| Abdul Hakiim Yakof |
A ROUNTABLE discussion was held yesterday at the Embassy of the United States in Brunei Darussalam, where the Bruneian alumni of YSEALI (Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative) programmes were given the opportunity to share their experiences with Scot Marciel, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
Also present were Daniel Shields, US Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam, and Edward Findlay, Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy.
“It’s very interesting that we were given the chance to network with people from various backgrounds, such as my recent trip to Myanmar where we met someone from a teaching background, and another studying to become a doctor, and we’re all advocating for a mutual cause, which is a better future for Asean,” said Amal Kasibah binti Bohari.
Amal Kasibah is an undergra-duate student at Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) who has participated in a number of YSEALI workshops, including two POTUS (President of the United States)
Town Hall meetings and more recently in Myanmar, where she also had the opportunity to meet President Barrack Obama himself.
The most recent YSEALI pro-gramme she was involved in was ‘YSEALI Generation: The Power of Collaboration’, which brought together 20 leaders from Asean member countries for a three-day interactive and intensive agenda of panel discussions, speeches and other special activities.
Meanwhile, Keeran Dato Paduka Janin, who was in Washington DC from October 6 to 8 for the 8th Annual Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit 2014, shared, “When I went to the summit in Washington it was a real eye-opener… Never before have I felt like an underachiever.
“There were people in their 20’s who have just come back from Uganda and Senegal, and they said that during their four-year programme there they actually built schools and put 70,000 people in education.
“If you put your mind to some-thing, it doesn’t really matter where you come from or what resources you have… (It) changed my perspective on what I can actually do.”
Keeran is a dedicated serial en-trepreneur in Brunei’s growing IT sector and the co-founder of five technology start-ups. He also enjoys contributing his time as a speaker and as a mentor to aspiring young entrepreneurs from various high schools and universities, while re-maining an active participant in events of national interest.
Third year undergraduate Mu-hammad Hazimi bin Haji Zaidi also shared his experience of the YSEALI Institute on Environmental Issues programme, which was hosted by the East-West Center in Hawaii, where he had the opportunity to explore the role that environmental policy has in the economic and political developments in the United States.
“I had the chance to visit Hawaii, Colorado and Washington, and I also met with delegates from Asean member countries who I collaborated with to discuss the environment and how we can change it or apply it in our respective countries,” he said.
Muhd Hazimi is the also Ac-ting President of the Society for Community Outreach and Training (SCOT), a youth-led NGO (Non-Governmental organisation) ad-dressing poverty issues in Brunei, as well as an active participant in leading student organisations on a number of sustainable community projects.
Soon after returning from the the SCOT Education Project 2013 in Cambodia, Hazimi developed a community project which explores setting up a garden at UBD that will be managed by members of the community with criminal records and will also provide employment options for the unfortunate and underprivileged.
Scot Marciel commented that the YSEALI programmes have been able to identify driven and energetic young people who want to make a difference through the opportunities offered, adding that the alumni from Brunei are very talented.
He also mentioned that more than 10,000 people have signed up and participated in several different YSEALI programmes, including regional workshops and grant programmes.