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Equipping the Next Generation in Malaysia

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Equipping the Next Generation in Malaysia

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by Shannon Francis

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Forty-four ambitious delegates signed up for this year’s Asia Leadership Youth and Asia Leadership Scholar 2016 program held in Malaysia on July 11-16, 2016. With the common goal, to explore and equip themselves with leadership skills – delegates set themselves aspired to be leaders who are not only entrepreneurial but also simultaneously creators and empathizers.

For the third year running, the program has had a history of creating a transformative and life-changing experience for its delegates in helping them discover the leader within. This year’s theme for our two respective programs were “Developing a Powerful Personal Brand” and “Developing a Successful Career Path.” The programs enabled participants to discover their key strengths, passions and core values through the development of professional skills including presentation skills, problem solving, negotiation, and design thinking required in the 21st century workplace.

This program allowed the delegates to connect with peers from different social and educational backgrounds engaging them in inspiring projects (ie; Business pitch, community service, speech competition, etc), encouraging them to implement the leadership skills they have learnt throughout the week beyond the four walls of the classroom. The program schedule was packed with informative, fun and interactive workshops, plenary sessions and professional development study groups focusing on three core areas of leadership namely, Personal Leadership, Authentic Leadership and Negotiation Leadership. In the area of Innovation, 21st Century Skills and Attributes, Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Cross-Cultural Competencies were the available choices that delegates could select from. The program facilitated a career mentoring session, where the Teaching Fellows shared insights on various industry fields ranging from finance, management consulting, telecommunications, and government. Leveraging on the Teaching Fellows’ experiences in applying for U.S. universities, delegates were quick to enquire on various aspects of the application process as well as methods to develop better communication skills specifically preparing them for interviews with future admissions personnel and marketplace recruiters.

Delegates eagerly attended their workshops in hopes of unlocking their hidden potential and becoming agents of change in their respective communities. The Speech Competition gave delegates the chance to break out of their shells and share pertinent issues. Some tapped on the current situation with endangered turtles; others took a more personal route, sharing on overcoming insecurities and self-acceptance. The business pitch competition was also well received as delegates as young as high school students displayed exceptional entrepreneurship skills proving that great ideas are not limited by age.

In collaboration with CyberCare, delegates were enlisted to apply design thinking techniques learnt throughout the week to present a solution to the current issues faced by refugees. The delegates were then sent out to exercise service leadership by performing random acts of kindness (ie; free hugs, high fives, etc) at the local shopping complex. Quoting some of the delegates,

‘It was fun. First time giving Hi-5 & hugs. I had a great time (hugs forever!!!). I was very happy and many people smiled back at me too’

‘Eye-opening’

‘Great and very lovely experience’

The program ended with a graduation dinner hosted at Sunway University’s Art Gallery as delegates were awarded their certificates and respective awards for their exemplary performance throughout the learning journey. Excitement was palpable in the air, as delegates eagerly shared their life-changing experience to their parents and peers. It was truly a memorable experience, one that will be etched in the minds of the delegates.

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