The fourth annual International Conference New Voices in Global Studies and Wellbeing 2016 was held on 4 March in the Convention Center of the Thailand Science Park in Pathumthani, Thailand. A total of 52 abstracts were submitted on the theme of “Equity in a Changing World”, of which 14 were accepted for oral presentation and 23 accepted for posters. The total of submissions was more than twice the number from the previous year (i.e., 24 submitted in 2015), reflecting the growing reputation of the conference. With the increase of submissions, members of the peer review technical committee, representing academic institutions and organizations from 11 countries, were able to demand more from those who submitted their research (i.e., the acceptance rate was 71%, compared to 96% in 2015.) The goal of the conference is to give new investigators a wider audience where their ideas can be heard, and their research given a critical review before an audience of their peers and colleagues.
Two welcoming addresses from the respective Deans of the Faculty of Public Health and the School of Global Studies (i.e., Dean Chaiyuth Chavalitnitikul spoke on “Global Health and Global Wellbeing”; Dean Nitaya Vajanapoom on “Inter-cultural Education of Global Health Students: Sharing North-South Experience) were followed by the Keynote Address made by the Rector of Thammasat University. His address, “Equity at risk in a Changing World”, emphasized significant themes of vital concern today: human rights, equity, health and well-being.
Young investigators participating in the conference came from major universities in Thailand (i.e., Chulalongkorn, Kasetsart, Mahidol, Srinakharinwirot, and Thammasat) and fromAustralia National University, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in Bangladesh, Airlangga University in Indonesia, Maastricht University in the Netherlands, and University of Santo Tomas and the Department of Health in the Philippines. At least 18 nationalities were represented in the conference reflecting the increasing diversity of participants and audience.
There were four prizes given for Best Oral Presentations (2) and Best Poster Presentation (2). For Best Oral Presentation, prizes went to Ms. Maya Dania, PhD student at the College of Asia Pacific, Australia National University, Canberra, Australia for an abstract entitled Community Violence and state accountability in Indonesia: The Indonesian comfort women in Post-WWII Era, and to Ms. Christelle Moussallem, candidate for MSc. In Global Health from Maastricht University, Netherlands for Sexual violence in conflict settings: A health-system response to victims from hosting and refugee communities. For Best Poster Presentation prizes went to Ms. Lina Brandt, MSc. Global Health candidate from Maastricht University for her poster The inclusiveness of society for children with disability in Nepal, and to Dr. Khine Su Win, School of Global Studies, Thammasat University, Thailand for Policy reform for sex work: Criminalization and decriminalization in the context of feminist ideologies, social determinants of health and human rights. Each Prize carried a cash award of THB 6000.
Sponsors for this year’s conference included Thammasat, Maastricht, and Mahidol Universities, the Public Health Institute of the Federal Health Ministry of Sudan, and Public Health Solutions, Ltd., an international consultancy firm in Hong Kong.