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Asia Leadership Conference 2018: Transforming Asia: Exploring Pathways to A Sustainable Future

The Asia Leadership Conference 2018 under the theme, “Transforming Asia: Exploring Pathways to a Sustainable Future,” was held on January 6, 2018 (Saturday) at Sunway College. Over 500 students from 15 different educational institutions, including Sunway University and Sunway College, Methodist College, and Chung Hwa High School, participated in the program to engage in workshops facilitated by scholars from Harvard University, Tufts Fletcher School, and other leading universities.

The conference opened with a welcome address by Dr. Elizabeth Lee, Senior Executive Director of Sunway Education Group and Sunway University. She implored the new generation to consider drastic actions and adapt to global climate change impacts. She also stressed on the importance of learning new behaviors, values and lifestyle for a sustainable future and a positive societal transformation.

Next, Samuel Kim, Co-founder and President of the Center for Asia Leadership, delivered the opening address. In his speech, he encouraged students to think about what leadership meant and why it is essential at the present time, where artificial intelligence and digitization is disrupting human roles in the society. He also observed how today’s world requires us to think beyond our individual selves and extend our services to our immediate communities, then globally to facilitate real change.

After the official welcome, the Conference opened with its first event, a panel discussion on the topic, “Are You a 21st Century Talent?” moderated by Dr. William Ng Wei Kiat from Sunway College. On the panel were Asia Leadership Trekkers Jennah Robichaud, Ellisa Miller, Otgonbat Barkhuu and Mackenzie Muirhead, who shared some of their experiences handling Asian-centric issues. They also reiterated the importance of being adaptive leaders and how to expertly apply these leadership skills in context when it comes to dealing with a global audience.

Armed with strong encouragement from the panelists, the Conference then adjourned into individual workshop sessions. Two workshops, one professional development class, and one career mentoring session. Later, students gathered once more to experience the final event, a TED-talk led by Ralph Poettinger from the National University of Singapore. (“value-preneurship”) Professor Graeme Wilkinson, Vice-Chancellor of Sunway University, closed the Conference by inviting students to continue learning no matter where they go.

ALC 2018 Student Reflections:-
“I learned about entrepreneurship, being confident and taking risks in the Nonprofit Management and Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurship Essentials workshop and also how to network and communicate effectively in our daily lives. I was happy to learn that there are ways to source for funds when it comes to social causes and still make profit from doing good.”
– Tejasuni, 20, Monash University Foundation Year.

“The conference and the workshops were very educational. I learned many things which I was previously unaware of and I would suggest that everyone attend it, especially if they think they don’t have the potential to be a leader. I gained a lot of knowledge from Samuel Kim’s “Authentic Leadership Development” workshop where I learned about acknowledging our negative and positive traits and transforming the negative to positive.”
– Shreya Daniel, 16, Zenith International School.

“It was a great opportunity to meet the Trekkers as they were from top-tier universities like Harvard and Stanford because not everyone gets this opportunity. I found their lessons in leadership gave me insights on how to carry myself on stage and speak in front of a crowd, which is something I feared for a long time. Jennah’s workshop on “Learning to Lead by Leading the Self”, made me believe that everyone is capable of leading either a class, or even a country.”
– Tanesan, 16, Zenith International School.

“My favorite workshop was Samuel Kim’s, “Authentic Leadership Development” where I learned how to be a young leader and changing ourselves to be a change maker. I think this is important to learn if we want to contribute to our community and help others”.
– Ebirah, 20, The Fugee School.

“The ALC enabled me to learn many things which I cannot learn in a classroom and I’m grateful for that. The workshop called, “Making a Great First Impression” by Samuel Kim taught me to have a comprehensive plan for my life to get things started”.
– Siew, 20, Actuarial Studies, Sunway University.

“Communications skills and how to interact with people efficiently are some of the knowledge I gained from today’s Conference. “The Power of Communication” workshop was my favorite and the skills I learnt will definitely help me to be more successful in the future.”
– Toh Ching Tze, 20, Culinary Management Degree, Sunway University.

by Rajeswari Ramanee