Students to discuss real-world issues

Hakim Hayat

The 16th International School Brunei Borneo Global Issues Conference (ISB BGIC), which begins today, will feature two prominent keynote speakers who will discuss their experiences on education and community efforts and sustainable tourism, apart from other global issues that will be deliberated by over 300 delegates from over 25 schools across Brunei.

The ISB BGIC, which will take place at the International Convention Centre (ICC) until March 9, is an annual student-led model United Nations (UN) conference where participants represent various countries, sharing their views on current and real-world issues. The four-day conference is an initiative aimed at expanding students’ understanding of global citizenship, and improving their public speaking and negotiation skills.

At a press conference held at the ISB campus in Sungai Hanching yesterday, the organisers introduced this year’s keynote speakers.

Darren Tan leads the Education and Community Outreach efforts at ComCrop, Singapore’s first and only AVA-licensed rooftop greenhouse farm. Inspiring people comes naturally to him through his community food production systems, engagement with marginalised members of the community and the MEWR-NYC Youth Circles, a group of young leaders who cooperate with agencies in matters ranging from ground-up initiatives to co-deliberation of upcoming policies.

The other keynote speaker, Chloe King, created and co-founded a company in an ongoing effort to combat food wastage in Washington DC, particularly around college campuses. As the creator of the Food Waste Warrior Project, she recruits schools to reduce food waste, which has already expanded to nine United States (US) cities. Currently, she is conducting research in sustainable tourism in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. Through her active engagement with youth leaders, she envisages a situation where eco-tourism initiatives are able to contribute to a more sustainable future for communities.

The press conference in progress. PHOTO: HAKIM HAYAT

“The younger generation are the ones who are most eager and inspired to change the world,” she said when asked about finding the motivation for youth initiatives. “Initiatives are really just finding something you’re passionate about whether you start small or big.”

Officials representing the main sponsors – Baiduri Bank Berhad’s Corporate Communication Department’s representative Muiz bin Dato Paduka Haji Adnan and Progresif Sdn Bhd’s Head of Brand Strategy Hafiza Mohamad – were present at the conference. Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd, Baiduri Bank Group and Progresif Sdn Bhd are the main sponsors for this year’s event.

This year marks Progresif’s sixth consecutive year as sponsor. Hafiza said this support is part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) and efforts in giving back to the community.

Speaking on behalf of Baiduri, Muiz said, “The conference is a fantastic programme that is planned by the youth and for the youth, for the development and progress of Brunei.”

ISB Executive Principal Laura Thomas, ISB BGIC Coordinator Jane Snell and ISB BGIC Secretary-General Chelsea Lim were also present.

Speaking on behalf of the students, one of the Secretaries-General for the conference Chelsea Lim said, “The best part of being a leader is seeing the people you train become excellent leaders in their own right.”

This year’s ISB BGIC focusses on the 11th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG11) under the title of ‘Youths Call for More Sustainable Cities and Communities’.

Delegates will debate and decide on resolutions relating to how to make our cities and communities more inclusive, safe, resilient and resource-efficient for the future where majority of the world’s population will reside in urban areas. Key areas of discussion in training sessions held at ISB over recent months have related to the need for protection of cultural heritage, and active involvement of all members of the community in decision making.

Being such a wide-ranging topic for discussion, SDG11 broadens the scope of possible sustainable development behind cities and communities, allowing participants to delve into the topic with ease and actively create an abundance of ideas.