as a platform for participants to broaden their horizons, build meaningful connections, and progress towards sustainable urban and regional development. The 1st Joint International Student Seminar 2023 exemplified the power of academic partnerships in driving positive change and nurturing the next generation of experts in urban and regional planning.
Dr Khairul Hisyam bin Kamarudin & Dr Mohamad Fadhli bin Rashid, Urban and Regional Planning Program, Faculty of Built Environment and Surveying, UTM