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Participants urged to explore Sabah
Published on: Friday, May 17, 2024
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Participants urged to explore Sabah
Liew (centre) receiving a document on the 22nd ISQOLS Annual Conference 2024 from Dr Lasimbang. On her left is Lai.
Kota Kinabalu: It is a good opportunity for participants of the 22nd International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) Conference 2024, especially first-time visitors, to explore and discover the beauty of Sabah and its natural attractions. 

State Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Christina Liew said after a briefing by the Director of Hospital Universiti Malaysia Sabah (HUMS) Prof Dr Helen Benedict Lasimbang who led a delegation to pay a courtesy call on her, recently.

“I call on the delegates and their accompanying families to avail themselves of the pre and post-conference tours offered by local tour operators,” Liew said.

About 200 international participants from five continents have confirmed attendance. Among them will be economists, psychologists, sociologists, healthcare professionals and civil society organisations.

The Minister was pleased to learn that many of the delegates have started making inquiries about the “Land Below The Wind”.

ISQOLS is an international, multidisciplinary society focusing on researching, implementing and assessing solutions to quality of life (QoL) issues, and giving quality of life studies an academic framework.

Dr Lasimbang, who is Chairperson of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), said the conference is being organised by UMS and will be held from June 25 to 28 at the Sabah International Convention Centre.

Briefing the Minister, she said: “ISQOLS conferences are envisioned as a gathering of scholars from all corners of the world, from different disciplines, with different methodological and theoretical perspectives, and following different approaches, but with one common goal, and that is, generating research-based knowledge to contribute to the well-being in societies.

 “The theme of the conference ‘Human Happiness and Wellbeing in an Uncertain World’, reflects both the changes that have occurred in our world post-pandemic, and the unique capacity for post traumatic growth and QoL improvement.  

 “This is a truly multi-disciplinary conference as QoL is everyone’s responsibility. We are meeting in one assembly to collectively solve QoL issues.”

 Dr Lasimbang added that this ISQOLS conference serves as a platform for scholars to provide their research findings on QoL, well-being and happiness, as well as to discuss their relevance for policy-making.

“Local policy-makers and leaders of government, academia and industry will also be in attendance in the hope that they will gain insights to change local policies with global values. We are involving local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), grassroots movements and community leaders, too.”  

Keynote speakers, who are pioneers and leaders in Quality of Life in the Asia Pacific region, include Liz’s son Simon Eckermann, Senior Professor of Health Economics at Wollongong University Australia; Andrew Clark, ISQOLS Board Member, and Chaired Professor of Paris School of Economics cum Director of the National Centre for Scientific Research; and the ISQOLS 2018 Young Scholar Award recipient Mohsen Joshanloo, who is Associate Professor in Psychology at Keimyung University South Korea cum Honorary Principal Fellow, Centre for Wellbeing Science, University of Melbourne. 

Representing Malaysia is Jannie Lasimbang, Chairman of the Rural Development Corporation (KPD), Sabah since February 2023, and a leader both in government and in the voluntary sector.

According to Dr Lasimbang, it was the ISQOLS past president, the late Liz Eckermann (who grew up in Sabah) who envisioned and successfully bid for an ISQOLS Conference in Sabah. 

She informed the Minister that Universiti Malaysia Sabah won the bid to host the 2022 conference (postponed to 2024 due to the pandemic) at the 2018 conference. “Sadly, Liz passed on in 2019, and it is in her memory that finally, this conference is hosted in the land of her birth.” 

Members of the delegation were HUMS Deputy Director (Research & Innovation) Assoc Prof Dr Nicholas Pang Tze Ping,  Head of Department of Psychiatry and Psychological Health Dr Thong Vie Cheong, Head of Dental Department Dr Petrina Alam, Assistant Registrars Nurul Izza Md Nordin and Apriline Rose Damian and Dr Lasimbang’s Personal Assistant Colette Lydia Miller.

Also present was the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Josie Lai Mei Sing.

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