10TH UNIVERSITY SCHOLARS LEADERSHIP SYMPOSIUM
INSPIRING CONFIDENCE INSPIRE CHANGE
KUALA LUMPUR â€“ MALAYSIA AUGUST 1 TO 7, 2019
PG 11 - 12
What is USLS?
PG 13 - 14
How Different is USLS?
PG 15 - 16
Leadership Is Not Rocket Science
PG 17 - 20
Create A Better World
PG 21 - 22
The Man And His Dreams
PG 23 - 26
PG 27 - 28
10 Years Igniting Passions within Youth
PG 29 - 34
Malaysia Truly Asia
THE SERVICE DAY
P G 89 - 90
A New Look
P G 91 - 92
P G 93 - 94
P G 95 - 96
P G 97 - 98
P G 99 - 100 Superpark
THE LEARNING CURVE
PG 37 - 40
Lead The World Into Positive Change
PG 41 - 42
Young People Changing The World
PG 43 - 46
What’s Servant Leadership?
PG 47 - 48
Living On One Dollar A Day
PG 49 - 52
PG 53 - 56
P G 1 11 - 112
P G 1 13 - 114
Not Tomorrow, But Today
P G 1 15 - 116
P G 1 17 - 118
P G 1 19 - 120
PG 57 - 60
Transforming Our World
P G 1 21 - 122
My New Self
PG 61 - 64
P G 1 23 - 124
Put Others First
PG 65 - 68
Kid Changing The World
P G 1 25 - 126
Desire to Make a Change
PG 69 - 70
Stepping Forward To Serve
PG 71 - 74
Youths Leading In Social Change
P G 1 27 - 128
PG 75 - 76
I Am A Refugee
P G 1 29 - 130
A Tribute To Our Partners
PG 77 - 78
A Dialogue With 100 Refugees
P G 1 31 - 132
A Salute To Our Interns
PG 79 - 80
The Feeling, The Emotions at USLS
P G 1 33 - 134
Testimonials from Educators
OVERVIEW UNIVERSITY SCHOLARS LEADERSHIP SYMPOSIUM The University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) has been motivating the youth for ten years now. Throughout those years, Humanitarian Affairs Asia has been in charge of organising the symposium, ensuring delegates from around the world can attend talks by speakers from around the world – not just speakers but humanitarians actively affecting positive change within the world in every field imaginable. USLS is specifically designed for the next generation, as to teach the youth how to understand the ever-changing world around them then to lead that world into sustainability. By attending USLS, delegates are given the chance to put their passion into practice but if that passion is still unknown, delegates are instead given the chance to realise what their passion is through the promptings of the speakers. USLS is, in fact, the first step to a lifetime of servant leadership. As the first ever USLS was hosted in Melaka, Malaysia, it seemed fitting for the tenth anniversary to take place where it all started. The 10th USLS 2019 was officiated by the Malaysia Prime Minister, YAB Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The 10th USLS was an unforgettable week of learning, sharing, and forming global networks as to help communities in need for the better. Besides listening to motivational speakers, the delegates were also given the opportunity to actually act, and impact, instead of just listening; this was done through service day whereby the delegates were split into groups that embarked on different volunteering programs, as to maximise their shared impact. In fact, one of these groups actually managed to remove 450 kg of waste from a local river – this was done in order to preserve the fireflies’ habitat. Not only was this year a milestone for USLS but it was also the year with the most delegates in attendance – over a thousand youngsters that were seeking to lead. These delegates originated literally from around the world, creating a space for citizens of the globe to share their stories as to bridge global gaps by remembering how we are all connected through our shared stories.
10TH UNIVERSITY SCHOLARS LEADERSHIP SYMPOSIUM
Y B r s . D r. Z a i d B i n O m a r D i re c t o r, Ho l i s t i c St u d e n t D eve l o p m e n t D i v i s i o n Ministry of Education Malaysia
Y B h g . Da t i n Pa d u k a I r. D r . S i t i H a m i s a h B i n t i Ta p s i r Director General of Higher Education Ministry of Education Malaysia
Y B h g . Da t o’ D r. Mo h d G a z a l i B i n A b a s C h i e f S e c re t a r y, Mi n i s t r y of Ed u c a t i o n Ma l ays i a
YA B D a t o ’ A m i r u d i n B i n S h a r i Chief Minister Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
Y B D r. Ma s z l e e B i n Ma l i k Minister of Education, Malaysia
YA B Tu n M a h a t h i r B i n M o h a m a d Prime Minister of Malaysia
M r. K i m S o l o m o n Secretary General, Humanitarian Affairs Asia
Y B Te o N i e C h i n g Deputy Minister of Education, Malaysia
YBhg. Datuk Zulkefli Bin Hj. Sharif CEO, Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau
Miss Janice Leong Re g i o n a l D i re c t o r, H u m a n i t a r i a n Af f a i r s A s i a
M r . Fe l i p e Q u e i p o Communications Officer Department of Global Communications United Nations Headquarter
YBhg. Prof. Emeritus Datuk D r. S u k i m a n S a r m a n i Chairman, Universiti Kuala Lumpur
T H E SY M P OS IU M
WHAT IS USLS? Humanitarian Affairs Asia organises the University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) annually, curating a week-long leadership development program in collaboration with the government of the host country. USLS aims to encourage young minds to start-up new initiatives that help communities in need. Naturally, tackling these social problems can be a daunting task - especially when the problems revolve around climate issues, poverty, and inequality; these issues can be overwhelming to tackle as they permeate the globe but that’s why USLS exists. By inviting humanitarian speakers that have set aside their fears and founded impactful initiatives, the delegates will learn that even the smallest actions count - that nobody is too small to change the world. At USLS By interacting with people from around the world, the delegates can learn from other cultures and in turn, learn other perspectives. After all, adopting more than one perspective is always beneficial, especially when it comes to problem solving. Delegates attending USLS will have the chance to meet like-minded individuals with like-minded goals through these interactions, the creation of a more sustainable world for all can become a reality sooner, rather than later. When more people work towards the same goal, or at least similar goals, the faster, and bigger, the impact will be. After USLS Through the “questions and answers” session after each talk, the delegates can openly discuss and brainstorm on issues raised by the respective speaker. This ensures that the delegates return to their home country feeling enriched by their attendance at USLS. For the delegates feeling uncertain about their humanitarian pursuits, by listening to speakers discuss a myriad of topics, a humanitarian passion will definitely be stirred - or at least an inkling of what theme the humanitarian passion revolves around. The takeaway differs for everyone - sometimes it’s that final push to put passion projects, or ideas, into action; sometimes it’s a collaboration with a fellow delegate on shared passions; sometimes it isn’t grand but instead, just a meaningful piece of advice from a fellow delegate or a speaker. Regardless, the delegates always leave USLS knowing more about themselves, and their place in the world.
How Different is USLS? For budding humanitarians, USLS is the first step in a life-long journey. After the symposium, many of our inspired delegates gather the courage to start initiatives of their own. By attending USLS, the delegates will discover things about themselves that they did not think existed. We aim to empower the delegates with the knowledge that they are never too powerless to make a difference. The electrifying atmosphere at USLS will ignite their passion for humanity. The symposium will prompt the delegates in attendance to step out of their comfort zone while guiding their heart towards a greater cause beyond self-preservation. It will challenge them to live a life of service â€“ with passion, persistence, patience, and purpose. Most importantly, it will kindle the flame of humanity that is deep within everyone. USLS will not only set their hearts ablaze but will also motivate them to champion for justice; to give voice to the voiceless, to truly embrace the risks necessary as to unleash the power within and to become the person whom they were created to be.
LEADERSHIP IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE Literally the oldest Prime Minister in the world, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad certainly has witnessed the world changing. Due to this, it seemed fitting that he shared some of what he has learned over the years with the emerging world leaders – especially as the eager delegates hope to effect positive social change within the world. The 10th University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) was officiated by the oldest, and most experienced, Prime Minister in the world: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Considering his age, and the wisdom that comes with it, it was fitting for him to launch the event - especially as it was attended by 1057 delegates from 81 countries, all seeking inspiration on how to lead. Luckily for those attending, Dr Mahathir shared how leadership is not rocket science. On his opinion of what leadership should be, “Firstly, a leader must have integrity and honesty, without them, a leader would be corrupt and untrustworthy.” “Next, a leader must be willing to work hard and to have pride in their work.” In reference to working hard, Dr Mahathir stated that leadership requires lifelong learning. “Apart from that, a leader must have the hunger for knowledge and be aware of the changes around him,” the 94-year-old elder stateman said. Considering the advancements in technology, this statement could not be more relevant to the youth attending - especially as these technological leaps forward unfortunately simultaneously equate social, political, and economic disruptions. “If a leader is oblivious to these changes, they will not be able to impress upon the nation on the need to keep abreast of the latest advancements. The nation would lag behind and eventually become backwards,” he said. Lastly, Dr Mahathir added how, “Being humble does not make a leader weak. Instead it binds him with the people, those who supported him and made him their leader. If a leader loses touch with his people and supporters, he ceases to be a leader.” Besides discussing leadership, he also touched on how “there is still hope for the somewhat derailed world to get back on track and give humanity a chance”, especially through events such as USLS. The Prime Minister ended his address with this advice, “The more you seek, the more you realise that there is so much more to learn. Be humble and generous in seeking and sharing knowledge.”
CREATE A BETTER WORLD Dr Maszlee Bin Malik has been serving as the Minister of Education in the new Government of Malaysia since May 2018; actively engaging with universities around the country, he aims to improve the standards of education for all. The Minister of Education in Malaysia, Dr Maszlee Bin Malik, started his opening address with, “Congratulations to all of you on your admirable effort on seeking knowledge and creating a friendly network in your quest to become future leaders.” Whilst addressing a room full of delegates unsure of what was to come, Dr Maszlee said, “I would like to bring everyone’s attention to what the 10th University Leaders Scholarship Symposium (USLS) is – it is not just a course or a networking session, it is a global leadership training in affecting positive social change with a purpose to inspire the next generation of leaders to step forward and to serve the communities in need.” In relation to what USLS is, the Minister likewise highlighted how his vision of education, especially higher education, goes along the same lines. He shared how, “my dream is about taking the vision, the essence of what USLS stands for and to scale it throughout our system”. In fact, Malaysia has recently been making great strides within its education system: • University Malaysia is listed as one of the world’s leading universities by being granted the 17th spot in the QS “World Universities Ranking” • University Putra Malaysia, University Kebangsaan Malaysia, and University Technology Malaysia are also listed amongst the “Top 50 Outstanding Universities” • All of the above universities are among the “Top 20” in the latest QS “Top 50 Under 50” ranking (2020) Dr. Maszlee then quoted the author Paulo Coelho, from his infamous book ‘The Alchemist’: it’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting. He then went on to say, “I’m an avid fan of John Lennon – especially his song ‘Imagine’. In order to create a better future, you need to have an imagination of what that future would be and in preparing a better future for the future generation you need to dream and you need to work hard in order to achieve your dream.”
“I see today in front of me a generation of global problem solvers that are born from our universities and schools, problem solvers that don’t just create the next big innovation in business but lead others to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” he said. Dr. Maszlee emphasised how in order to meet these challenges, one has to get their hands dirty as to add value to their surrounding communities and their society in general. While some may struggle with understanding the reason for adding values to others instead of solely focusing on one’s own prosperity, it’s about leaving a legacy for the entire future generation according to him. His last advice to the delegates was that, “I hope that the honour of being part of this prestigious program… will instil you with confidence but not arrogance. Remember that as a leader, your impact is not measured by the accolades you receive or the awards you get, it is measured in the lives you have touched – in the lives that you have saved and the lives you have inspired.” He then quoted, with approval from the young audience, from the Lion King movie, “While others search for what they can take, a true king searches for what he can give.” He ended his speech by saying, “… Everyone go forth and give yourself to the society, to your country, and to the world.”
THE MAN AND HIS DREAMS The University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) has flourished under the leadership of Kim Solomon, who has a passion for inspiring individuals as to transform communities. He’s the man that makes the magic happen despite being a man of few words – proving that anyone can turn their dreams into a reality. Without Kim, USLS would not be what it is – reason being that he is the one working endlessly behind the scenes to ensure that everything is not only in order for the event but also to ensure that the delegates get the most out of their participation. As the Secretary-General to Humanitarian Affairs Asia, Kim understands that, “Many youths feel alone in their humanitarian pursuits – they feel that they are poor, young or inexperienced to change the world.” Due to this keen understanding of the youth, the symposium this year was the largest to date as to accommodate all of those searching for a better understanding on how to lead. In his words, “This annual USLS is where ideas grow, collaborations take place, and diverse voices unite for a better world.” He continued, “During this week, you will meet 1,000 of like-minded peers who want to build a peaceful, inclusive, and sustainable world. You have ample opportunity to network with each other and to help the community in Malaysia but more importantly, to discover your inner self.” Kim also shared how, in his opinion, “Youth are keen observers of the world around them – they are curious, they crave new experiences, they are unafraid to raise critical issues that are weighing on their mind, and above all they desire to champion a cause that’s larger than themselves.” As USLS lasts for a week, each delegate would definitely have ample of time to find their cause to champion for, especially after being prompted in the right direction by the various speakers.
EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY For years, Janice Leong has been tirelessly working behind the scenes managing her team to recruit like-minded youths to participate in the USLS. Originally from Ipoh, Malaysia, Janice ended the 10th University Leaders Scholarship Symposium in her home-country by sharing heart-warming stories with the delegates in attendance.
After a week of learning and building connections as to come together to serve the community better, the 10th University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) came to a close with a heartfelt speech by Janice Leong. As the regional director of Humanitarian Affairs Asia, she touched on how, “Effecting positive social change is not a responsibility of a certain group of people, institutions, and countries – it is everyone responsibility.” However, by coming together, just as the delegates from around the world did during USLS, the responsibility lessens. Janice shared with those in attendance an African proverb, which is as follows: If you want to go quickly, go alone, and if you want to go far, go together. She reiterated the power of collaboration by detailing the workings of a sequoia tree. Known as the world’s most massive tree and arguably the largest living organism on Earth, a sequoia tree can grow up to 300 feet, with a diameter of 40 feet. To put that into context, its size is equivalent to a skyscraper and it requires 20 adults, holding hands, to encircle the sequoia tree. As for its age, it can range from 2,000 to 3,000 years old. Considering those facts, it’s easy to assume that a sequoia tree has an extremely deep-rooted system in order to support its sheer size but in actuality, it has a comparatively shallow root system. Janice divulged how, “They survive because they live with their root system entangled with numerous other trees – in other words, they support each other; they could not have survived alone and the same applies to all of us here”. She went on to say that, “More flow in life comes when we align what we do with what we enjoy… Do not overwhelm yourself with many projects, be selective and work on it diligently.” Janice then emphasised, “It is not about the quantity, it is always about the quality”.
Another story she shared was from the biography of Mother Theresa that she recently read. Basically, Mother Theresa stumbled upon a leper who she wanted to provide with food and shelter but he refused – instead he showed her his begging bowl, saying how he wanted to share what he had received that day with Mother Theresa; which is why he was in front of her house.
“More importantly, start taking the steps to work towards our mission – our mission is to be able to contribute meaningfully. You can contribute meaningfully through the fields you are currently pursuing; you can contribute meaningfully through the research work you are undertaking, you could simply contribute meaningfully through the networks you have expanded with like-minded individuals in effecting social change,” she added.
Despite the sum he had shared with her being incredibly small, Mother Theresa felt that the gift revealed to her the capacities of the human heart. In the words of Janice, “What I’m trying to convey with this story is that don’t worry too much about how much we can contribute – just start contributing; we are never too small to make a difference”.
Janice ended by saying, “Each of you will have your own humanitarian journey – enjoy the process, learn from the process, be inspired by the process.”
She then reminded the delegates to, “Treasure our time together tonight for we will not know where we’ll meet again.”
10 YEARS IGNITING PASSIONS WITHIN YOUTH Humanitarian Affairs Asia celebrates a decade of creating positive change within the lives of over a thousand youngsters; these emerging leaders have participated in a life changing experience at the University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS). USLS is a positive, enriching, and motivational experience for young leaders who may be feeling uncertain about their humanitarian pursuits. Humanitarian Affairs believes in building a world where every youngster is aware of their responsibility to serve the communities in need.
MALAYSIA TRULY ASIA
T HE L E A RNING C U RV E
LEAD THE WORLD INTO POSITIVE CHANGE If you could work with the United Nations, would you? Felipe Queipo has been with the organisation for more than ten years now. He shared his experience working for the United Nations with the delegates while also clarifying exactly what the organisation aims for. Shortly after 1945, the United Nations was created with the intention to ensure that another world war would not occur through the uniting of nations worldwide. Since then, the United Nations has redefined the meaning, and concept, of peace as to constantly adapt to the latest challenges. In recent times, one of the main challenges would be ideological challenges due to the paradoxical lack and ease of access to information; this has created a lack of public support for the United Nations due to the lack of public understanding of it - especially of its Agenda 2030 Sustainability Goals. Felipe Queipo continuously stressed how the focus of the United Nations is on multilateralism, particularly listening to and working together with the youth. In fact, he shared how every July member states of countries provide young people a platform to voice their concerns which will then be reviewed by the committee. However, his job at the United Nations is to be in charge of the civil society and advocacy section, under the Department of Global Communications. As to create palpable change, Felipe focused on how the United Nations needs youth engagement for that to occur - individually and socially. For example, individually, such as by actively participating in politics, if legible to vote, and socially by educating local communities of the 16 Sustainability Goals.
Felipe emphasized how real challenges will occur in the future but that the United Nations will not be able to save the world, instead the future generation need to lead the world into peaceful, positive change. This change can start whenever you choose for it to start, Felipe said, but it has to begin at home as he firmly believes that in order to be a true leader, you need to be able to lead in the home. That being said, it’s important to remember to not just protest for the sake of protesting but to protest with a strategy, to have a plan of action to move forward into this peaceful, positive future with. A memorable quote by Felipe would be, “You don’t need to be empowered by anyone, you need to empower yourself”.
YOUNG PEOPLE CHANGING THE WORLD In order for there to be positive change within society and in turn, the world, the younger generation need to be actively involved in creating this positive change. Professor Dr. Mazliham Mohd shared what he has learned from his experience as a student to what he has learned from now teaching students. Originally from Johor, Professor Dr. Mazliham Mohd is now based in Kuala Lumpur, where he is the President of University of Kuala Lumpur. Whilst a student himself in 1986, he received a scholarship to further his studies in Montpellier, France. There, he witnessed the changes within technology – the main focus of his session. In fact, he implemented Kahoot!, a game-based learning platform, as to engage the delegates and to reinforce the fact that there are constant advancements not only within technology but in all areas of life – from the changes cities have experienced to the changes farming has experienced and so on and so forth. After underlining how the latest advancements can vanish once the even latest advancements are created, he emphasised how the delegates need to ensure the maintenance of advancements. Naturally, he admitted that these new advancements will bring new challenges and new problems but these problems can be solved by the delegates; stressing how technological advancements in particular should be used to spread love and break barriers. Dr. Mazliham then introduced the delegates to a guest speaker from Syria, Eiad Yafi with a similar message: to love one another. Eiad Yafi briefly outlined how the Syrian civilisation is one of the most ancient on earth, according to researchers. Yet, many of the ancient artefacts within Syria have been utterly destroyed due to the endless bombings that occur within the country. Eiad Yafi shared with the delegates numerous ‘before and after’ photos of famous sites in Syria that he has personally visited. Considering the destruction, he prompted the delegates not to allow another disaster similar to the Syrian disaster to happen again. How? By respecting one another, helping one another, and loving one another so that the world can become a better place. He ended with, “People are the same, just the skin colour is different”. After Eiad Yafi speech, Dr. Mazliham reiterated how, “Change starts with you because you have the power to impact change”. Not only that but he also said, “It is your role as the younger generation to… try to conserve everything.”
WHAT’S SERVANT LEADERSHIP? Professor Tan Eng Chye works for the oldest higher education institution within Singapore. Considering how he is three years older than Singapore, he had valuable information, and advice, to share with the delegates. The fourth industrial revolution has started and according to Professor Tan Eng Chye, the President of the National University of Singapore, it has created seven outcomes on, and disruptors to, society, being: • There is a tsunami of data - 9% more within the last two years • The rise of robotics / cognitive computing / artificial intelligence • Technology is everywhere - there are currently more than 2.4 billion smartphones worldwide • Diversity and generational change – millennial’s currently make up 50% of the population • Changes in the nature of career - the half-life of skills is now at 2.5-5 years • Jobs vulnerable to automation - particularly China which has 77% automated jobs • Explosion in contingent work - expected to rise to 40% in America by 2020 Despite the aforementioned disruptors, Professor Tan believes that this new industrial revolution can be managed if: • The future is prioritised by design • There is a focus on key values as a feature of technology – such as by decreasing degrading technology and increasing technologies with values • There is a focus on systems not technologies – technology is durable but the systems in place for it need to be sustainable, too • Societies are empowered to master technology – such as through public programs
Professor Tan highlighted that in order for future leaders to tackle, and implement, change it is important to remember that longterm thinking while remaining mindful of inclusiveness as there is a difference between equity and equality. The ability to navigate the complexities of the fourth industrial revolution will require lifelong learning which is why he also focused on embracing failure as a means to learn from it.
He mentioned that to be a successful servant leader requires the ability to be encouraging and enabling so that despite failures to continue taking, and encouraging, risks. Besides that, servant leaders should cultivate a sense of empathy as to value diverse opinions, too. Most importantly, though, would be to cultivate a culture of trust among peers and within a society in general.
Professor Tan reiterated how universities develop potential â€“ not only for social mobility but also for the development of servant leadership through in-school programs, such as the Overseas College program the National University of Singapore, which he has developed.
LIVING ON ONE DOLLAR A DAY If you could put yourself in the shoes of someone living in extreme poverty, would you? For most, the answer would be ‘no’ but for Chris Temple the answer was ‘Yes’. Raised in America but British by descent, Chris has been recognised alongside Bill Gates and Angelina Jolie as one of the Top 100 Visionary Leaders of 2015. Did you know that 1.1 billion people on this planet live in poverty - on just $1 per day? Despite living in the 21st Century, poverty is a prevailing issue yet most modern citizens can’t really relate due to the disparity in lifestyles. Chris Temple, however, knew that in order to fully grasp, and understand the impact of, poverty he would have to experience it first-hand. So, he and three of his friends embarked on an unforgettable two-month adventure to Guatemala where they literally lived on $1 a day, in a rural village - some days, not even that as they emulated the fact that income for most farmers can be sporadic. From that experience, and the footage of it, the documentary “Living on One Dollar a Day” was created. In order for the documentary to gain traction, Chris and his friends drove around America for four months, displaying their journey mainly to students at universities - through this endeavour, 1.5 million was raised. This money was funnelled back into the Mayan village in Guatemala, which Chris still visits several times a year. Since then, however, more than 91 million has been raised to empower communities in need through education, microfinance, and refugee resettlement. Chris firmly believes that poverty is not due to lack of ambition so by providing micro solutions to local communities, the lives of those suffering from extreme poverty can be hugely impacted. Throughout his session, he also reiterated these five questions to the delegates: 1.
I wonder Why?
Couldn’t we Just?
How can I Help?
What really Matters?
In reference to the first and second question, Chris believes that everyone has had or will have a moment where you go, “Wait, what?”; he believes that that question is the starting point towards discovering what you can’t get out of your head – your passion. Chris also said not to accept the status quo but to be creative in finding a solution. As for the third question, Chris highlighted how creating change isn’t perfect and definitely has challenges but focusing on what you can do with what you have is what matters. The fourth question tackles humility and the fact that nobody has all the answers but that everyone is an expert in their own fields of knowledge – by collaborating with others, an infinite number of doors begin to open through the sharing of a similar vision. The last question revolves around measuring the outcome of the change, especially as each little action will have its consequences. Chris added to this by saying that it’s important to understand where to place your energy as you can’t take care of others unless you take cares of oneself first. To end his session, he reminded the delegates to leave the symposium with a plan while remembering that trust is key.
BOUNCE FORWARD Forget bouncing back, bouncing forward is what Sam Cawthorn recommends. For most people, setbacks are setbacks but for him, setbacks are an opportunity to learn and to grow. Sharing how this belief started with the delegates, he imparted much needed wisdom to an audience about to step fully into the world. Sam Cawthorn was different from the other speakers. Why? Well, unlike the other speakers he only has one arm and one functioning leg. The reason for this is because when he was 26 years old, he was involved in a major car crash – a head-on collision with a truck at more than 200 k/m per hour. In fact, he was pronounced clinically dead for several moments before being resuscitated. After being in an induced coma for six days, he managed to recover. Since then, Sam has been sharing his story as a motivational speaker that educates and inspires others to change their behaviour as he was the reason for his accident as he fell asleep at the wheel. He has also published seven books and is the founder of Speakers Institute and Speakers Tribe, which transforms leaders into influential speakers. During his time on stage, he divided his session into three parts, with the first being: Bounce Forward Everyone experiences tough times but in the mind of Sam, those tough times can be turned into success – after all, he’s a living example of this sentiment. Instead of remaining depressed over his physical situation, he bounced forward into what he could become with this change. He stressed how nobody else has your story or your experiences and how this is your trump card – especially during an era where everything can be found online for free. Sam then detailed how: • Crisis creates opportunities – Things don’t go according to plan; this is an inevitable fact that will be personally experienced sooner or later. The circumstances within our life will sometimes lead to a different direction than the direction imagined but instead of focusing on worrying over this change in direction, we need to focus on what’s possible with this change in direction. Naturally, sometimes time is needed to recover from a major change but it’s important to remember to pick ourselves up and to focus on moving forward, bouncing forward. Sam believes that what you focus your attention on, is what you will get so with that being said, he asked the delegates, “What do you focus on? The things you can’t do or what’s possible?”. • Proximity is power – Sam prompted the delegates to contemplate on their five closest friends then told them that, “We are the average of our five closest friends; find someone that keeps you accountable”. He then shared how during high school he was hanging around with people that were not a good influence on him and part of the reason why he decided to drop-out of high school. • Leveraging grace that fuels success – What does this mean exactly? In the opinion of Sam, grace is forgiving before offence even happens. He emphasised the importance of learning to forgive instead of being offended as to release any ill feelings towards another human being.
Every Person Is an Influencer Sam then moved onto explaining how to master the art of communication. He shared with the delegates how a good story-teller can inform then persuade others whereas a great story-teller can inspire – yet, inspiration doesn’t lead to action. In order to really get people’s attention, though, one has to be a story-shower as to transform and transcend the audience. How? By recalling these factors while speaking: • Hero’s journey: according to Sam, everyone will have, or has had, a Kairos moment – a particular moment where drastic change takes place. After the change, the resolution of what was learned becomes the story. For example, a person finding their passion for volunteering then prompting others to volunteer through their story and their impact. • Content versus methodology: Sam revealed to the delegates how the manner in which you speak can affect the listener. In order for everyone to understand, he insisted on the delegates forming groups of two to three then enacting six different forms of speaking. These six ways of communicating to others will ensure their loss of attention and are as follows: 1. Incessant speaking uninterruptedly, even forgetting to breathe in between sentences 2. Redbull speaking in a crazy manner by over using the hands and eyes 3. Medicated speaking in a slow manner with many pauses in between 4. Hand dropper speaking with the hands constantly being dropped onto the body 5. Chin insecurity Speaking while continuously rubbing the chin 6. The pointing teacher speaking while pointing at the listener • Feedback: Sam underlined how feedback is paramount to improving – not only as a public speaker but also a person. The Profile Economy Despite the millions of voices campaigning for causes, Sam truly thinks that every voice matters due to the impact it can create within local communities. With that in mind, he retold the delegates to get their message out there – to start impacting others. He also shared how ten years ago, 90% of things followed online were organisations. Currently, 92% of things followed online are human beings meaning that now, people are following people, not organisations. In fact, 96% of content consumed online is people so he said once more, “Share your story”.
Sam ended his session by divulging how he once was immensely affected by the opinion of others. For example, several years ago, he realised a group of youngsters were making fun of his limp and because of that, shed some tears. However, that incident actually made him realise that if he’s happy with himself, the opinion of others really should not matter. So, in the words of Sam, “Don’t let other people’s opinion of you affect you.”
CHILD SAVER Fondly referred to as the grandmother of the University Scholars Leadership Symposium, Geraldine Cox inspired the delegates yet again with her touching stories on life and its lessons - as she has done for the past ten years since the inception of the USLS. For those unaware, Cambodia is a country that has suffered immensely – particularly during the civil war in the 1960s and 1970s which was then followed by a brutal genocide instigated by the infamous Pol Pot, a radical communist leader. The genocide systematically murdered more than a quarter of the population which has resulted in a country with more young people than old people; this loss of an entire generation is profound and impacts the country in more ways than one. For example, traditions passed down through generations have ceased to exist; not only that but as Pol Pot murdered those deemed as educated, most Cambodian parents don’t want to educate their children. For the last 25 years, though, Australian Geraldine Cox has been doing everything she can to help those in need – including by providing education, healthcare, sanitation, and most importantly, access to clean water. How? Through her charity Sunrise Village Cambodia – originally established as one orphanage in the province of Kandal, Sunrise Village has since expanded, with another base in Siem Reap. Currently, the residential centres also provide sustainable development and family support to various provinces throughout the country. The ages of the children range from six to 22, with the elder children studying at university through the aid of scholarships or sponsorships. However, the journey was not always smooth, with Geraldine luckily surviving a standoff with the Cambodian army when the army ambushed Sunrise Village as to reclaim the land – a story she shared with the delegates. As to really emphasise how Cambodia is a country in need of positive change, mainly for the betterment of the lives of the youth, Geraldine shared two stories. One was about how she was asked to home a new-born baby found at the local market nearby but due to her return to Australia that same day, she couldn’t arrange the documents in a timely manner; when she returned to Cambodia, she discovered that that eyes of that baby had been removed and sold on the black market. The second story was about how she was dining at an upscale restaurant in the capital city when she discovered that there were people outside the restaurant advertising sex with disabled children. She stressed how sometimes looking at the big picture is not the answer as she discovered that the police were receiving cuts of the profits from both stories – instead of focusing on the big picture, focus on what your heart feels it wants to do.
Geraldine briefly shared some statistics on Cambodia, such as: •
2% of the government expenditure is allocated to education
64% of girls never attend primary school
70% of the population has no access to clean water
She then stated how our lives are determined by the countries that we are born in but that education has the power to change that. For example, one of the children from Sunrise Village pursued his passion for make-up through the vocational program offered via Sunrise Village and is now styling famous Cambodian celebrities around the country, with his accommodation and food paid for. Another story she shared with pride was of a burn victim with facial scarring that just recently travelled to Geneva to give a talk about her life – again, fully paid for. Geraldine takes pride in the fact that Sunrise Village has not had one person leave the orphanage without an education or a job. She did stress, though, that wealth isn’t just about making money but instead it is an abundance of anything, with seven main types of wealth, as follows: 1.
To end, she shared how she aims to close orphanages and instead, wants to open more foster homes as to re-integrate the children back into their families and communities. Just this year, more than 70 children from Sunrise Village were re-integrated. Geraldine then shared with the delegates how the greatest currency you can have is how you affect others so always be kind to people as people will remember how you made them feel.
TRANSFORMING OUR WORLD Ryan Hreljac was the youngest person to ever be bestowed with the Order of Ontario – the appointment of this honour is reserved for Canadians that have created lasting legacies. Through his work over the last 22 years, he has impacted not only local communities but more importantly, communities in need around the world. When Ryan Hreljac was six years old, he learned about the disparity between Canada and Africa from his school teacher - amongst the many differences she addressed, Ryan was most shocked by the fact that water wasn’t, and still isn’t, easily accessible to everyone. When the teacher explained how some children have to walk up to five kilometres to reach a well, he asked how many steps that would be. After class, he realised that for him to access water, it was just around ten steps to the nearest drinking fountain in the school. With that in mind, he decided to raise his hand when the teacher asked who would be willing to raise funds to build a well in Uganda, as everyone that year had to raise funds for a cause of choice. Initially, he increased his lists of chores at home for extra pocketmoney as to purchase the well for donation. However, his extra pocket-money did not suffice so Ryan collected funds from around his community and in January 1999, a village in northern Uganda received a well. Soon after, he founded Ryan’s Well Foundation which provides developing countries with education on and access to water. In 2015, the 1000th well was dug in Uganda and more than 892,725 people across 16 African countries have benefited from the water and sanitation projects. Since then, Ryan’s Well has raised over ten million and has worked on over 400 water projects which has helped more than a million people around Mexico, East Africa, and West Africa. The organisation also focuses on community development, international development, and motivational speaking in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and more. Ryan reminded the delegates that the global water crisis is still a major problem, as is sanitation, so it’s important to remember that it’s not only about doing the work - it’s about that work going to the right people, that the work is sustainable, and that it can continuously impact people.
When discussing his biggest challenge, he said it was that first step - to raise his hand in the first grade, at six years old, as he would not typically raise his hand in class. However, he intuitively knew he was passionate about access to water so he prompted the delegates to find and embrace their passion like a child, like a sixyear-old. Ryan also ensured that the delegates knew the importance of taking care of themselves by sharing a story about some advice he received while still young. He was given the metaphor of a teacup and a saucer - that it’s hard to realise when the teacup is overflowing onto the saucer. Yet, it makes more sense to pour what is overflowing into another cup, to share that with others. Ryan added that, “You don’t need to be superhuman to make a difference - you can be ordinary and do ordinary things and make an ordinary impact.” Most importantly, Ryan stressed that once you make a commitment, to keep to it. For example, he was asked to attend The Oprah Winfrey Show when he was younger but he had to decline, despite knowing the impact it would have on his charity, due to how it clashed with his weekly commitment. Luckily, the producers called back after adjusting their schedule to suit his time.
HONOUR ABUSE Born and bred in London, United Kingdom, Arifa Nasim is of Pakistani and Iranian descent. Due to this mix of heritage, she could have been the subject of social and cultural issues within minority communities. Instead, she educates to eradicate these issues. At 14 years of age, Arifa Nasim, read the book â€˜ Daughters of Shameâ€™ by Jasvinder Sanghera - after devouring the book in one sitting, the entire course of her life changed. The book graphically detailed the abuse, and trauma, minority women have suffered due to forced marriages and female genital mutilation (FGM). The worst part for her? The fact that women are forced into these marriages and FGM in the name of family honour and the continuance of a culture; not to mention, the fact that some of what the majority, especially Westerners, think of as normal is not considered normal at all by some families and instead, can trigger abuse. Arifa immediately started raising awareness on these atrocities amongst her family and friends. Then, she realised she could change what was happening to these abused women by keeping the conversation going so she pitched the idea of a fundraising dinner to her teacher at the time. However, as that teacher was leaving the school, she was told that she had to wait until the next semester to re-pitch the idea to another teacher. Unfortunately, the next semester the idea was rejected but through her persistence, the fundraising dinner eventually happened, when she was 16 - almost two years later. The night of the fundraiser, ÂŁ5,000 was raised and given to the charity organisation founded by Jasvinder Sanghera: Karma Nirvana. That was the first time Arifa educated a large audience on the difference between an arranged marriage and a forced marriage - stressing the fact that with a forced marriage, consent does not exist as the marriage is through pressure or abuse. As for FGM, she shared how there is literally zero medical or health benefits but instead, it is a practice done purely to control the sexuality of a woman.
Addressing the delegates, she said how these practices revolve around family honour as these families genuinely believe that one person could ruin the honour of an entire family or even community. The paradox would be that not agreeing to a forced marriage or FGM is only dishonourable, or shameful, if it becomes public knowledge. In these cultures, perception is central to honour and the honour code is set by men but enforced by the women. As a generation addicted to instant gratification, sometimes it’s easier to embark on a path more tangible but Arifa knew the intangible impact she had created through the fundraiser was still impact. She said, “There is a battlefield of causes – so much wrong with the world but as activist it’s important to say: right, this is a battlefield and I’m going to pick this spot and if you’re pure with your intentions, others will stand with you”. Arifa has since founded Educate2Eradicate (E2E), an organisation based in the United Kingdom. She launched her organisation with another fundraising dinner, this time collecting over £7,000 – indeed, many people standing with her as to fight the battle together. Through her organisation, Arifa has even managed to influence the legal system within the United Kingdom. By 2020, a new law will ensure that young people will have to learn about child marriage and FGM in school as these practices aren’t culture but abuse. With this new law, Arifa hopes that more people can feel safe to come forward and share their personal experiences with a trusted adult, especially if there’s danger upcoming. Arifa then highlighted that she knew she was talented in public speaking so after discovering her passion she combined her talent with her passion as to make a difference. With that in mind, she reminded the delegates that, “Everyone has their own talents - use what you’re good at to make a difference with what you care about; something you care about enough to act”. To end, Arifa shared this inspirational quote, “Changing the world isn’t a big bang - it’s an evolution, it’s the sum of billions of tiny sparks and some of those sparks will have come from you”.
KID CHANGING THE WORLD The youngest speaker ever invited to speak at the University Scholars Leadership Symposium, Hillary Yip is just fourteen years of age. Despite the fact that legally she’s still categorised as a child, Hillary Yip is anything but creating waves in the tech industry in Hong Kong and throughout the world. In the opinion of Hillary Yip, the current education system is flawed. Why? According to her, because of how it focuses mainly on acing tests – due to this pressure, the suicide rate in Hong Kong is actually 1 in 3 students. Instead of focusing on acing tests, she thinks the focus should revolve around these two concepts: 1.
21st Century Thinking Skills
In relation to number one, Hillary is referring to developing thinking skills universally agreed upon by educators and people worldwide - like soft skills, such as creative thinking and collaboration. She highlighted how being able to be human is a unique distinction as we can work with others while remaining critical. As for number two, Hillary is referring to learning about various different skills as to apply that varied knowledge to a problem – to be able to address a problem from all angles. She gave an example of how social media needs to be addressed with various ethical angles, not just one type of ethical approach. Hillary then shared her ideas on how to fix the problems within the education system. Firstly, by deemphasising test scores, to instead zoom out as too access a new perspective. For example, instead of automatically thinking, “I failed so I’m a failure” that line of thought should change into, “I failed so what can I do in the future to improve?”. Secondly, to find opportunities to practice soft skills, such as by joining the debating team as to develop critical thinking. Lastly, to explore other options as stereotypes are perpetuated by schools, peers, and society in general but just one individual has the capacity to influence, and inspire, people to change. Speaking of the ability to impact change, Hillary founded Minor Mynas in 2017, at ten years of age, after coming up with the idea at a children’s entrepreneurship competition. Two weeks after the competition, she was taught, step by step, about business by a mentor. Through the guidance of her mentor, she realised that customer feedback is the most important aspect of any business module. After six months of gathering customer feedback then another six months of development, Hillary launched her mobile application: Minor Mynas. Basically, Minor Mynas is a mobile application designed for children to learn and to utilise their free time in a productive manner - initially, the app was based around learning languages but now it’s based around exchanging knowledge and skills while making friends. Since 2017, the app has been downloaded more than 40,000 times and children from more than 50 countries have joined Minor Mynas. Despite its success, Hillary knows that for a business to remain successful, the momentum has to continue so she’s currently working on integrating child protection laws as to attract more parents to want to allow their children to use Minor Mynas.
Basically, Minor Mynas is a mobile application designed for children to learn and to utilise their free time in a productive manner - initially, the app was based around learning languages but now it’s based around exchanging knowledge and skills while making friends. Since 2017, the app has been downloaded more than 40,000 times and children from more than 50 countries have joined Minor Mynas. Despite its success, Hillary knows that for a business to remain successful, the momentum has to continue so she’s currently working on integrating child protection laws as to attract more parents to want to allow their children to use Minor Mynas. On the topic of entrepreneurship innovation, Hillary said, “Innovation is one of the most important things. Why? It ensures progression as a species.” Moving onto discussing the challenges that she’s experienced, she said that, “Failure is inevitable, the idea that your idea can change the world will get you through it.” She then said, “Kids are important for change as kids will lead people into the future.” She firmly believes that by starting to gain experience early, an immense amount of useful knowledge can be gained while also creating a problem-solving culture. Hillary reminded the delegates that the creativity of children needs to be nurtured. She continued by sharing details of a research conducted by NASA. The organisation was looking at if creative capacity is in-born or learned then discovered that 98% of new-borns had huge creative capacities whereas 2% of adults had that same capacity.
STEPPING FORWARD TO SERVE If anyone has ever told you that a balance between work and life does not exist, Shi Wen is here to tell you otherwise. Not only did she remind the delegates about the importance of balance, she also shared advice on how to pursue passion projects despite a full-time job. Whilst studying law in the United Kingdom, Shi Wen volunteered under Food Cycle which is a charity that serves surplus food to those at risk of poverty. During her time volunteering, she knew she was enthusiastic about food wastage and the ability to halt food wastage through initiatives such as Food Cycle. Upon returning to Malaysia, she started working as a corporate lawyer but didn’t let go of that enthusiasm, which she said the delegates shouldn’t either because things can always be pursued at a later time – at a more ideal time. Wen then shared these tips with the delegates in attendance: • It’s ok to not know – you don’t need to know everything about life and where life is taking you • It’s good to have a dream – however, she emphasised on having short-term goals during different phases of life; this is for it to be easier to achieve which makes the journey to get to the next destination easier • If you have the heart to want to contribute then just do it – the reason being that the longer you drag not contributing, the more excuses you’ll give yourself; instead, start small because you don’t need to change the world, you just need to change someone’s world Speaking of changing the world, despite working a full-time corporate job, Wen finally pursued her passion for zero food wastage by founding the non-profit organisation Save Environments, Save Ourselves (SESO) in 2017. SESO was created with these three intentions in mind: 1. To reduce food waste 2. To reduce food poverty 3. To help to build communities among people who are suffering from social isolation Wen briefly touched upon climate change and how everyone tends to focus on pollution from transportation systems but food wastage contributes to climate change, too. In Malaysia, more than 16,000 tonnes of food is thrown away into landfills daily which then releases methane into the air – keep in mind, methane is 30 times more harmful than c02. Not only is the environment affected by food wastage but so are people because to put that statistic into context, 16,000 tonnes of food can feed 12 million people daily. Wen stressed how, “We are the future and have to be responsible for our children – our children’s children”.
So how exactly does SESO work? Well, the organisation is loosely based upon Food Cycle whereby surplus food from local supermarkets, shops, hotels, and even universities is turned into a three-course meal for the homeless. Currently, SESO serves more than a hundred people per session, every alternate Saturday in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. As SESO is also about building communities, Wen personally interacts with, and listens to the stories of, the people in attendance during the communal meals. Through this interaction, she has learned about how the homeless often develop depression so SESO simultaneously aims to make their events fun by employing bands to perform, for example. However, as a lawyer, she knows government legislations need to be enacted as to change not only the situation of the homeless but the situation of food wastage within Malaysia, too. Wen is currently expanding this concept of food sharing to different cities within Malaysia and hopes to expand within South East Asia, too, with the same principles. SESO also just launched FOOSH, which is a food sharing platform that allows restaurants to post discounts and promotions for food that would otherwise be discarded during closing time. The idea for FOOSH is that when you buy a meal via the website, another meal is donated to partners of SESO such as orphanages or old folk’s home. When speaking about the food safety for SESO, Wen highlighted how SESO does not accept protein (such as meat or fish) as with protein it is difficult to determine if the food has gone bad. Instead, SESO only accepts vegetables and fruits as damage is clearly visible – cooked food is also not accepted which is partially why FOOSH was created; so that restaurants can still sell their cooked food. Wen ended her session by discussing how food wastage is not a one-day solution so more emphasis needs to be placed on food wastage. She told the delegates to, “Take time to raise awareness but stop comparing yourself to others.”
YOUTHS LEADING IN SOCIAL CHANGE The University Scholars Leadership Symposium has affected the lives of thousands of people from around the world over the years. Naturally, some of those people have stepped forward to serve their communities or communities in-need. This year, two alumni of USLS were invited to share their journey thus far in contributing towards creating a better world. For officially ten consecutive years now, the University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) has inspired thousands of youngsters to lead their communities, and the world, into a brighter future. This year at USLS, the delegates had the chance to hear from USLS alumni about their experience since their attendance at the symposium. Jack Growden: He attended USLS at 20 years of age and during his time at the symposium, randomly scribbled the words ‘lighthouse’ into his notebook. Unknown to him at the time, this scribble was going to be the name of his company. Shortly after returning to Australia, Jack embarked on field work, for his degree, in Papua New Guinea. Whilst there, he couldn’t help but notice the lack of digital learning tools in the classroom – tools that are incredibly important in this technological era that we live in. After completing his required time in Papua New Guinea, he decided to gift his laptop to the school located within the Harlem he was in, with the promise to return with 12 more laptops. How? He didn’t yet know but he knew that digital literacy mattered. With some brainstorming, he managed to raise funds mainly by collecting scrap metal to sell for recycling and by selling hand-painted t-shirts. Jack then created the first functional I.T laboratory in Papua New Guinea, with 12 laptops just as he had promised. Since that first laboratory, his company LiteHaus International has raised more than 45,000 AUD, most of which has been used to purchase 120 laptops. LiteHaus International has also expanded to Afghanistan, Uganda, and Pakistan, with the focus remaining on Papa New Guinea and on improving educational experiences. Jack underlined how inspiration is the greatest gift to anyone as we need each other’s ideas and skills. He also reminded the delegates to, just like him, listen to their intuition and to write something down while feeling inspired. Most importantly, though, he said that we are the “generation of responsibility and opportunities”.
Nipuna Ambanpola: Just two years ago, he was sitting in the audience listening to speakers but fast forward to the present and now he is a speaker at USLS. Originating from Sri Lanka, Nipuna grew up in a culture that normalised volunteering. Through this style of upbringing, he learned first-hand the importance of, and impact of, volunteering; he realised that volunteerism can be used to reach people that normally can’t be reached due to political and or religious barriers. Not only that but he also learned how volunteering enabled communities to find solutions. Realising his passion for volunteerism, he founded the tech nonprofit IVolunteer International, which is based in the United States of America. Basically, his goal is to connect volunteers to volunteering opportunities through the IVolunteer International mobile application – well, and to also create seven billion global volunteers as soon as possible. “Just imagine seven billion people taking action in their own communities,” Nipuna said. Indeed, taking positive action needs to start at home or within local communities as to understand those communities better. Thus far, Volunteer International has connected more than four thousand people to volunteering opportunities, to their local communities. The mobile app simultaneously tracks your community hours, your social impact, and allows you to post about your own volunteering project. Nipuna also shared how initially IVolunteer International had just one ‘like’ on their Facebook page but soon, the idea expanded and expanded – emphasizing how “you can’t change a million lives tomorrow but you can start small.”
I AM A REFUGEE Did you know that there are 35,000 refugees below the age of 18 in just Malaysia? Now imagine the number of refugees, specifically children, throughout the world as the refugee crisis escalates. As to combat the increase in misconceptions around refugees, the Malaysian Social Research Institute was invited to share some information on its work with refugees. Due to the increase in refugees worldwide, The Malaysian Social Research Institute (MSRI) was present this year at the 10th University Leaders Scholarship Symposium (USLS). MSRI is in charge of the Sahabat Refugee Centre which currently serves more than 7,000 refugees based in Malaysia with a focus on refugees from the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. One of the programs run by Sahabat Refugee Centre would be the entrepreneurship empowerment program which teaches, or strengthens, the refugees various skills as to earn an income; two examples of skills would be how Somali refugees cook traditional food to sell while other nationalities create jewellery to sell. The main reason for the entrepreneurship empowerment program would be due to the fact that while Malaysia is a safe transit for refugees it does not allow refugees access to education, employment, or healthcare; this is not only a Malaysian problem but a problem in some other countries, too. Sahabat Refugee Centre also provides free medical consultations, medicine, counselling, and English classes to refugees, mainly through the help of volunteers. The executive director of the Sahabat Refugee Centre, Aliza, made it clear, however, that refugees are not only those seeking asylum but those persecuted for their beliefs and sexual orientation, too. Besides that, she highlighted how youth leaders need to stand up in the name of humanity, that the world needs to learn to love again as to create a better world for us. According to her, one way to make a positive difference, especially in relation to refugees, would be to get to know a refugee in your country - to be a friend to them. Aliza actually introduced the audience to three refugees under MSRI, each with a passion to share: •
Arif, from Sudan: Originally from Dafur, his entire village was displaced in 2003. After that incident, he decided to move to the capital city of Khartoum to continue his education. However, whilst there, he was arrested and tortured twice by the government. As the situation worsened, he had to flee the country. His passion for education remained, though, and he is now teaching English to the other refugees.
Mimi, from Afghanistan: Despite never having stepped foot into Afghanistan, she has been told vivid stories by her mother; this has ignited a passion within her to raise awareness on the truth of Afghanistan that the local media there is not reporting on - such as the constant bombings of schools and mosques.
Zak, from Syria: At just 12 years of age, he already has big dreams – to be an accountant! Just like Ariso, he was not raised in Syria but instead, raised with a deep appreciation for the organisations supporting him and his future, like MSRI.
Despite their differences, each of them felt that basic human rights, such as to study or to work, should be available to every human, not just non-refugees. Furthermore, the refugees shared how their main desire is to feel secure and supported within, and by, their environment. Names have been changed for safety reasons
A DIALOGUE WITH 100 REFUGEES This year, the 10th University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) was slightly different than the others. Not only did USLS welcome the most delegates yet, over a thousand, the event also welcomed a hundred refugees residing in Malaysia. The session arranged for one refugee to sit at every round-table which provided the delegates with the opportunity to connect with them during the round-table discussion. Around the hall, laughter reverberated as some groups would play truth or dare, some would exchange childhood games from their respective countries, and some would even exchange cultural dances. In fact, one group performed a traditional Afghani dance on stage, impromptu. Speaking of Afghanistan, a young refugee from the country shared her skilfully drawn art with the delegates which the emcee then auctioned. Initially starting with $5, the painting was sold for $150 - money which directly benefits the artist and her entire family, especially when taking into consideration the exchange rate of the dollar with the Malaysian ringgit. Here is the story of one of the hundred refugees in attendance, as a reminder that we are all connected through our shares likes, hopes, and dreams: Although Lily is Nigerian by descent, she was born in Dubai and grew up in Yemen. When she was just eight years of age, she witnessed shootings first-hand as the war in Yemen escalated. Due to the increase in tensions on the ground, her family knew they had to leave as it was becoming increasingly unsafe by the day. So, they boarded a ship to Djibouti then moved onto Somalia before eventually arriving in Malaysia. After four years in the country, Lily is now 12 years of age and dreaming of a future in either the United States of America or in Canada. When asked about her experience in Malaysia, she said that she doesn’t feel discriminated and is actually happy living here. Lily has even picked up the local language, Bahasa Melayu. She was originally studying under Fugee Schools, a local non-profit organisation, but is now under the Malaysian Social Research Institution (MSRI). When asked about what she would change about the school if she could, she said the size of the classroom as she shares a narrow room with 24 other students. Her favourite subjects consist of English, science, and any subject(s) touching on social issues. This may be because Lilly said she wants to pursue a degree in law while simultaneously pursuing her passion for hip-hop dancing. This passion is partially why she also wants to visit America as many of her favourite dancers are based in Los Angeles. Just like any other 12-year-old, Lily indulges in pop culture. Her favourite artists are currently Ariana Grande and Shawn Mendes. As for her current favourite movie, it’s Black Panther. When she’s not in school, Lily likes to visit Times Square in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, home to an indoor theme park. Names have been changed for safety reasons
T H E S E RV IC E DAY
TRANSFORMING OUR WORLD
INSPIRING INDIVIDUALS TRANSFORMING COMMUNITIES
ENGAGING MINDS, ENRICHING LIVES
A NEW LOOK The Orang Asli were the first inhabitants of Malaysian land more than 4,000 years ago, becoming one with the local biodiversity. However, due to rapid development over the last decades, especially intensive deforestation, these indigenous communities have become amongst the most vulnerable communities in Malaysia. In order to secure a sustainable and successful future, the Orang Asli need access to quality eduation. So during service day, 200 delegates set out to repaint and restore a debilitated indigenous primary school in rural Malaysia. The school was in desperate need for a safe and positive space where the children of the community could learn and play harmoniously. This service day activity was 1 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as set out by the United Nations. Listed as quality education, one of the main goals of this activity was to create an inclusive school. The delegates were eager to improve the conditions of the school with a fresh coat of paint – the delegates even created two colourful wall murals, as to inspire the indigenous students. Despite the heat, the teamwork, enthusiasm, and dedication from the delegates was a constant. As they painted, the delegates were fuelled with the joy of knowing that their efforts would make the indigenous children smile. By creating a holistic environment for the pursuit of knowledge, the delegates knew this education centre would benefit generations to come. Upon completion of their work, the indigenous community invited the delegates into their homes as a sign of gratitude – exchanging stories, laughs and smiles. “The process of painting strangely mirrored our own transformations over the last week - stripped back to raw emotions, we were rebuilt, renewed, and re-energised; freshly coated, improved, and re-inspired.” Nathan Chin, a student from University of Tasmania.
AMAZING FIREFLY “We live on land; therefore, we need it!” said Ms. Jordie Kath in answer to the question of, “Why is “Life On Land” one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)?”. However, it’s not only humans that need land – many other species inhabitat the land, too. The United Nations proposed the goal of “Life on Land” as to “protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”1. In spite of having requested all members to urgently act together, the United Nations reported in 2019 that this goal has hardly been aachieved as aimed. So this year, the University Leaders Scholarship Symposium (USLS) aspired to change that. 80 delegates, alongside the local committees, helped to conserve life on land during service day – specifically, the life, and habitat, of fireflies in Kampung Selangor, Malaysia. This region is famous for being home to a huge number of fireflies, which are located around the Selangor River. Through tourism this also provides a significant income to the local residents. However, the fireflies in this area have been threatened to extinction due to pollution. So the delegates travelled along the river with local boatmen as to clear the rubbish creating pollution. Another task was to plant seeds in the mud as to create food source for the fireflies. One of the participants of this activity, Hermia Chan, said: “Service Day was an amazing activity. My heart was broken when I saw all the plastic in the river. Picking it up was a great way to raise our awareness on plastic pollution.” After hardwork, a total of 430 kg of plastic waste was collected by the delegates. In between the activities, the delegates also had the opportunity to reflect and discuss the purpose and impact of their work. As the sun set, the delegates even got to witness the fireflies shining beautifully in the dark.
INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY Almost every country in the world is home to an indigenous population, often overlooked not only by tourists but also by locals. Naturally, one of the service day activities included connecting with the indigenous people in Malaysia – referred to locally as the ‘Orang Asli’, translated literally into the original people. These tribes, however, are not only isolated but also socially outcast – creating a disadvantaged group just due to their lifestyle. Most of these tribes still practice hunting and gathering, focusing on a small-scale agricultural lifestyle. Recognizing the need to adapt, some of these tribes have created makeshift schools as to ensure that the future generation has access to education. Humanitarian Affairs Asia collaborated with one of these Orang Asli schools in honour of service day. A sports carnival was organised for the 200 delegates and 220 Orang Asli children. Both groups had fun playing infamous games together but with a twist! For example, instead of traditional bowling, coconuts were used in place of balls. A favourite among the children, though, was ‘Tarik Tali’, known in English as ‘Tug of War’ – during this game, even the elders in the community joined in to cheer everyone on. The Orang Asli also shared their unique culture with the delegates – such as their traditional crafting style, dance moves, and hunting methods. There was much laughter as the delegates tried very hard to blow the long bamboo pole typically used for hunting. The delegates even learned to cook a traditional dish known as ‘Bubur Lambuk’. Devouring the ‘Bubur Lambuk’ together after working up a sweat was the perfect cherry on top for everybody. It was a fulfilling day, not only for the delegates, who learned, but also for the Orang Asli, who shared their way of life. The most special moment for all, though, was when the community danced together with the delegates after the delegates perfected the traditional dance moves. Hopefully inspired by the interactions, the delegates can begin to positively impact their local communities in need, their local indigenous people.
URBAN ADVENTURE Right now, there are 68.5 million people in the world who have been displaced from their homes by war, violence, or other threats – the highest number in historical records. In Malaysia alone, there are over 175,500 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The United Nations actually listed “Reduced Inequalities” as one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Part of this goal aims to address the responsible migration and mobility of people by including the implementation of well-managed migration policies as to provide a safe and welcoming culture for refugees and asylum-seekers; this ensures their wellbeing and dignity. In turn, the wellbeing of the society and economy of which they are migrating to is positively affected as well. With that in mind, the delegates attending the University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) embarked on an unforgettable service day revolving around refugees. Everyone involved was brought to an incredible venue which houses fighter planes and other commercial aircraft. Many of the delegates and elementary age refugee children took the opportunity to climb into the various cockpits and to have their photographs taken. The day started with a competition which required each team to create their own signature war cries. From ‘We Will Rock You’ inspired chants to routines that had limbs flying in all directions, service day certainly started lively! This was followed by a hilarious session of Zumba Dance. Through teamwork and raw human interaction, empathy was extended and sincere connection was fostered. After a well-earned lunch and a spontaneous game of soccer, the delegates began their mission for the second half of the day: curating a fashion show with a stylish red-carpet catwalk. Teams created their own traditionally inspired outfits and selected a representative model to flaunt the designs down the catwalk. With a little Justin Bieber to help, models strutted their stuff, exhibiting some professional poses. The fashion show was followed by an incredible performance from three female refugees and a monologue from a talented male refugee male. By the end of it, the connection and gratitude experienced throughout the day was at an all time high. The delegates not only represented their home communities but also learned that no matter where we are from, we are all the same. One of the elementary school refugees even said, “That was the best day of my life; I want to thank all of you my friends, who came and played with us and made us happy. Thank you so, so much and I hope to see you all again.”
FUN DAY According to the statistic of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are about 175,760 refugees residing in Malaysia. Of those, about 44,880 are children below the age of 18. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) outlined by the United Nations lists â€œReduced Inequalitiesâ€? as an aim to empower and promote social and political inclusion for all - regardless of age, origin, or religion. In accordance to this SDG, service day entailed interacting with refugee children in Malaysia; this was for the children to enjoy themselves and for the delegates to connect with them. In total, 220 delegates spend the day with 220 refugee children under UNHCR. Excitement filled the air as a tele-match was organised to start the day with - for both the children and the delegates to get to know each other. Games included passing water balloons above their heads to between their legs, piggyback racing, and passing rubber bands through straws. Despite the sunny weather, everyone enjoyed the games and bonded, with constant laughter all around. Lunch was sponsored by KFC, which was a treat specially requested by the children. KFC is not considered as a cheap fast food in Malaysia as it is in many western countries but rather, fast food for special occasions. A fashion parade with a twist was staged after lunch. Both the delegates and the children had to make their own custom outfits from newspapers and other recycled materials. After which, chosen models had to strut down the runway. There was plenty of laughter from everyone, especially as some of the material dropped from their bodies while catwalking. The delegates hope that the shared laughter will remain in the memories of the children for a long time to come.
SUPERPARK Inequality unfortunately still exists around the world, creating limited access for some to education, healthcare, and even social opportunities. Humanitarian Affairs Asia (HAA) are working towards changing, and eventually solving, current problems around the world. The organisation wholeheartedly believes in inculcating servant leadership within emerging leaders, which is why their motto is, ‘Together We Serve’. At the University Leaders Scholarship Symposium (USLS), HAA organised for 80 delegates to bond with 80 refugee children based in Malaysia. How? Through the simplest, yet most effective, way possible: Shared Laughter. People tend to forget that at the end of the day, refugees are just regular people - yes, their access to education and healthcare is an important right to fight for but their right to actively participate in social settings is just as important. With this in mind, HAA asked the supervisor of the refugee centre what the children would enjoy most. The supervisor knew that the children had been wanting to visit a newly opened theme park within Malaysia but due to lack of funds, the opportunity was unavailable until suggested to HAA. Thus, during service day, the aforementioned delegates and refugees visited SuperPark Malaysia. The children were beaming with excitement and throughout their time there, continuously explored every nook and cranny of SuperPark. “Initially, I thought it was just for the children but I was totally wrong,” said an Australian delegate that attended. By witnessing their joy, the delegates were reminded to appreciate the little things in life; as most people take things for granted. Humanitarian Affairs Asia, hosted a lunch for the children and one of the delegates even entertained the children by playing the flute. Not only did the children enjoyed themselves, the delegates too have fun serving the children.
10TH ANNIVERSARY GALA EVENING
T HE MOVE MEN T
One People, One Community The 10th University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) not only welcomed 1,057 emerging world leaders from across five continents but simultaneously united these delegates as one people, one community.
With a shared passion, and mission for, making the world a better place, USLS planted the seeds necessary to make this happen. All came as strangers but left with a common passion â€“ to make the world a better place. The following pages are some of their reflections.
Greatest Blessings I am still in awe of the over 1,000 minds coming together with one goal as I reminisce on how spectacular the weeklong symposium was. The University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) of 2019 has been the best and greatest blessing I have received this year. I clearly remember going through the USLS website right after receiving an invitation from my university to attend the 10th USLS. I had never heard of it previously so as expected, I had to do my research on it before accepting the offer. Thus, I watched YouTube videos from previous symposiums and became convinced that at the USLS I was going to learn something I could not learn anywhere else. It was a great honor and privilege to represent Coventry University at the symposium and as Kenyan, I felt that I represented my country as well. The speakers and everything they spoke about was just awe inspiring! During each of the talks, I was filled with many emotions I had never been through – personal highlights include the speech by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, and the speech by Hillary Yip, the 14-year-old CEO of Minor Mynas. They were an eye opener on how we are the leaders of tomorrow and the change makers that the world so dearly needs. I feel ready to get involved in my community to help create sustainable development that will eventually help achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals as set out by the United Nations. Furthermore, on service day we even got the chance to interact with the local community. The group I was in went to an indigenous (children) school where we played with the children while also participating in making traditional porridge then serving it. The children were so full of life as they took part in and enjoyed every moment of the activities. It was such a great experience to re-live my childhood days and to see the world from a child’s perspective – with all the hope that everyone in the world is just as kind as those a step away from us; this is the kind of world we are trying to create. A world that cares, a world that is affectionate and empathetic, a world that will stop at nothing to see that every child’s dream is realized and that there is peace among us, that kindness is not just a word to throw around but an action to live by every day. As I write this, I have goose bumps and my eyes are teary from simply relieving the moments shared. We loved, we laughed, we cried, we cared, and were cared for but most importantly, we learnt. I would encourage everyone to attend at least one USLS even if you have not figured out how you can help the world. I hope that by attending the next symposium, it will help develop the humanitarian spirit within you. The world is our oyster and together, we create its’ pearls. I will forever be thankful to Humanitarians Affairs Asia for this great platform they have created for us. I am humbled. I am inspired. I am motivated and committed to go out and to try make a positive impact on the world. Most importantly, I am confident in myself as I got to realize that I am not alone in this journey. Anne Wandu Coventry University, United Kingdom
Not Tomorrow, But Today Hearing about the symposium for the first time, it felt out of my league â€“ something bigger than me, something so extraordinary that I might only be able to attend later in my (student) career. But, if I could choose only one lesson to take with me from the symposium, it would be one simple sentence: not tomorrow, but today. I applied and got welcomed to a phenomenal experience which I will never forget. The symposium brought together like minded people from all over the world who share the same hunger for change â€“ who want to do good and who think: what if? The energy you feel amongst a 1000+ like-minded students, the confidence you gain in yourself, and the people you meet is what will make you feel just that little bit taller and ready for the world when the symposium ends. With such an interdisciplinary and global audience, the incredible speakers triggered interesting discussions on topics varying from humanitarian to environmental problems to global politics. Sharing stories and experiences during these discussions is what connected the delegates and made us more aware of the world around us. The warmth, caring, kindness, and approachability of the speakers, such as Felipe Queipo from the United Nations, and Chris Temple from Living Under a Dollar a Day, was a very special opportunity for us to be heard and to share our ideas. The conference also gave us the chance to discover Malaysia and to give back to the local community through wonderfully curated activities which allowed interaction with local people, refugees, and the environment. Here we got to experience first-hand some of the issues we had discussed earlier during the symposium. For most of us, Humanitarian Affairs Asia (HAA) introduced us to Malaysia for the first time but whilst there, we were treated with the biggest respect and love imaginable. Thank you to HAA and to everyone who made this event possible. Now, letâ€™s move forward, get our hands dirty, and spread the energy HAA has given us. Not tomorrow, but today. Juliette Kuiper International student from the Netherlands Murdoch University, Australia
Beyond Ourselves “The easiest thing in the world you can do right now is to realize how full your cup is. What is left to do next is to decide how much you can pour to fill the lives of others” This quote by Ryan Hreljac is one I hold on to dearly – he is the founder of Ryan’s Well Foundation and his words are but a snippet of the many other beautiful quotes shared at the 10th University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS). I was given the exclusive privilege of attending the USLS for a second time. My first encounter with the event was in Hanoi, at the 7th USLS. The experience then was just as impactful and inspiring as the 10th USLS. Through my time at both symposiums, I have become convinced that the USLS is truly a platform that provides purpose to every youth leader that walks through its door. Not only that but the event is also a reminder to my fellow youth to achieve greater things beyond ourselves. The 5-day youth empowerment symposium was filled with positive energy, inspiring stories, and impactful lessons. The speakers included Geraldine Cox, Chris Temple, Arifa Nasim, and many more who all shared their incredible journeys towards making a difference in the causes they believe in. USLS definitely explored every possible emotion there was to experience, leaving us all raw with passion to make the world we call home a better place. As a future Medical Doctor, I am more than honored to be representing my professional field and the International Medical University in Malaysia. I have met so many aspiring youths and I have hope for the future generations to come. I definitely left the symposium as a more sensible, proactive, and empowered global citizen. Felicity Mishan Ng Yiwey International Medical University, Malaysia
Bigger Picture I am immensely grateful to have been privileged enough to attend the University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) as a delegate two times over the last three years, in 2017 and now in 2019. By attending, I have been given the opportunity to get the bigger picture of what leadership in the 21st century requires. At USLS we have been reminded that we are the people who need to take charge and transform the globe by positively developing societies and impacting people’s lives. During the 8th USLS in 2017, the theme was “Building Lives, Giving Hope”. This was a great eye opener to me and many of the friends I made during the symposium, whom I still keep in touch with, to date. We got to understand that it is our responsibility to work hard in serving humankind for us to make the world a better place. This year, as the theme was “Together We Serve”, the facilitators who addressed us were people dealing with societal needs and challenges – people currently working on solutions for impacting people’s lives around the globe positively. We listened to government officials, dignitaries from the United Nations, staff of the Humanitarian Affair Asia, and emerging young leaders; each of their emphasis was on how it is our own responsibility to get to understand the challenges around the globe and to work on solutions within our communities. My overall experience is that the USLS is the best avenue for young leaders to be inspired to follow their dreams in life to transform societies as desired. With a delegation of over 1000 emerging young leaders representing many continents and over 80 nations, it is an avenue not only to learn from the facilitators but also from the delegates through the informal discussions during breaks – through these discussions, one gets to understand what is happening in different continents and different countries around the world. It is the best avenue to network with young like-minded leaders from all over the world, share ideas, brainstorm ideas, and to create impact by geting a better view on how to go about. USLS reminds us that it is not only important to dream big because in order achieve greatness, we need to start and develop slowly. Looking back, I am more than honoured to have represented the United States International University, specifically Africa, in this magical symposium. My deepest gratitude to Humanitarian Affairs for creating this platform that has enabled young leaders to create friendships, foster partnerships, and inspire one another as we soldier on towards improving people’s lives across the globe. Watai Brian Wekesa United States International University, Africa
Absolute Dream This year, I have been blessed with the incredible opportunity to participate in the 10th University Scholar Leadership Symposium (USLS). To think that I was allowed to join some of the greatest young minds of our generation is still an absolute dream to me â€“ the speakers, the staff, the delegates, and the local volunteers were incredibly welcoming. I believe in the infinite power of changing the world through our ideas and learning; but never did I image I would have learnt so much in so little time through open discussions with everyone involved. The USLS not only filled me with inspiration to work on improving my community back in Colombia but it also filled me with joy in seeing how inspired other delegates were! It filled me with pride and honour to be included in such a prestigious event and to have had the incredible opportunity to immerse myself in the Malaysian culture. I wouldnâ€™t change a thing about my experience. Infinite thanks to Humanitarian Affairs Asia, Responsibility to Protect, and to the USLS team for giving us such an invaluable, once-in-a-lifetime, lifechanging opportunity â€“ I will cherish my memories and lessons forevermore. Andres Hincapie University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia
My New Self As I think back on my time at the 10th University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS), I find it difficult to explain my emotions. It was a week so jampacked with discovery, that by the end of it I found my new self. As an individual I felt insignificant in the bigger picture but my week at the USLS has empowered me and I now feel unstoppable. Our generation has privilege, but we must not forget that this comes with responsibility. The symposium taught me that change comes from within and starts at home. Young people are working to help solve poverty, climate change, war, suffering, and more â€“ together we can have an impact on the world. I urge you to become part of this global impact, this global movement for social justice. Profound talks will undoubtedly inspire you but having the opportunity to network and discuss your aspirations with likeminded people is what makes attending USLS special. I took inspiration from the delegates I met and have made lifelong friends. Alone it can be difficult but together we can make a difference. I encourage anyone with a heart that yearns to do more for this world to attend the USLS as you will not regret it. Itâ€™s a once in a life time opportunity not to be missed as the symposium is only for those still attending universities. Emma Webb University of London, United Kingdom
Put Others First The University Leaders Scholarship Symposium (USLS) is a global platform for ideas and collaboration, providing a support network which encourages delegates attending to take a step back from daily life, routine, and societal expectations. It is a forum to challenge the status quo and to make a difference. This year the focus of the symposium was grace and acts of service. Grace is undoubtedly fundamental to living a holistic and impactful life. It is a means to reflect, understand, and encourage others. Each and every individual in this world is here for a purpose and has something significant to offer. It is the role of youth leaders to extend a hand and equip others to be all they can be. As evidenced by Chris Temple’s work as a part of the Change Series - Living on One Dollar in Guatemala, the ripple effect generated by supporting and encouraging a single individual is monumental. We each have a responsibility to see, listen, care and act. Change starts from within and is infectious. In addition to the notion of service and grace, the importance of maintaining empathy was emphasised throughout the course of the symposium. As Felipe Queipo Rego from the United Nations expressed, “Empathy is imperative in order to come together and find global solutions to the world’s challenges.” We are global citizens tasked with the responsibility to ensure that we do not become a product of our circumstances and instead, work hard to support others in the fight to end poverty, genital mutilation, slavery, and other pressing issues. If not us, then who? Giving financially, investing time, or even “sharing a smile”, as Geraldine Cox (founder of Sunrise Cambodia) mentioned, can make a tangible difference in the lives of others. Kindness is truly powerful. The power of encouragement, positivity, and simply being there for another is unparalleled. Ask yourself, where is the need within my immediate community? Be the change that you want to see, be the friend that you want others to be, and do all things in kindness and love. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to travel to Malaysia as a delegate to the 10th USLS. It was a journey that has impacted my life and reinforced my values and hunger to put others first. It was such a blessing to have met others with the same drive, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds! Catalina Birch Queensland University of Technology, Australia
DESIRE TO MAKE A CHANGE The 10th University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) was an experience I will look back on with fond memories. I was given the opportunity to travel to a foreign land, meet amazing people, and listen to great motivational speakers. Through the course of the symposium I also got to interact with and learn from different people and their cultures. I had my eyes opened by many of the speakers who described worldwide struggles, such as facing lost orphans in the streets of Cambodia or the horrors that the millions of refugees face around the world â€“ among many other heart touching stories. These individuals allowed me to picture the lives of others through their words and helped me to not only appreciate the life I have been given but to also give me the desire to make a change, no matter how small. Now the only questions are, what and how? The friendships made in such a short span of time were surprising. I found that I have kept in touch with far more people than I expected to and left an impression on the minds of many others. The bonds made during the course of the USLS also provides the delegates the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded and motivated individuals, creating global networks of like-minded citizens who aspire to change the world for the better. Through my interactions with many of the delegates and even a few speakers, I got to discover myself a bit more, to better understand my own convictions and what I stand for. Many of the individuals I had the opportunity to engage with shared their beliefs and opinions while also listening to my own. This was an opportunity to represent not only myself to everyone, but also my faith. Islam is among the most misunderstood religions in the world and I found that the delegates and speakers I spoke to about Islam were willing to learn about the faith and were even surprised to find that many of their own beliefs were in line with Islamic teachings. This was among my most important experiences in the USLS, the people. Thanks to Humanitarian Affairs Asia for the great work in Inspiring Individuals and Transforming Communities. Abdul-Aziz Mustahil Ahmed Ali Akaak College of Applied Sciences, Sultanate of Oman
LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE The 10th University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS 2019) was a truly life-changing experience. Before attending USLS, I was searching for some inspiration and courage as to establish an international humanitarian project. Throughout the week, I was exposed to inspirational speakers from all walks of life: social activists, film-makers, thought leaders, and even the Prime Minister of Malaysia himself! There was just something about being at an event with over 1,000 like-minded people that made you feel so empowered to actually do something â€“ to enact positive change in this world. I learned that no one saves the world on their own but by each of us making a contribution, a lot can get done. I also learned that there is no such thing as failure; instead, there are only attempts and outcomes. A key moment for me was the session discussing the struggles of refugees. There was a performance enacted by refugee children that depicted innocent children being killed by the military. It was heart wrenching to imagine those specific children on stage being in that kind of situation. I thought, How could I sit idly by while such innocent lives continue to be marred by such evil? Both my husband (who was also a USLS delegate) and I felt motivated to do something to help these refugee children, in our own little way. At the symposium, we exchanged contacts with the leaders of the Malaysian Social Research Institute (MSRI), which cares for the needs of refugee children in Malaysia. We proposed to MSRI how we think we could help then set up a video conference meeting to discuss it further. Two weeks after the event, my husband and I have set up a collaborative project with MSRI. The project provides refugee children with training in freelance web development and with work experience in the medical sector. We came away from USLS feeling empowered and this lead to us taking the first step into a new and fulfilling path in life. What more could anyone ask for? I cannot thank, and appreciate, Humanitarian Affairs enough for their hard work in creating this impactful, empowering, and life-changing event. Thank you. Huda Alfardus University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
A TRIBUTE TO OUR PARTNERS The 10th USLS would not have been possible without our partners, who went the extra mile to ensure the success of the symposium. We thank the Government of Malaysia, in particular the Prime-Ministerâ€™s office, for their advice and guidance. We thank the Ministry of Education for being our co-host during the event. We thank the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture for coordinating the cultural program. We thank the Ministry of Home Affairs for providing us with security coverage at the convention center and for the deployment of police escorts. We thank the Malaysian Convention and Exhibition Bureau for their kind contributions. We thank the University of Kuala Lumpur for coordinating the activities for Service Day. Last but not least, we thank KFC for serving lunch to the underprivileged children of Malaysia.
A SALUTE TO OUR INTERNS At Humanitarian Affairs Asia, we like to take time to recognize exceptional people so that means taking a moment to thank the wonderful college interns of 2019. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to this group of talented interns who have contributed to the success of the 10th University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS). Interns under Humanitarian Affairs Asia are recognised globally for their capability to produce extraordinary work while also being the most likely of their peers to succeed in their life goals. Know that we more than acknowledge your efforts over the intensive sixmonth period, which focused on encouraging like-minded citizens globally to share a common vision of building a better world together. We sincerely hope that your experience at Humanitarian Affairs Asia was not only engaging but also enlightening. Again, we thank you for your impactful contributions towards the 10th USLS.
Testimonials from Educators “...delegates have unforgettable experiences, they have chances to practically help or do community service...” Dr. Yusepaldo Pasharibu Universitas Kristen Satya Wacana, Indonesia
“...made a huge positive impact on their lives in terms of being motivated to seek opportunities to give back to their own communities...” Prof. Christelle Auriacombe University of Johannesburg, South Africa
“a unique and globally-focused leadership development opportunity.” Ms. Karla Guinigundo University of Miami, USA
“...my students returned home with a renewed appreciation for the life they have” Dr. Joanne H. Gavin Marist College, USA
“...influencing us to become future leaders with a global perspective...”
Ms. Liu Xiaojing Wuhan University, China
“...expanded their horizon for future development enhanced their sense of social responsibility...”
Ms. Lynette Liu Fudan University, China
“...the depth and breadth of student’s growth has been immeasurable.” Prof. Jonathon Allen The Academy, Australia
“experience of a lifetime”
Dr. Ma Margarita Alvina-Acosta Miriam College, Philippines
Another Inspirational Programme by Humanitarian Affairs Asia www.humanitarianaffairs.org