I am combining these days because they were both conference days and not as much to write about as regular travel/ site-seeing days.
The conference I attended was the 5th Annual Global Communications Association Conference 2011. The title of the Conference was Global Power Shifts: Impact on Economy, Politics, Culture and Media. Why did I choose this conference? The award I got from work obligates me to attend an international conference. Some people who apply for the award find a conference and the country it is in is of secondary importance and some people choose a country or region they want to visit and then find a conference that will be held there. My approach was the former. I Google searched conferences that would be somewhat related to my line of work and found this conference, it just happened to be in Malaysia, so I submitted this conference with my application. At first I wasn’t too hyped about Malaysia and thought that I would actually come for the conference and then spend most of my time traveling to other countries in the region. After I started to prepare for my trip, I found that Malaysia definitely has three weeks’ worth
of fun to offer, so I am very, very glad I chose this conference and thus chose Malaysia to visit.
The conference was held at a very nice hotel, Hotel Istana—just about a 20 minute walk from my hotel. There were about 100 participants, so it was a very small group. There were 21 countries represented and probably about 4 other Americans, but all male professors.. The conference itself was good. The hot topic of the conference was Social Media and also the recent revolutions in the Arab world. My favorite parts of the conference were the breakout sessions where participants would present their research papers. Some of the more interesting topics of session I attended included discussions on:
“Social Media Overload: It’s influence on the impact to the Daily Lives of America’s Youth;”
“Crisis communication campaign through social media: How BP used Twitter to overcome the Gulf Oil Spill Crisis;”
“Characteristics of Malaysian Animation;”
“Why Horror Films?: An Explanatory Approach on its impact to the Malaysian Audience;”
and “Transnational Audience Reception as a Theater of Struggle: Young Filipino Women’s Reception of Korean Television Dramas.”
Quite a variety huh?
From those topics I learned a
lot more about Malaysian culture—I’ll probably share this in one of my last e-mails. There were a lot of people there focused on communications, public relations and areas like that—so it wasn’t quite what I expected, but overall I found it interesting. The food was good too—and very plentiful. We had a morning coffee break, lunch, and afternoon coffee breaks. The coffee breaks here are very nice—mini sandwiches, noodles, sweets.
I met quite a few very, very nice people as well. The first morning a Filipino lady came up to me and after introductions and said that the night before she had prayed she would meet a Christian—I guess I was good enough for her! We kind of buddied up for the rest of the conference. Also, she said that every morning when she opens her curtains she sees the Angel Moroni on top of the Cebu, Philippines temple!
On Thursday night after the conference they took us to Seri Melayu restaurant for a Malaysian buffet and Malaysian traditional dance and song. The food was good and the dancing was fun to see. See the pictures!
It was raining pretty steadily so my new Malaysian friends drove me
back to my hotel (two graduate students from the other Island in Malaysia). The girl who drove said I was the first Westerner to ever be in her car!
Overall the conference was good and memorable indeed.
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