The conference in Tokyo was great fun and packed with information. It is very gratifying to see APCDA growing, and see all the ways we serve the needs of career practitioners in the Asia Pacific region. This conference included representatives from 15 countries/regions, including Australia, Canada, China (including Hong Kong, and Taiwan), Finland, India, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and Vietnam. We were saddened to learn that the Nepalese delegates were denied visas, but we hope to provide online services relevant to Nepal during the coming year.
Throughout the conference experience, old friendships were renewed, bringing a strong sense of core leadership. New friends were made, with several new friends now serving on the Board. Three exhibitors shared information about their products, including Kuder, Career Cruising, and Suzhou Success Partners Consulting. Dick Knowdell's Career Planning Network was represented via handouts in the packets. The conference included a silent auction to raise money for Emerging Leader Scholarships. Due to the generous donations of participants, we raised $760 for scholarships. This is enough for three full scholarships for the coming conference in Taipei.
The hard work of the Japanese Organizing Committee was evident in the smooth operation of the conference and several social events which facilitated networking, including a pre-conference meet-up the day before the conference (attended by about 30 people), lunchtime discussions to encourage communication among attendees, and a wonderful Rakugo performance at the reception. This traditional entertainment was performed by a Japanese career consultant, who told a story about a client seeking career advice which was filled with humor and infused with Japanese culture.
The presentations were packed with information about a wide variety of topics from public policy and advocacy, to developing culturally relevant career assessments, to working with clients in a variety of specific settings. Presentations were offered by most of the represented countries/regions, allowing attendees to glimpse the career services offered in these different countries/regions. Mr. Ryoji Tatsuno, President of the Japan Career Development Association, brought new insights into the social value of career services for youth. Many of the presentations were by first-timers, including Raimo Vourinen, Mary McMahon, Nancy Arthur, Mark Watson, Kyomi Banda and Deb Osborn. Evaluations praised the quality and variety of the presentations and attendees took home new ideas and energy to implement them.
Our founding father, Dr. Yao-Ting Sung of National Taiwan Normal University, received an award for providing the inspiration to initiate APCDA. Awards were also given to Singapore for the new career planning policy recently adopted by its government, to Dr. Shuh-Ren Jin for inspiring generations of career planning leaders in Taiwan and China, to JCDA/ACDA for their crucial support, and to Yoshiji Ishikawa who led the Japan Organizing Committee.
After an intense 3 days in Tokyo, many of us took the train to Tsukuba where the International Association of Educational and Vocational Guidance (IAEVG) Conference was held. It was fun to recognize friends among the much larger crowd in the Epochal Convention Center in Tsukuba. Some of us were able to visit a Japanese Junior High School and observe the ways the educational system in Japan weaves career education into the curriculum. We all enjoyed the Japanese Drum performance at the IAEVG Gala.