SEAMEO SPAFA successfully held her 38th Governing Board Meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam from 12-13 September 2023. The University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University – VNU (USSH) was the venue of the Centre’s 2-day meeting.
7 of the 11 SEAMEO-member country Governing Board (GB) Members were able to attend physically – namely: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand (appointed representative) with two joining via Zoom (Brunei Darussalam and Vietnam). An advisor to GB Member of Vietnam, Prof. Dr. Lâm Thị Mỹ Dung, who is a Professor of Archaeology and Heritage and Chair of Archaeology Dept. and Director of Museum of Anthropology was present. Indonesia was also present at the meeting as an observer, together with an observer from USSH. We were also pleased to welcome SEAMEO Secretariat Deputy Director (Administration and Communication), Ms Pintip Iamnirath, who was an Ex-Officio member together with SEAMEO SPAFA Centre Director, Mr Khemchat Thepchai. The Deputy Director-General of International Cooperation Department from the Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam, and the Vice Chairman of USSH were also in attendance upon arrival at the University to welcome the delegates and give welcome addresses.
On the first day of the meeting (12 September 2023), delegates were picked up from their hotel and taken to USSH, with the meeting starting off with participants introducing themselves followed by the nomination of the 38th GBM’s Chairperson: GB Member of Singapore assumed the role as Chair, taking over from former Board Chair – GB Member of the Philippines. SEAMEO SPAFA then reported to the Board on her previous activities (Fiscal Year 2022-2023) and presented her upcoming ones (Fiscal Year 2023-2024) along with other Centre matters (e.g. staff, budget, etc.).
After the first day of meeting, the delegates were then treated to a tour led by the Advisor to the GB Member of Vietnam at ‘The Museum of Anthropology’ located within USSH. Delegates were able to view artefacts and documents related to material culture of ethnic groups in Vietnam. This was then followed by the official Welcome Dinner hosted by our Vietnamese hosts, where local cuisine was accompanied by a traditional Vietnamese performance.
The second day (13 September 2023) of SEAMEO SPAFA’s 38th Governing Board Meeting (GBM) started off with a morning excursion to the National Assembly House and Thăng Long Imperial Citadel. After a delicious lunch of local cuisine at Ngon restaurant, delegates quickly freshened up back at the hotel before returning to USSH to go over the proceedings from the first day’s meeting and for further discussions on SEAMEO SPAFA’s activities. At this time, SEAMEO SPAFA Centre Director was interviewed by a local TV news channel with regards to the meeting and about his views on archaeology and cultural heritage in the region and Vietnam.
At the end of the second day, gifts and tokens of appreciation were exchanged between SEAMEO SPAFA, USSH and delegates before heading to A Ban restaurant for the Farewell Dinner. During dinner, SEAMEO SPAFA Director had a special surprise for the GB Members, Ex-Officio Member and Observer from Indonesia: portraits of themselves and/or a painting of Hanoi scenery.
SEAMEO SPAFA wishes to thank all of the delegates for taking time from their busy schedules to provide their important inputs, advice and suggestions and for making SEAMEO SPAFA’s 38th Governing Board Meeting possible. And also to the gracious hospitality of USSH and Vietnam for hosting SEAMEO SPAFA’s 38th GBM.