Asia Connect Student Working Groups: Showcase Competition

The Asia Pacific Foundation Canada (APF Canada) hosted its first-ever Asia Connect Student Working Groups showcase competition on January 21, 2017. Through this initiative, post-secondary students and young professionals investigate an issue that matters to the Canada-Asia relationship in terms of politics, diplomacy, economics, education, the environment, culture, human rights, or other area. This initiative was launched in September 2016 with five groups of students each.

At the showcase event, each group of 2-5 participants gave a 10-minute presentation of their work, followed by comments and questions from a panel of judges. The judges included:

  • Clare McGovern, professor of political science, Simon Fraser University (SFU);
  • Scott Young, Project Manager, SFU’s Public Square and Who Needs Canada? summit; and,
  • Justin Kwan post-graduate research fellow at APF Canada, where he is developing a podcast series on youth cultures in East Asia.

The winner chosen by the judges received a $500 prize.

In addition, audience members had the opportunity to speak with the working groups directly through a short poster session. At the conclusion of the poster session, the audience voted on a ‘people’s choice’ award of a $150 gift certificate to Hapa Izakaya.

Special guests included the Consul Anthony Achilles Mandap, Deputy Consul General of the Philippine Consulate General, and David McGrotty, Chair of the Philippines Canada Trade Council.

Student Working Groups and Their Topics:

  • (Judges Choice Award) William Chu and Mimi Nguyen: Haze Crisis in Indonesia: This group investigated the haze crisis that affects the health, economies, and environments of many Southeast Asian countries. They produced an infographic series that shows the various risks of “slash and burn” agricultural practices. (Infographic)
  • (People’s Choice Award) George Poulakidas, Amira Loosemore, and Allisa Kouki: New Technologies to Tackle Corruption: This group examined how modern technologies are being used to battle corruption in Indonesia. They complied a comprehensive report, which included findings from a survey of Indonesian university students. (report)
  • Kelly Ninh, Laura Galiyeva, and Vic Herr: Myanmar’s Rohingya Crisis: Members of this group raised awareness about the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar through blogs, posters, Instagram campaigns, and a petition, and recommended a course of action through a letter to select members of the Canadian government. (blogs, Instagram)

  • Bowen Wong, Yuka Kubota, Richard Sun, and Baggio Ma: Canada-Asia Trade after the TPP: The group researched the key benefits and drawbacks of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), with specific attention to implications for Canada. The group also monitored the status of the TPP in real time, necessitating a comparison with the pros and cons of the Regional Economic Comprehensive Partnership (RCEP). They created an interactive website as their final deliverable.

  • Morné Thompson and Rosalie Hirst: Education and Ethics in Japan: This group researched the right to education in Japan based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and specifically examined the issue of history textbooks in Japan. They produced a compilation of examples and questions on how seemingly minor changes in wording can alter the interpretation of an historical event. (compilation)

The next round of student working groups kicked off in January 2017 with 10 new student groups. They will present their final projects at a showcase competition in May 2017 (date and venue to be confirmed). Click here to view the announcement.

APF Canada congratulates all five working groups, and thanks Hapa Izakaya for its generous donation and the judges and all of the attendees of the event.