Dear members and alumni,

registration has closed now. We are happy to inform you that it was possible to help quite a number of GYA members to make their AGM attendance possible. Such great news and we’re so exited: So far, this year’s AGM is the meeting with the largest member participation, yet.

From here on out, these mailings will only be sent to those of you who’ve registered for Pattaya. This week we’re going to look at what Working Group Time at the AGM will mean, what will be done in terms of remote participation, those early birds and how to be part of the excursion on 12 May.

Bangkok Excursion on 12 May: Please register now

Here are further details on the 12 May optional excursion. In order to fully organise the day, please be so kind to register for the program through this link. The day trip will cost EUR 65 / person. This will include:

  1. an English guided tour to the Grand Palace
  2. lunch on the Chao Praya River
  3. two hours at your leisure at the Central World shopping centre (in downtown BKK)

The excursion on 12 May will start at our AGM Hotel Dusit Thani in Pattaya at 08:00 hrs. After the excursion you and your luggage will either be dropped off at the Central World Shopping Centre in downtown Bangkok (for those of you extending your stay in BKK and Thailand) or at Suvannabhumi International Airport at approx. 18:00 hrs (for those going back home).

Find more information (including details on dress code for the Grand Palace) is posted here: Bangkok Excursion on 12 May.

What to do with the Working Group time at the AGM?

Use time at AGM to mingle well: The AGM is planned to provide ample time for the WGs to meet and brainstorm over issues of common interest, to analyse the ups and downs of the past year and to plan their activities for the coming months. Do engage with the Office staff as well as the EC – bring up concerns or ideas. Remember, every obstacle may just be an opportunity in disguise.

A WG needs a structure: The AGM is the time for many activities and for cross talk between working groups, for members to join and leave groups, and thus for restructuring them. Do consider how your group can attract new members, whether it is necessary to elect new co-leads or any other position that your group may need in order to continue running smoothly.

The Working Group Fair: Did you know that there will be a Working Group Fair? It’s the perfect stage to showcase everything your fellow GYA members will need to know about your working group. Use this as an opportunity to attract new members for your group.

Plan ahead: You should have a run-down prepared of exactly the things you feel should be discussed. Do write it down; often a small selection of notes can be a perfect start. Everyone appreciates fellow work-mates that come prepared. The best-case scenario would be to have looked at year-long timeframe and consider making plans (setting milestones) for those 12 months to come.

What if the time’s not enough: Often, at the end of the AGM, members leave feeling that there wasn’t enough time to discuss everything and to make concrete plans for the future. In spite of the efficient e-communication that we are all adept at using, sometimes gaps remain, and at times, these can evolve into rifts that are unbridgeable through virtual meetings. This is where a good structure comes into play: active working group co-leads can be an immense help in keeping things running smoothly. Should problems arise nonetheless: never hesitate to contact the Office (or directly) with questions or concerns.

Last but not least, there will be a guideline concerning the setting up and management of the Working Groups within the coming weeks. Keep your eyes peeled and do check our monthly newsletter for further details on when you can get a hold of it.

Attendance from afar

You might remember this already being mentioned in last month’s newsletter: We will allow for those not in attendance to be part of the audience, or to participate remotely. This will be done in one of two ways.

1) Online Streaming: Certain sessions suitable for a non-member audience will be streaming on our youtube channel and will later be available for viewing. The online streaming will go strictly one way. From us, to the audience. A feedback channel is not planned for this (other than possibly leaving a comment on youtube or later Facebook).

2) Remote participation: To allow members to dial-in, certain internal GYA sessions will be opened to them joining us from a remote location. We will contact those eligible for remote participation separately and inform them about how to join in.

Do you know any fellow GYA members who cannot come to Pattaya but would still like to participate? Make sure to share this information with them, and please point out that they should get in contact with to be able to join us from home.

Conference mornings: The early bird and such.

This week, instead of the reminder about what to pack or what to consider while traveling Thailand we’re going to look at all the fun things the LOC and POC are planning for the early morning hours during our week in May.

Morning (Pre-Breakfast) Activities at the AGM
This year’s conference topic addresses healthy ageing – where better to start than by taking care of our own mental and physical health? If your health needs are best met by sleeping until breakfast, or just taking a moment to quietly absorb the scenery – then that’s what you should do! But if you are an active morning person, here are some options for you as well:

Making Merits (every day)
Making merits is a Buddhist practice focused on giving and letting go. The Dusit Thani Pattaya hotel invites monks to come to the hotel every morning at 7am. Normally, one can participate without signing up, but we will have sign-up sheets at the GYA registration table, so that we can alert the hotel approximately how many people to expect from our group each morning.

What is making merits more precisely?
It is a practice that emphasizes giving, sharing and letting go. People line up to make merit to monks one by one, and a monk gives a blessing or Buddhist teachings to the giver.

What should I bring?
The amount of food/water really depends on how much each person would like to give. Typically, Thai people would give food/water for a monk to eat (and survive a day with a single meal). The food/water should not be leftover but something that has been bought or well prepared with the intention of giving in the first place. You can ask about a ‘merit set’ at the hotel, at least the night before.

Yoga (9 May)
A yoga class has been organised for the morning of 9 May. Sign up is first come-first serve, we will have a sign-up sheet at registration. We do already know some of you are interested in doing yoga at the AGM: Simon Elsässer, Yoko Shimpuku, Anina Rich and Anna Coussens. You should absolutely join them.

Running / jogging / walking (possibly every day)
Several GYA members would like to lead or co-lead morning jogs or walks. Sign-up sheets and meeting points / times will be available at registration.

Frisbee (10 May)
GYA EC member Anna Coussens (South Africa) has offered to play a round of frisbee and teach some skills as a morning activity.

A word of advice from fellow members.

Elena Bennett (Outgoing): Elena Bennett is an Associate Professor at McGill. Her discipline is limnology and marine sciences. She has won awards for undergraduate teaching, graduate supervision, contributions to campus sustainability, and contributions to sustainability in her local community. She has been a member since 2013, and will become a GYA Alumna this year.

I think my biggest piece of advice would be to get involved. […] I am close with a few colleagues who are deeply involved (Jeremy Kerr, Kai Chan) and I know they have gotten a lot out of being part of GYA and feel very strongly about it. […] GYA is really a great group of people and I’m glad to have been a part of it, even if I did stay somewhat peripheral.

Thank you, Elena.

This week, there’s more than one quote we’d like to share. Second up is the following:

Andrew Pelling (Outgoing): Andrew Pelling is an associate professor cross-appointed in the Departments of Physics and Biology at the University of Ottawa. He was named a Canada Research Chair in 2008, received an NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement Award in 2009 and an Ontario Early Researcher Award in 2010. In 2013, Andrew became a member of the GYA, meaning he’s outgoing this year.

It’s been a few years since I’ve been very active within the GYA. I’ve made several close friends through the GYA. […] I’m sure that will have a positive impact for many, many years.

Thank you, Andrew.

And third time’s the charm:

Aysha Fleming (First Year): Aysha Fleming is a sociologist based in Hobart, Tasmania. Dr Fleming has an academic background in adult education, social research in agriculture, communication of climate change and rural sociology. She is particularly interested in language and engaging rural communities with learning and change and uses discourse analysis or research interviews to understand how best to promote lasting change.

I am still discovering new opportunities and ways to participate so to get involved in everything you can and keep a constant eye out for new possibilities!

Thank you, Aysha!

This is it for this week. We hope you are all well and preparing for your time in Pattaya. Let us know if you have any questions or suggestions by simply sending an email to .

See you in Thailand!