Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Asia Society 21 Young Leaders' Summit 2007

Asia 21 Group picture. You'll find me right at the centre, kneeling on the front row ;)

Sorry guys, have been away for a conference in Singapore over the weekend, Friday to Sunday. I was invited to be one of the delegates representing Malaysia to the Asia Society 21's Young Leaders Summit 2007 and came back with of backlog work to do (and that's just one weekend away!)

The theme for this years' summit was "Moving Forward Together: Inclusive and Sustainable Growth in the Asia Pacific". The Summit, part of the larget Asia 21 Young Leaders' Initiative, is the "pre-eminent gathering of Asia's most dynamic young leaders from every country in the Asia Pacific region and from every sector." The Summit brings together approximately 200 delegates representing a wide range of fields.

There are 4 delegates representing Malaysia besides myself, and they are Jacqueline Ann Surin (an award winning journalist with The Sun), Malik Imtiaz Sarwar (renown human rights lawyer), Lakshmi Lavanya Rama Iyer (UNDP National Project Co-ordinator on Climate Change from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment), Suryani Senja Alias (SVP, Khazanah Nasional) and, Khairy Jamaluddin (needs no introduction ;)). The latter two are also Asia 21 Young Leaders Fellows in the committee.

I had a chance to exchange name cards with Prof Wang Gungwu who left the Malaysian shores many years ago to become one of the leading academics in the region, if not the world. He was the Vice-Chancellor of University of Hong Kong for 9 years til 1995 and currently, post-retirement, the chairman of various social research institutes in National University of Singapore such as the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and East Asian Institute. He is also an Emeritus Professor at the Australian National University.

At the same time, I also met up with plenty of people all across the region, and really met some fantastic individuals. One spunky young lady, one Ms Dang from Hanoi, quit her job and used her savings of US$10,000 to set up a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) to lobby the city government for better city planning and better sustainable growth management. She now has 5 staff working for her in a rented storeroom at the History Musuem and has further managed to raise US$100,000 to keep the operations going for some time to come. She said "everyone in the city thought she was crazy."

Now, it's certainly great to know that there're more crazy ones out there! ;)
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