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Launching of the APFNet Alumni Network
APFNet has taken an important step this year by introducing closer ties and communication among Alumni and current students via launching of the APFNet Alumni Network. The mechanism for the creation of the Alumni Network was formally introduced during the first Asia-Pacific Forestry Youth Forum held from 8–11 December 2019 in Beijing Forestry University, which was attended by APFNet alumni and students. 

Participants at the First Asia-Pacific Forestry Youth Forum in December 2019. Photo: Beijing Forestry University

Launched in 2010, the APFNet Scholarship Program (ASP) provides support to forestry officials and researchers in the Asia-Pacific region who wish to pursue higher academic degrees focused on sustainable forest management and rehabilitation. The ASP does this by working with key partner universities and institutions in China and across the region.
 
With an increasing number of scholarship students every year, the APFNet Alumni Network was launched to help bring alumni together by establishing a self-governing platform that aims to further enhance knowledge and experience sharing, and also strengthen contacts and coordination among APFNet alumni across the Asia-Pacific region to promote regional forestry development and collaboration.

Mr Xia Jun addresses participants at the Forum. 

“APFNet is a big family for its members and each and every one contributes to and benefits from its programs and activities. APFNet Scholarship students have been and always will be an integral part of the APFNet community.” Mr Xia Jun, Assistant Executive Director of APFNet, said in opening remarks.
 
The creation of the Forum has four main strategies: 1) building linkage among alumni; 2) developing a culture of engagement; 3) information sharing; and 4) awards and recognition. During the Forum, Ricmar Pison Magarin, an APFNet Scholarship student from Beijing Forestry University who is also an Alumni Relations Assistant gave a presentation on the Alumni Network Strategy, sharing thoughts on how to successfully build and maintain an active network. A panel discussion focusing on sustainable development of forests in the Asia-Pacific region and strengthening ties with ASP alumni was also held, with ASP graduates from eight APFNet member economies taking part. 
 
“The APFNet Alumni Network is a great platform for alumni and students to build the network and share ideas. I am more than willing to support and help in the future activities of the alumni network” said Siriluck Thammanu, one graduate who expressed her support of the network.
 
To date, 156 students from 19 economies have been sponsored to undertake postgraduate studies, with alumni achieving masters’ degrees in forestry economics, forest science, soil and water conservation, forestry engineering and environmental engineering. Taking back what they have learned from the programme, most graduates continue their careers in government agencies, research institutes,  international organizations and NGOs, with others pursuing further qualifications at universities in China or at other renowned higher education institutes in Asia, North America and Europe.