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Association of Experiential Education – Asia Pacific Regional Conference 2023

In collaboration with The Association for Experiential Education (AEE) Asia Pacific Regional Council, SUSS co-organised the inaugural APAC Regional Conference (APRC) in Singapore from 13 to 15 June 2023 with Republic Polytechnic and Outward Bound Singapore, including Outward Bound Vietnam as the sponsor.

Participants from a total of 15 countries including Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and Australia attended the event. The theme of the conference was “Sustainability and Inclusivity in Experiential Education” and it aimed to :  

  • recognise the good practices of educators, practitioners and students in experiential education
  • explore ideas and enactment of sustainability and inclusivity in experiential education
  • celebrate partnerships and expand reach through networking and collaboration
  • celebrate the leadership of the APAC council in AEE

Aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4, the conference shared the objective of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities. Experiential education is recognised as a powerful tool for achieving this, imparting knowledge and skills while cultivating empathy and a passion for learning. 

One of three SUSS student presenters groups on “Forming Foundational Aptitudes of Inclusivity and Sustainability in University Freshmen”

Gracing the opening of the conference is Mr David Chua, CEO of the National Youth Council, who shared the national initiatives and strategies for experiential education in Singapore. 

The conference programme featured an impactful keynote address delivered by Professor Roger Slee, the esteemed Diamond Jubilee Chair on Disability and Inclusivity at the University of Leeds. Additionally, there were plenary discussions led by APAC council members and concurrent sessions encompassing research presentations, experiential workshops, and student presentations. The conference addressed diverse research topics, encompassing sustainability, inclusivity, positive adolescent development, historical perspectives, social inclusion, and the efficacy of different experiential learning approaches.

Plenary discussion with audience engagement

Plenary discussion on how inclusivity and sustainability are being incorporated into the programmes in various countries in the region

Plenary session in action in SUSS Lecture Theatre

The conference programme also included immersive experiential elements such as learning journeys to SUSS’ urban bee farm and institutional visits to Outward Bound Singapore and Republic Polytechnic that exemplified sustainability and inclusivity efforts by various organisations in Singapore. A pre-conference event was also held on 12 June where SUSS student leaders guided delegates through a challenge-based experience to get a glimpse of Singapore’s heritage and culture.  

Out-of-classroom concurrent workshop in action

Participants engaged in one of the many workshops

Participants at the end of their exciting workshop

Ms Yeo Lay, Vice-Dean of Students, expressed her hope that, as a community of practice, we would continue to strengthen the enactment of sustainability and inclusivity in experiential education as we put ideas into action after the conference where we celebrated leadership, fostered partnerships, recognised good practices, and explored ideas. 

The chairperson of the AEE-APAC Regional Council, Mr Liao Ping Huang also took the opportunity to announce India as the next host country for the AEE-APRC in 2024. 

Calvin Healey from Outward Bound Vietnam recounted his experience, “The conference went very well, we have been to some great sessions that are relevant to inclusivity and diversity. This conference provides lots of hands-on experiences and I have learnt a lot. It was brilliant.”  

Partners who contributed time, venue and manpower for this conference to come together

Chew Wee Ling, Chairman of the organising committee of AEE-APRC, shared that  “As the organiser, we were conscious about providing the participants with a packed yet fulfilling experience. This conference, which took about 10 months to assemble, was not an easy feat, but seeing the smiles and appreciation from the participants made it worthwhile. I am especially appreciative of the team who journeyed with me.” 

A gathering of practitioners and educators to learn, network and exchange the practice of Experiential Education

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