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Forging Academic Alliances: Universiti Teknologi Malaysia-Sun Yat-sen University Academic Exchange Programme 2023 Shines Bright with Visionary Collaboration

JOHOR BAHRU, Aug. 22 – In a dazzling display of academic synergy, the ‘Universiti Teknologi Malaysia – Sun Yat-sen University Academic Exchange Programme 2023’ unfolded its grandeur from 31st July to 1st August, 2023.

The remarkable two-day event, a true testament to meticulous planning, was orchestrated by the Urban and Regional Planning Programme, Faculty of Built Environment and Surveying (FABU), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), in close partnership with the School of Tourism Management (STM), Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU), Zhuhai Campus, Guangdong, China.

The masterminds behind this visionary initiative, Dr. Nadzirah Hosen (UTM) and Dr. Keng Hang Frankie Fan (SYSU), who forged their friendship during their joint PhD endeavours, were pivotal in bringing this collaboration to fruition.

Their bond, fortified during Dr Fan’s tenure at the Centre of Innovative Planning and Development (CIPD) in 2015, laid the groundwork for the formal partnership that bridges the gap between these esteemed institutions.

This academic venture marked the initial strides towards cultivating collaboration between the two universities, as the inaugural visit of the SYSU team, led by Dr. Fan and his six students, underscored the significance of this collaborative journey.

Guided by the theme “Exploring Biodiversity Conservation through Ecotourism,” the programme is designed to actively engage participants in preserving biodiversity during their travel experiences.

Over the span of two enriching days, the program enveloped participants in a series of seminars and immersive site visits aimed at delving deep into this impactful theme.

The journey commenced with an insightful tour of the UTM campus. This dynamic encounter provided the SYSU participants with firsthand experience of the institution’s cutting-edge facilities and vibrant learning environment.

This was promptly followed by a heartfelt welcome session, graced by distinguished figures, including Prof. Sr. Dr. Kherun Nita Binti Ali, Dean of the Faculty of Built Environment and Surveying, and Prof. Madya TPr Dr. Siti Hajar Binti Misnan, Head of Programme for Urban and Regional Planning.

Their words resonated with the importance of international cooperation in academia. The event transitioned seamlessly into a spirited discussion on potential collaborations between UTM and SYSU, where innovative ideas flourished, and joint initiatives that transcend geographical boundaries were explored. The morning continued with an array of captivating talks by esteemed experts:

Prof. Dr. Amran Bin Hamzah’s captivating discourse on “Regenerative Tourism: Just Another Buzzword?” delved into the heart of regenerative tourism’s potential to revolutionize sustainability practices within the tourism industry.

Prof. Dr. Mohammad Rafee Bin Majid illuminated the concept of “Value Co-creation (VCC) in Ecotourism via Citizen Science (CS): Enriching Tourist Experience and Wildlife Database.” This thought-provoking session highlighted the role of collaboration in enhancing the ecotourism landscape.

Keng Hang (Frankie) Fan’s expert insights on “Ecotourism in China and Potential International Collaboration” gave participants a window into China’s ecotourism practices and the exciting potential for cross-border partnerships.

Day two unfurled a captivating journey, leading participants to the charming villages of Tanjung Kupang and Sungai Melayu, nestled around Johor Bahru. In Tanjung Kupang, participants immersed themselves in the life of local fishermen, exploring mussel farms and embarking on a farm-to-table experience.

The expedition then continued to Sungai Melayu, offering an enchanting exploration of mangroves and a hands-on encounter with traditional craft-making.

As the day ended, participants carried with them a sense of achievement and a treasury of newfound perspectives. Their transformative experiences fuelled reflections on the potential for collaborative ventures that transcend boundaries and disciplines.

The UTM-SYSU Academic Exchange Programme 2023 continues to illuminate its significance as a platform for intellectual enrichment, cultural celebration, and the establishment of enduring academic partnerships. This collaborative odyssey sets the stage for a new era of global cooperation and knowledge exchange, poised to shape the future of academia.

Participants engage in a dynamic conversation exploring the boundless possibilities for collaborative ventures between UTM and SYSU.
Prof. Dr. Amran engages his audience through his discourse on “Regenerative Tourism: Just Another Buzzword?” exploring the profound implications of this concept in the tourism industry.
Prof. Dr. Mohammad Rafee eloquently shared insights during his presentation on Value Co-creation (VCC) within the realm of ecotourism, facilitated through the empowering tool of Citizen Science.
Engaging the audience with enthusiasm, Dr. Fan delivers an enlightening presentation on China’s captivating ecotourism destinations, while highlighting the promising avenues for collaborative endeavours.
Dr. Fan and his attentive students posing proudly in front of UTM’s iconic gateway, a snapshot of knowledge and ambition.
Encik Fahmi from Kelab Alami adeptly guides participants in crafting their own nets for mussel-catching, an immersive learning experience by the waterside.
Prepared to set forth on an exciting journey to explore the captivating mussel farm.
A picturesque glimpse of the mussel farm at Kampung Tanjung Kupang
Embarking on a mesmerizing mangrove tour in Kampung Sungai Melayu, where the wonders of nature unfold at every turn.

About School of Tourism Management, Sun Yat-sen University: The School of Tourism Management (STM) at SYSU was established in November 2004 and has evolved into a renowned educational and research institution in tourism, both within and outside of China.

The faculty offers two undergraduate majors in tourism management (including tourism management and hotel management) as well as economics and exhibition management, both recognized as first-class national majors by the Ministry of Education of China. In 2022, in the Soft Science World-Class Ranking, STM SYSU ranked 5th globally and 1st in China.

By: Nadzirah Hosen

 

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