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The APO Liaison Officers’ Meeting, held at the Secretariat in Tokyo, 27−29 August 2008, brought together 22 liaison officers and senior project coordinators from 18 member countries. The objective of the meeting was to enhance the partnership between the Secretariat and liaison officers, thus maximizing the efficiency and benefits of APO projects and services to member countries.
This year’s meeting was of major importance given that half of the participating countries had appointed new liaison officers since the previous meeting in 2006. APO Secretary-General Shigeo Takenaka emphasized the importance of this meeting for the new liaison officers by stating in his opening remarks that, “This meeting will give you firsthand observations on the set-up, working environment, and operation of the APO Secretariat…. I trust that this will deepen and enrich our working relationship.”
The first agenda item at the meeting was related to the nomination of participants. The Secretariat emphasized the importance of qualified participants to ensure the success of APO projects. The Secretariat also stressed the necessity for qualified national experts for research projects. The liaison officers agreed that the quality of participants had overriding importance. Later in the meeting, presentations and discussions centered on the Secretariat’s new program initiatives such as e-learning and the Development of NPOs (DON) Program as well as other project-related matters.
On the afternoon of the second day, participants visited the International Productivity Center (IPC), the training center of the Japan Productivity Center for Socio-Economic Development (JPC-SED) in Hayama, around 35 km from Tokyo. The liaison officers were impressed by the IPC, which is equipped with the latest facilities. The beauty of its views and the quality of accommodations were also appreciated.
The three-day meeting ended with all those involved sharing a deeper understanding of the relationships not only between the Secretariat and liaison officers but also among the liaison officers themselves. APO Program Manager Ishfaq A. Sheikh, NPO Pakistan, said in his closing remarks on behalf of the participants, “We will continue to make programs more substantial and so contribute toward the fulfillment of APO objectives both efficiently and effectively.”