In the third session, the futurist committee led by Akim, Azis and APPT, also known as the 3 ‘A’s, held a discussion with the participants on the upcoming plans that they have for the 13th SEANLP. This discussion was facilitated and guided by the honorable Dr. Corazon VC Barba, Professor Emeritus of the Institute of Human Nutrition and Food of the College of Human Ecology, University of the Philippines Los Banos, and Dr. Khor Geok Lin.
Before the session, the futurist committee had instructed the participants to complete a survey on the plans that they have suggested. Conversing via Email and WhatsApp was the most popular mode of communication that the participants have chosen. It is essential that we align our expectations as this will be the main channel of our communication which is fundamental for future collaboration. Another pertinent question that we discussed was the kind of activities that the participants are looking forward to in the future. Research collaboration stood out and this was the main focal point of our discussion in the third session.
A few proposals were raised during the discussion such as the involvement in the school-based nutrition promotion working group, school garden, and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) grants are notable mentions.
Prof Barba cautioned that there are many factors that we need to consider in research collaboration. While collaborations take time to develop and advance, we need to be realistic in our planning and SEANLP serves as a great platform and the first touch point for the participants to meet and connect in preparation for future collaborations. As we are seeing many countries’ participation in the 13th SEANLP (7 countries), Prof Khor also suggested that we can welcome more countries to the program, not limiting to countries in the Southeast Asia. Perhaps an Asia-Pacific Nutrition Leadership Program in the upcoming years. Taking in the suggestions of our facilitators, the futurist committee, along with the 13th SEANLP participants, has agreed to make small, but focused plans, mainly focusing on sustainable networking and information sharing.