President's Message: November 2023


Monica Kuo

After more than three years of Covid-19, starting from 2023, we have finally been able to resume more open and flexible international exchanges and travels. In September, I attended the IFLA Congress in Nairobi, Kenya, marking its 75th anniversary, allowing members from the five major global regions and representatives from various countries to gather in Nairobi and Stockholm.

While the pandemic has accelerated the continuous use of video conferences and various forms of virtual communication across time and space, there is still no substitute for face-to-face interactions, mutual embraces, handshakes, and warm greetings. Unfortunately, during my tenure as IFLA-APR President, which coincided with the pandemic, I missed conferences in Malaysia and Korea. Finally, I was able to catch up at this year's Tokyo Congress, reuniting with many old friends and making new acquaintances. This has been a rare and joyful gift for the transition of the presidency.

APR comprises representatives from 12 countries, totaling 14 members. Over the years, under the dedicated leadership of past presidents Damian Tang and Fumiaki Takano, as well as the continuous efforts of the Secretary-General, Treasurer, and various Committee and working group chairs, we have expanded our membership, including 114 corporate members and 157 individual members. With Damian's past vigorous promotion, we have also worked hard to expand the network of YLAA, to over 300 members hoping to encourage outstanding young landscape architecture students and professionals to become future outstanding landscape architects through student design workshops and to strengthen cross-disciplinary cooperation.

Facing rapid global climate change and socio-economic transformation, not to mention the war in Middle east, which had resulted in migration landscape, not only endangered human lives but also wreak havoc on the natural landscape. The commitment to net-zero by 2050 and the benchmarks are responsibilities that we as professionals must shoulder and cannot evade.

At this IFLA Congress, International President Bruno has also worked tirelessly to sign multiple MOUs with international cross-sector organizations, including IUCN/UN-Habitat/ASLA/CELA/WHO-ISUH/ICOMOS. During the pandemic, we also initiated Talk & Share through the internet to enhance cross-regional and cross- sector dialogue. Thanks to the efforts of various Committee Chairs, especially landscape without border, EAA, FBP, CER...etc., we are no longer working in isolation; we have initiated cross-committee cooperation.

The theme of this congress is "Living with Disaster," which has particularly awakened us to the fact that all of humanity is at an extreme turning point. Whether in professional practice or education, we must face the current vulnerability and future uncertainties. Therefore, landscape professionals should collaborate across disciplines, connect with professionals in related fields, and actively participate in global organizations and various initiatives.

I would like to thank Kotchakorn Voraakhom from Thailand for representing landscape architects in actively participating in past Cop meetings on the foundation of Climate Change. She has also demonstrated that landscape architects have the ability and interface to save the earth, restore the earth, and transform environmental spaces on a more macro and integrated scale. Damian, too, has cross-sector involvement in various dimensions of the Circular City initiative, bringing together planners, designers, scientists, and the business sector. This also links our multidimensional roles in SDGs and ESG issues.

In the future, APR will be led by the new President, Chris Tidswell, and his team of Exco. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Claire Martin, who contributed greatly to the climate change working group. I hope that delegates from various countries and all members will be able to showcase more timely, multidimensional, and effective professional contributions on our new Social Media platform, working hand in hand to face new challenges. Congratulations for Luminary Awards nominations and awardees Lin, Yu-Chang, Chinese Taiwan Landscape Architect Society (CTLAS); Xiong Li, Chinese Society of Landscape Architecture (CHSLA); Yuning Cheng, Chinese Society of Landscape Architecture (CHSLA); Fengchun He, Chinese Society of Landscape Architecture (CHSLA); Juyii Joseph Lee, Chinese Taiwan Landscape Architect Society (CTLAS); Toor Miyakoda, Japanese Landscape Architects Union (JLAU); Misato Uehara, Japanese Landscape Architects Union (JLAU) and YoungSun Jung, Korean Institute of Landscape Architecture (KILA). Thank you for your contribution to the industry and serve as great examples for our next generation. Once again, I want to extend my gratitude to the JLAU President’s Yoshiki Toda and Chair of IFLA APR Regional Congress 2023 Tatsuya Hiraga for their arrangements and wish the congress a successful and fruitful outcome! Let's pray for a better, brighter and peaceful tomorrow!


Highlight of 2023 IFLA-APR
Tokyo Congress

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