| Lyna Mohamad |
THE 15th International School Brunei Borneo Global Issues Conference (ISB BGIC) will be officially opened today by Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Haji Salleh Ab Rahaman, the Royal Patron of the ISB BGIC.
ISB initiated the event with the hosting of a press conference at the campus in Sungai Hanching to introduce this year’s keynote speakers, Hannah Testa and Rita Kimani prior to today’s opening ceremony at the International Convention Centre (ICC), Berakas.
Hannah Testa from the United States of America is the founder of Hannah4Change.
She conducts public speaking and campaign work on issues such as youth empowerment, ocean conservation and climate change.
The 16-year-old is engaged in environmental activism with the hope of educating people about global issues so that they can create changes as an individual.
“We are all connected through the environment: our ocean provides us with oxygen and food and water, which regulates our climate,” she said. “We are destroying our environment because of greed and ego, which in turn affects humans and animals.”
Rita Kimani is from Kenya and runs her own company back at home which essentially finances small-holder farmers so that they are able to invest in their farms and build resilience.
Rita is also a United Nations (UN) young leader for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and is quite passionate about making sure that youth are involved in them in achieving environmental-related goals.
Officials representing the main sponsors – Muiz bin Dato Paduka Haji Adnan for Baiduri Bank Group’s Corporate Communication Department, Corporate Communication Manager Hafiza binti Mohamad for Progresif Cellular, ISB Executive Principal Laura Thomas, BGIC Coordinator Jane Snell, and BGIC Secretary-General Ikhwan were also present at the press conference.
Brunei Shell Petroleum Co Sdn Bhd (BSP), Baiduri Bank and Progresif are again the main sponsors for this year’s event.
The BSP issued a statement to affirm that the environment is indeed a key priority for the company, which recognises that sustainable management of the natural environment is the key to sustained human development.
“The company is therefore committed to protect the environment to respect its neighbours, and to cause no harm to people,” said the BSP statement.
“To promote environmental sustainability, BSP continues to support initiatives such as the ISB Borneo Global Issues Conference, to further increase environmental consciousness in Brunei, especially with the younger generation.”
This year marks Progresif’s fifth consecutive year as sponsor. Hafiza said it is basically part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) and efforts in giving back to the community.
“Progresif has been doing a lot of work in the past, and by supporting BGIC, it is hoped that they can build leaders for tomorrow and try to make a change for the communities in Brunei,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of Baiduri, Muiz said their continuous support for BGIC in the past four years is in line with their CSR framework, particularly environmental protection.
“One effort, which I think made a huge impression on the company, was going paperless to reduce or minimise our impact on the environment,” he said.
Today’s conference will see around 300 delegates from 25 schools across the country holding debates on the theme of ‘Climate Action’, with a focus on issues such as desertification, climate change education, rising sea levels, sustainable long term energy solutions, and the prevention of global temperatures rising beyond the 1.5 degree Celsius threshold.