A REPRESENTATIVE for Brunei Darussalam’s youth, Khairunnisa Ash’ari, departed the Sultanate on January 17 for a three-week visit to the United States, where she is participating in a ‘Asean Volunteerism and Youth,’ programme sponsored by the US Department of State’s International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP).
Khairunnisa, a Graduate Research Assistant at Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), co-founded Green Brunei and is active in other youth organisations such as the Brunei Youth Council and Student Community Outreach Team (SCOT).
Khairunnisa and 12 other young people from member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will travel to four US cities: Washington, DC; Pensacola, Florida; Iowa City, Iowa; and Seattle, Washington.
The programme will explore traditional and creative ways of fostering civic participation and engagement, particularly for underserved groups such as women and youth. Participants will be exposed to the management practices of non-governmental organisations (NGO) including organisation, fundraising, managing volunteers and public outreach; will study community activism and diversity in the US, and efforts towards social inclusion and equity for marginalised communities and youth in particular; and will explore advocacy and leadership strategies.
The programme will also highlight volunteer projects and community service initiatives from across the US, showing how organisations develop new leaders as well as recruit and retain volunteers.
Before her departure, Khairunnisa met with Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Bandar Seri Begawan, Mark S Dieker, who said, “The US Embassy is thrilled to be sending such a talented young leader to represent Brunei in this programme, which has been specially designed for Asean countries to learn more about volunteerism in the United States.”
On her selection for the IVLP, Khairunnisa said, “This will truly be an amazing opportunity for me to further develop my skills and learn from the management style and workings of the NGOs in the United States.
“I have so much more to learn when it comes to running and maintaining an NGO to ensure its sustainability. The experience offered by IVLP can truly benefit not just myself, but also the organisations I am part of. I know it’s going to be an exciting three weeks for me visiting different states and building networks and gaining knowledge along the way.”
For many years, the IVLP has played an important role in the development of closer relations between Brunei and the United States by bringing outstanding Bruneians to America for an intensive, three-week programme related to their professional interest.
Since its inception in 1940, thousands of distinguished individuals have participated in the programme worldwide, including more than 290 current and former Chiefs of State and Heads of Government, thousands of cabinet-level ministers and many other distinguished leaders from the public and private sectors.
More information on the IVLP can be found at http://exchanges.state.gov/ivlp/ivlp.html