Second Asian Students Environmental Platform Held in South Korea
The Asian Students Environmental Platform (ASEP 2013) organized by the AEON Environmental Foundation was held from August 2 to 8, 2013, in South Korea. Eighty university students, twenty from each of Tsinghua University (China), Waseda University (Japan), Korea University (South Korea) and Vietnam National University, Hanoi (Vietnam) participated in this forum. This year, under the theme of "The Environment and Humans," the students held active discussions transcending national borders and cultural differences.
In support of the establishment of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity, the Foundation started the ASEP as a ten-year project from 2012 in order to nurture global-minded individuals in the environment field. The inaugural event of the last year was held in Japan, and sixty university students from China, Japan and South Korea exchanged opinions on biodiversity. From 2013 on, Vietnam newly participated in the ASEP.
This year, the eighty students learnt about the use of natural resources appropriate for respective regions and discussed what humans can do for sustainable coexistence with nature in order to resolve environmental issues such as the exploitation of natural resources associated with the development of modern industries. Diverse programs including lectures by specialists and fieldwork were held in order to enhance the knowledge of students.
At Jeju Island, the students climbed the UNESCO World Heritage Site, “Geomun Oreum,” and visited the Warm-temperate and Subtropical Forest Research Center's environmental conservation test area of the Korea Forest Research Institute (KFRI). In addition, they visited the huge tidal flat, “Saemageum,” observed the reclamation work there, and planted commemorative trees. In Seoul City, each group of students conducted public questionnaires. The eighty students from the four countries repeated discussions with deepening friendships.
On the last day of the ASEP, the students gave presentations about sustainable future based on their experiences during the forum. “Co-existence with nature” and “environmental management” were proposed in their presentations. At the closing ceremony, certificates were presented by Mr. Takuya Okada, Chairman of the AEON Environmental Foundation, and the 2nd ASEP successfully ended.
The 3rd ASEP will be held in China. With each subsequent year, the ASEP aims to extend participation to the various Asian countries, and provide a border-less venue for Asian university students to contemplate the environment from a global standpoint.