Regional Awards

SAELA showcases and promotes the value of education, training and research and their roles in fostering stronger people-to-people and institutional links between Australia and SEAMEO Member Countries (MC).  It focuses on innovations in the field of education cooperation between Australia and Southeast Asia. The Award also acknowledges and rewards innovative projects or proposals demonstrating effective and inspiring efforts of individuals, groups, education institutions, or organizations to improve education cooperation and linkages across the SEAMEO region and between SEAMEO MC and Australia.  SAELA recognizes cross-border partnerships on education which promote inter-cultural understanding.  It will also support regionalization of education while promoting the importance of and respect for local wisdom.

Education link as suggested by the Award’s name includes existing initiatives in educational cooperation which have proven to be effective and beneficial to Southeast Asia and Australia.  It can also be proposals or innovative ideas which carry the potential in improving education in the region.  Projects and proposals may include event organizations, academic or student exchanges, an education or research development programmes, and other activities.  Proposals for scholarships and research in Australia are, however, not considered for the SAELA programme


As recognition for exemplary research by Southeast Asian nationals, the annual award was established in 1990 with the support of the Government of Canada. The 2018/2019 theme follows the priorities of both SEAMEO and the Canadian Government. SEAMEO Priority Area No. 2 aims to address barriers to inclusion and access to basic learning opportunities. Similarly, Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy seeks to eradicate poverty and build a more peaceful, more inclusive and more prosperous world.


Plastic pollution is one of the most serious threats to our environments, creating toxic exposure in every phase of its life cycle. The scale of problems created by plastic cups, bottles and containers is growing along with our population.

Plastics often contain additives making them stronger, more flexible, and durable. But many of these additives can extend the life of products if they become litter, with some estimates ranging to at least 400 years to break down.

Currently 13 million tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans every year. An estimated accumulation of 12 billion tons by the year 2050 lead to break outlook for all life, damaging the human health, the environment and the global economy. Millions of animals are killed by plastic every year, from birds to fish to other marine organisms. Nearly 700 species, including endangered ones, are known to have been affected by plastics. It has been reported that China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam generate more ocean plastic waste than the rest of the world combined.

To reduce and prevent the plastic waste from harming our environment and life, the 2020 SEAMEO-Japan ESD Award selects the theme “Addressing Plastic Problems for Transforming Communities”.