Distinguished guests and participants,

It is with great pleasure that we welcome you to ASPAC Conference 2024 (the Asia-Pacific Network of Science & Technology Centres conference of 2024) at the Gwacheon National Science Museum. Professor Tit Meng LIM, president of ASPAC, the executive committee members, and all participants, I extend our heartfelt gratitude for your presence at this momentous gathering.

Since its grand opening on November 14, 2008, the Gwacheon National Science Museum has proudly stood as one of Korea's premier science museums. Through our six permanent exhibition halls, state-of-the-art astronomical observatory with planetarium, captivating insectarium, and a diverse array of online and offline educational and cultural programs, we are unwavering in our commitment to fostering scientific literacy among the public. Moreover, in line with our dedication to environmental responsibility, we have embarked on an ambitious initiative since 2023 to establish a carbon-neutral system, paving the way for our transformation into an environmentally sustainable science museum.

The overarching theme of ASPAC 2024 is ‘LINK: Communicate with Empathy!.’ The conference emphasizes the role of science museums as communicators and mediators, connecting individuals, communities, and the world to enhance understanding of the scientific issues faced by humanity and enable the pursuit of prosperous lives.

LINK, an essential value that underpins our collective pursuit of scientific understanding and progress, encompasses the sub-themes of Literacy, Inclusion, Networking, and K-Science Culture. ASPAC Conference will be a special opportunity for participants from diverse cultures and an opportunity to come together, linked as one. Empathy serves as the cornerstone of fostering mutual understanding and respect. Throughout this conference, we encourage active listening, open-mindedness, and a willingness to embrace diverse perspectives. By sharing our ideas and collaborating through open dialogue, we can collectively chart a path towards a brighter future. Science and technology are not merely forces that reshape our world; they also serve as powerful tools for communication and connection. Through empathy and effective communication, we can bridge divides, explore innovative solutions, and pave the way for sustainable development.

We anticipate that ASPAC Conference 2024 will serve as a transformative experience for all participants, fostering empathy, communication, and the forging of enduring professional networks. May our collective journey over the next five days enrich our understanding of one another and propel us towards mutual growth.

Thank you for your esteemed presence.

Ms. Hyung Joo HAN

President, Gwacheon National Science Museum

Amidst the serious stresses and challenges in the world and the impact of all these in our work, we find strength in the family spirit we engender in ASPAC. Yes, it is the professional work we do that wove the network we have but the soul of the network is inhabited by our family spirit.

We can see this in the voluntary service of leaders in the network who have conceived, organized and executed online and in-person projects. We see this in member institutions volunteering to host EXCO in-person meetings, synching the hosting of ASPAC Masterclass for Emerging Leaders (AMEL) with their own programs to expand the cultural experience of science engagement among our teams. We have had members voluntarily sponsoring the participation of ASPAC members in international symposiums they host in their institutions. We see this in the active, working members of the Executive Committee who are composed of not just CEOs but also of emerging leaders, evolving a model of intergenerational consensus building in forging a direction for our network.

Our ASPAC family has gotten much closer in the last few years. The pandemic suspensions of what we have been familiar with as our science center/museum “work” have forced us to reimagine, re-energize our family spirit. And this will be further be honed by what ASPAC Conference 2024 will be about – EMPATHY.

ASPAC would like to express our profound gratitude to Gwacheon National Science Museum for hosting ASPAC Conference 2024 and offering the theme of “empathy” – a scarce “element” that we have an abundance of, within us all to give.

I have great faith and hope that every member who will participate in this conference will form an empathetic link with one another on so many levels. More so, that we will go back to our institutions and share what we all helped to build: the ASPAC family. This is a family where we respect each other’s differences while holding an abiding commitment to what we can achieve together to make the world better through science engagement in the region.

Thank you very much to all of you for being part of our unique ASPAC family.

Prof. Tit Meng LIM

President, ASPAC

ASPAC Conference 2024

Gwacheon National Science Museum

110, Sanghabeol-ro, Gwacheon-si, Gyeonggi-do, 13817, Korea

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