The founding of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment-Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASLE-ASEAN) was commemorated with an inaugural conference on Southeast Asian environmental literatures, titled Global in the Local. The event took place at the Shaw Foundation Building, NUS, 1-2 August 2016.
The conference was a grand success, with oral and poster presentations conducted by over thirty academic and non-academic environmental humanities specialists from various ASEAN nations. Participating nations this year included Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore. The event was also graced by an international panel of plenary speakers: Professors Scott Slovic, Yuki Masami and Hannes Bergthaller, from ASLE-International, ASLE-Japan and ASLE affiliate in Europe and the University of Taipei, respectively.
In addition to stimulating ecocritical dialogue and interconnectivity in the region, ASEAN nature writing was also showcased. The event featured a book launch, booths by two publishers, as well as three creative eco-readings by poets Edwin Thumboo and Madeleine Lee, and novelist Christine Suchen Lim. The conference proceedings concluded with an ecotour of Labrador Park, which saw participants venturing out of their conference rooms and into the mangroves.
During this event, the ASEAN ecocritics collectively elected the first executive council for ASLE-ASEAN, which features a diverse range of delegates from various ASEAN nations:
A Treasurer (Singaporean) from The Nature Society of Singapore;
Two Secretaries (Both from Thailand);
Two Vice Presidents (one from the Philippines, the other Malaysian);
The Founding President of ASLE-ASEAN (Singaporean)
The elected executive council also formally ratified the nomination of a student representative – a graduate student from ELL, NUS.
The event would not have been possible without the participation of all delegates, but thanks also go out to administrative staff and graduate student chairs from the Department of English Language and Literature for their hard work and selfless contributions.