Mekong Institute and Chiba University, Japan embark on a partnership to build capacities for the promotion of regional development, cooperation and integration. The partnership was solidified with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by MI’s Executive Director, Dr. Watcharas Leelawath and Chiba University President, Dr. Takeshi Tokuhisa on February 11, 2018 at the Nishi-Chiba Campus, Chiba University   .

The MoU paves the way for further exchange of expertise between the two institutions in the areas of joint research, trainings, meetings and symposia; scholar/professional exchange; and information-sharing and publication exchange, including the development of a GMS Resource and Information Network.

The signing ceremony preceded the international symposium titled “From Mekong Commons to Mekong Community” jointly organized by Chiba University and MI. Attended by over 40 delegates from government agencies, academe, research institutes and industry and civil society, the symposium featured discussions on issues of importance in the Mekong Region including public health and food security, sustainable environment and agriculture, and human trafficking and labor migration.

Delivering the keynote speech, Mr. Sudam Pawar, Director of MI’s Innovation and Technological Connectivity Department, underscored the need for discipline, collaboration and strategic reform to enable innovation-driven economic growth and inclusive development.

In their respective sessions, Ms. Maria Theresa Medialdia, Director of the Agricultural Development and Commercialization Department, noted the importance of innovative solutions to boost the competitiveness of small producers and SMEs in the region, further expounding on MI’s Food Safety Project; and Mr. Sa-nga Sattanun, Program Manager of Trade and Investment Facilitation Department, talked about MI’s project in support of green freight and logistics development.

Dr. Watcharas Leelawath, MI Executive Director, also served as one of the session discussants.

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