The 2015 ASEAN+ Young Leaders Summit, organized by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, have been hosted this year at Putra World Trade Center (PWTC), Kuala Lumpur. The 3 days summit, from 18th-20th of November, brought together 300 delegates from 15 different countries, and were clustered into 4 pillars: Leadership, Volunteerism, Entrepreneurship, and Education & Employment.
The ASEAN Summit participating countries were: the member countries regrouping Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, the dialogue partners, Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States, and last but not least Timor-Leste.
The summit was all about collecting and sharing meaningful information on how to build a better future for ASEAN and empower the youth in making the difference in the world. It brought together the top youth of ASEAN and its dialogue partners together to share insights and best practices from their respective nations, have experiential learning experiences and collaborate on issues based on the four pillars for the development of ASEAN and abroad.
The Global Peace Foundation (Malaysia) was proud to be in the chairing committee of the ASEAN Young Leaders Summit 2015 as well as an NGO partner, along with 12 other non-profit organizations such as Biji-Biji Initiative and EPIC Homes to provide the young leaders a hands-on experience to deepen their understanding and widen their leadership capacity across sectors with a half-day community-based projects.
The Global Peace Foundation (Malaysia) was to organize the Community-based Project on the 2nd day, with a based on the Leadership Pillar. The essential of a true leader is to grasp and master the ability to authentically engage with people of different communities with deep level of empathy and create positive change from grassroots for sustainable impact. The journey was based on experience, reflection and action with an objective to raise moral and innovative leaders of today.
We brought the 13 delegates, from Laos, Philippines, Indonesia, China, Japan, India and Malaysia to Janda Baik, a small village in Bentong, Pahang, Malaysia. With an introduction of the delegates, our team members and facilitators during the bus ride, we were excited to learn more about our delegates and learn from their experience while sharing our vision for peace in the world.
Arriving to the village at Pak Andak’s Café, the joyfully warm up dancing on Wavin’ Flag, symbol of peace and diversity got everyone enthusiastic for the next step. Following, the introduction of the program, we then divided the delegates into groups to start brainstorming on the afternoon ‘mission.’ The goal of their ‘mission’ was to experience, explore and assess the need of the community, in trying to get a deeper understanding of what the people are really going through. Our team has already been exchanging with the community several time on different occasions and projects. We grasped that observing, listening and developing empathy are definitely keys to success in the interaction with the Janda Baik community. In coming out with methods of approach, leading questions and detailed facts, the delegates started drafting out ideas on how to achieve their task.
The delegates got divided in four different groups:
Two groups visited the Chemperuh Village, the Orang Asli, aboriginal settlement, full of cheerful children willing to learn and be entertained by our delegates. For most of the participants, it was the first to visit an aboriginal community, and we believe it has been a true learning experience for all; some spent their time interviewing the people to better understand their standard and quality of living, others enjoyed playing with the children teaching them dancing and drawing.
One of the group of delegates visited Nenek, a 70 years old woman with a very poor health condition, but an incredibly rich in her heart, full of life experience and stories. It was a very touching and emotional experience for the participants, who definitely got moved by Nenek’s story.
The last group got to get a deeper understanding of Pak Andak’s family business, and the history of Janda Baik. In coming up with managerial and entrepreneurship suggestions to ameliorate the already well-developed business of the family. The delegates got to learn about the necessity to adapt their supervisory and leadership knowledge to the reduced material and service opportunities that offer life in the kampung.
Their mission accomplished was followed by a presentation of their findings and suggestions for forward action as well as reflection of the day. It was an impressive session whereby, despite the short time spent with the community, were they able to provide such detailed information and workable solutions for the benefit of the community. More importantly, the biggest takeaway from the day was the priceless experience of being in the ground with the people, building empathy and intuition to be able to craft solutions from taking into account the depth of understanding the people beforehand.
We gathered around for a traditional Malaysian diner, wearing sarong, a batik printed cloth tied around the waist, for the first time for some of our ASEAN+ delegates. We shared our thoughts, and hopes for the community, as well as had discussions about our role as young leaders, governments and NGOs in the empowerment of youths in the world.
We are proud to say that this community-based project was successful and an incredible learning experience for both parts. Promoting the building of interfaith partnerships, the strengthening families and communities and the fostering of a culture of service and peace, we, at Global Peace Foundation (Malaysia), were grateful to share a very special day with the ASEAN+ young leaders willing to share similar views on youth empowerment and education.
Last but not least, Our Global Peace Foundation (Malaysia) team was present for the closing ceremony of AYLS 2015. With the presence of YB Khairy Jamaluddin, the Minister of Youth and Sports Malaysia himself, YABhg Tun Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi, the Former Prime Minister of Malaysia, the ceremony gathered all participants, spreading a sense of solidarity and a powerful desire to start developing meaningful changes for the benefits of the ASEAN and international communities.
According to YB Khairy Jamaluddin, the summit was a wonderful experience of getting young people from across the region, and the world, together. Purposeful discussion on how to build new ASEAN for the future while benefiting the communities and the people and caring for peace were held. YB Khairy’s wish of getting youth together to inspire each other and create hope got fulfilled. “Each and every pillar putted a lot of thoughts and care into the policies that they are proposing,” he said. With realistic, durable and visible propositions, the respective delegates for each pillar addressed the problems within their pillar, building a sense of unity, and searching to utilize technologies in the best way, willing to develop more community builders, and implement hands-on experiences.
Our world needs more people with heart.
“ASEAN means hope. No matter where you are in ASEAN, you feel at home anywhere in ASEAN and this is what we want.” YB Khairy Jamaluddin, Minister of Youth and Sports Malaysia.
Looking forward to see the results of the on-going discussions on caring for our people and our communities!
Written by Nina Soutoul