Budding Leaders: Building Leadership Through Design Thinking, Emotional Intelligence and Creativity
by Rajeswari Rush Ramanee & Nirva’ana Delacruz
How young can a child start learning about entrepreneurship and leadership? As young as they come. For the first time, Center for Asia Leadership ran a primary school program called the Budding Leaders Camp from 16 – 20 July 2018 at the Graduate Centre, Sunway University Campus. 32 primary students from international schools such as UCSI, Sri KL International School, Help International School, Gem International School, International School of Kuala Lumpur, among others, shared five days together, learning how to write their own stories and even how to market their own book! Inspired by the theme, “Building Leadership Through Design Thinking, Emotional Intelligence and Creativity,” the program was co-developed with program partner Petalz International which initiated kids as young as 7-years old into the creative process of writing and illustration.
Visiting Harvard fellows Matthew Turner, Arienne Calingo, Anushka Ghosh, and Evan Foggo joined CAL’s Samuel Kim and John Lim to present topics such as entrepreneurship, marketing, and promotion skills for the young participants.
The week’s events, which also included a tight kickball match between boys and girls, ended on a high note with a book presentation ceremony. On the last day, every child received a copy of all their illustrated stories compiled into a book.
Beaming parents and SEG’s Senior Executive Director, Dr. Elizabeth Lee enjoyed browsing through personal booths the kids set up and decorated themselves to market their books.
Over caramel popcorn and cotton candy, everyone enjoyed the young authors’ foray into the world of self-publishing. The Budding Leader Camp was such a runaway hit that since the pilot ended parents have been clamoring for an ongoing year-round program which will focus on the development of the twin qualities of leadership and creativity.