What are you currently studying and how are you involved with the ASEAN society?

I'm currently a Scientia PhD candidate based at The George Institute for Global Health, working on digital health in primary care for optimising care of breathlessness, a symptom of many diseases including lung disease, heart disease, obesity and psychosomatic disorders. I'm currently also Chief Executive Officer at the UNSW ASEAN Conference 2020 and Vice-President External for UNSW ASEAN Society.

How was the ASEAN society formed and what have been some of the highlights so far?

The UNSW ASEAN Society was formed in 2018 by a group of students of various backgrounds studying at UNSW. The shared interest in creating the society was a goal to promote greater understanding of issues in ASEAN nations. This is part of a greater initiative to connect ASEAN to Australia and the global landscape. Community, cultures and food also form an important fabric of ASEAN. Many of our members are from ASEAN backgrounds and we enjoy sharing our cultural diversity with each other and the greater UNSW community. One example of this is our recent series featured on our social media channels showcasing recipes from ASEAN home countries where students can share their favourite recipes from across ASEAN countries.

In its first year, the UNSW ASEAN Society held the inaugural UNSW ASEAN Conference, bringing renowned speakers from various parts of ASEAN and gaining support from stakeholders such as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Australia-ASEAN Business Council. We are also active in bringing greater understanding of ASEAN through our webinar series on migration, entrepreneurship, mental health and other relevant regional issues. We are grateful for the support and ongoing collaborations we have developed with other ASEAN country student societies in UNSW and are also starting new ones globally with societies from around the globe.

With the upcoming 2020 UNSW ASEAN Conference less than two weeks away, tell us more about what participants can expect this year.

The UNSW ASEAN Conference will present over 40 outstanding speakers including the Hon. Kevin Rudd (former Prime Minister of Australia) and the Hon. Prof. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (former President of Indonesia), former Ministers, CEOs, academics to activists talking about issues that matter to ASEAN and globally today. We are hosting sessions on a wide variety of topics including social entrepreneurship, human rights, cybersecurity, climate change, gender and women's empowerment and the impact of COVID-19. As part of our lineup, we are also holding exclusive mentoring sessions for conference participants. This enables participants to link with professionals from various companies including Atlassian, PWC and Microsoft to learn more about these issues beyond the conference.

How can industry partners support the work of the UNSW ASEAN society?

We are always open to developing partnerships with industry from Australia, ASEAN and globally. Our partners for the conference have included the ASEAN Foundation, Australia-ASEAN Business Council, ASEAN Business Advisory Council, Singapore Global Network and the Indonesia Diaspora Network Australia. We also encourage those interested in collaborating on other projects to reach out to us. Those interested to discuss partnership opportunities can contact us at aseansocunsw@gmail.com or marketing@unswaseansociety.com.

Finally, how can students best engage with the UNSW ASEAN society?

Getting involved in the ASEAN Society will make you a part of a community of ASEAN students at UNSW. You will gain opportunities for self-development and practical experience in organising events, managing projects as well as know-how in leadership, communication, reaching out to stakeholders including Prime Ministers and CEOs. There are also opportunities for fun during our gatherings and game nights. There is so much to gain and little to risk by being a part of the society. We are always open to everyone, even those outside of ASEAN, our committee currently consists of a diverse group from over 10 countries including Australia and China.