Know Your Neighbouring Countries ASEAN Students Advised

THURSDAY, 28 AUGUST 2014 11:59

By Saiful Bahri Kamaruddin
Pix Abd Ra’ai Osman

BANGI, 13 Aug 2014 – People from South-East Asia should get to know more about their neighbouring countries and do volunteer work there.

Vice-Chancellor of The National University of Malaysia (UKM) Professor Datuk Dr Noor Azlan Ghazali called on undergraduates from ASEAN universities to travel more within the region rather than going to Europe or the United States.

Welcoming fifty participants of the ASEAN Youth Volunteer Programme (AYVP) at UKM here today he noted that many people in ASEAN know very little about their neighbours.

“We don’t really know ASEAN. Most of us know more about America than our neighbouring countries. I have visited most of the ASEAN countries and I’m convinced that we have more in common than otherwise,” he said.

There are many common threads that bind the people together within the diversity of cultures and languages in the region.

“What better way for youths who are full of energy and curiosity to find out more by looking in depth into the variety of lifestyles and contributing their energy into helping the less fortunate within their own region,” he said.

The students taking part in the AYVP programme, which focuses on the thematic area of Preserving the ASEAN Heritage, will gain immense experience and knowledge about the people of the countries in the region.

The experience they gained would go a long way towards building their understanding of those countries. “It depends on you, as future leaders in your own countries, how ASEAN’s future is determined,” he said, pointing out that by 2015 the ASEAN Economic Community would be in place.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Industry and Community Partnerships) Prof Dato’ Dr Saran Kaur Gill who is also the Executive Director of AYVP@AsiaEngage, said knowledge-driven community engagement projects like AYVP give the student volunteers invaluable opportunities to be relevant while applying their theoretical knowledge to meet real world needs.

The five-week programme from Aug 11 to Sept 12 include a seven-day preparatory phase of enrichment and appreciation session on the essence of the programme, three weeks of volunteering and outreach period at two heritage sites in Malaysia of one week in Kuala Lumpur and two weeks in Melaka.

That would be followed by seven days of evaluation and a Grand Celebration in UKM on Sep 12.

The programme is supported by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Malaysia and funded by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC) and the ASEAN Secretariat, in strategic partnership with the University of Malaya and the Melaka World Heritage Office.