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Those who participated in Ohio University’s Graduate Colloquium on Malaysian Studies are pictured on the Athens Campus.

Those who participated in Ohio University’s Graduate Colloquium on Malaysian Studies are pictured on the Athens Campus.

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OHIO hosts successful Graduate Colloquium on Malaysian Studies


Ohio University’s Graduate Colloquium on Malaysian Studies brought graduate students from Malaysia and Japan to Athens recently to present their thesis projects, gain feedback and take part in several activities on campus and in the community.

The colloquium, held in Athens from Sept. 14-16, involved 17 students who are focusing on Malaysian topics in their master’s and doctoral programs. Two of the participants are studying at OHIO, one is studying in the Japan, and 14 are involved in programs in Malaysia.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” said Nafisa Ilhan Hussin, a lecturer in the Department of Social Studies and Citizenship at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris in Malaysia. She noted that all of the students involved in the colloquium were excited to be a part of the event at OHIO.

“I love it here,” she said, adding that she enjoyed meeting the people at OHIO and seeing the campus. She and many others in the group were especially impressed with Alden Library.

M.H. Haris, a graduate research assistant at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu in Malaysia, said he was also honored to be able to take part in the colloquium. The experience was helpful for him and the other participants with their research work, he explained.

During the colloquium, the participants presented their thesis projects and received feedback from OHIO faculty. Haris said the feedback was very helpful as it raised new questions about his research project as well as the projects of the other presenters.

Joe Shields, vice president of research and creative activity and dean of the Graduate College, delivered the keynote address for the colloquium and gave the students advice on succeeding in their graduate programs and their academic careers. Shields discussed key points for the students, including the need to show initiative, develop career intelligence and prepare for their futures.

“Think about going above and beyond,” Shields stressed to the students. He also answered questions about issues the colloquium participants are facing in their academic careers and problems they may need to solve as they work to advance after graduation.

Professor Jawan Jayum, the Tun Abdul Razak Chair Professor at OHIO, organized and led the colloquium.

“It has been my pleasure to welcome these Malaysian studies students,” Jayum said at the end of the colloquium. During his closing speech, he discussed how he has enjoyed living and working at Ohio University, and he encouraged the students to also enjoy their time in Athens and America.

“I hope you enjoy America as much as I have,” Jayum said.

Established in 1980, the Tun Abdul Razak Chair takes on several responsibilities at OHIO including conducting seminars and organizing international conferences. The Razak Chairs, who serve two-year terms at OHIO, are selected by the Malaysian Ministry of Education in consultation with the Tun Abdul Razak Council and OHIO. 

Jayum is currently in his second year at OHIO and is planning to host an International Conference on Malaysian Studies on campus in March 2017. 

While at OHIO, the Graduate Colloquium participants also had the opportunity to meet students in the Malaysian Student Association, have lunch with OHIO graduate students from a variety of majors, tour the campus, take part in special dinners and events with OHIO faculty and staff, and visit Old Man’s Cave.

For more information on the Graduate Colloquium or on the upcoming International Conference on Malaysian Studies, please visit the Tun Abdul Razak Chair website by clicking here

This article was provided by the Office of Global Affairs and International Studies.