Conference: Asia-MENA AHRD Conference 2016

8 November 2016

This weekend I returned from nine days in Morocco for the 2016 AHRD Conference in Asia and MENA. The conference itself was November 2-4 in Ifrane, Morocco, which is known as the Switzerland of Morocco. In the picture above (courtesy of Dollaya Hemmapattawe who is far left in the picture), a group of us with Thai connections (including Gary McLean who teaches often at NIDA in Bangkok) got together for a photo.

My adviser at the George Washington University (GWU), Dr. Maria Cseh, was the opening keynote speaker, so I was especially proud to be there. The conference was small with fewer than 100 people attending and about 40 participants, but I found the intimate setting relaxing, fun, and full of community. The downside, of course, was several of the presentations I wanted to attend were during my session on Thursday morning.


Photo courtesy of Dollaya Hemmapattawe

I presented a paper with Dollaya and Dr. Cseh on “Corporate Universities and Corporation-University Partnerships in Thailand: Complimenting Education in Learning, Leadership, and Change.” We looked at all the corporate universities in Thailand (quite a few have popped up in the last 10 years) as well as the partnership programs that many corporations are creating with universities. We then analyzed two programs in-depth, looking at how they incorporate elements of learning, leadership, and change, which are the pillars of human resource development (HRD). Based on our investigation, I believe corporate universities are complimenting traditional higher education in Thailand in important ways, although there are risks to quality.


Photo courtesy of Dollaya Hemmapattawe

Before the conference, I was fortunate to spend a few days in Fes, Morocco (about one hour from Ifrane. Morocco is a beautiful country with rich culture, and Fes is the perfect city to demonstrate that. I had a few big projects due during that time, including a book chapter on teacher education in Thailand, so when I wasn’t touring the medina (old city), I was writing and editing. Here is the view from the roof of my riad:

img_0353A riad is a traditional Moroccan  house in the old city. Riads have massive sunroofs that allow the sun to shine in the interior of the house. All the rooms face this open interior, which makes for a cozy place to spend time and enjoy coffee, fruit, and breads.

I hope to return to Morocco sometime with Khai so we can explore the Sahara and other parts of Morocco, like Marrakesh, which I didn’t have the chance to explore this time around. Wishing you all the best! Now, time to vote.



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