Cliché as it may sound, Samuel Kim, Chairman of Asia Leadership Trek cum President of the Centre for Asia Leadership Initiatives, quoted John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” in his opening address at the Asia Leadership Seminar 2015 at the Lost World Hotel in Ipoh recently.
The seminar, organised by the Sunway Education Group in conjunction with the group’s hosting of Harvard’s Asia Leadership Trek 2015, a programme by the Asia Leadership Committee under the auspices of the Centre for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, expounded on “Opportunities and Challenges in 21st Century Asia”.
The conference, aimed at providing an extraordinary opportunity to learn from Harvard-trained workshop facilitators and local esteemed leaders, saw a strong attendance of 230 young professionals, leaders and students from 15 to 26 years of age.
Conference participants had the opportunity to attend specially conducted workshops on Addressing Cognitive Biases in Decision-Making, Authentic Leadership, Design Thinking and Innovation, Improving Performance and Outcomes, just to name a few.
There were also career mentoring and professional development sessions on building resume, interviewing skills, career in consulting, legal, medicine, and other vocations.
A special workshop was also conducted on application and admission processes to Harvard and other top American universities for those interested to pursue their tertiary education in the United States of America.
The 42 delegates, or better known as Trekkers, representing 14 nations, were all graduate students from the Harvard University, Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). They were on a month-long tour of Asia and visited Tokyo, Seoul and Jakarta before arriving at Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh. They then proceeded to New Delhi, Bombay and Kathmandu.
While in Perak, some of the tourist attractions they visited included Kellie’s Castle, the 6th Mile Cave at the Lost World of Tambun, the Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat and a night tour of Ipoh city.
Kim added, “We are in Asia to acquire a first-hand insight through an experiential journey, in which we have directly investigated political, economic, industry and societal issues through engagement with relevant leaders and organisations across six countries. We Trekkers also have great hearts for doing something good for society, and so we would like to leave behind a positive legacy of helping organisations and individuals to actively engage in their communities with actionable insights and skills.
“We seek to open up discussions, share our lessons based on our past and present experiences, convey best practices on how to identify our own opportunities and to brainstorm and build up plans that could turn downsides into upsides. Let’s share and learn how we can become effective change agents of our own society and communities we represent and care.
“I know all of us stand united by this common desire to make our world a better place, believing that we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to contribute and make a difference.”
Kicking off the half-day leadership seminar, the first in Ipoh, was a forum with the topic “Social Change Agent: Roles and Responsibilities”.
It was moderated by Dr Foo Yin Fah, Director, Sunway Institute for Social Entrepreneurship at Sunway University. This was followed by David Rose’s talk titled “Overcoming the Expectations of Others”. David is a candidate for Master in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as well as a Master of Business Administration candidate at the Harvard Business School.