Students From Universities In Asean Lauded For Undertaking Joint Community Projects

TUESDAY, 28 JANUARY 2014 00:00

By Saiful Bahri Kamaruddin
Pix Izwan Azman

BANGI, 27 Jan 2014 – Joint projects undertaken by students of universities in ASEAN have shown that youths of the region are genuinely concerned about the less-fortunate communities around them.

Vice-Chancellor of The National University of Malaysia (UKM) Prof Datuk Dr Noor Azlan Ghazali said the better educated young people of the region are becoming more caring of the plight of their poorer compatriots, thanks to a growing awareness within ASEAN itself.

Launching the two-day ASEAN Youth Volunteer Programme (AYVP) Evaluation and Planning Workshop here today, Prof Noor Azlan said ties between universities in ASEAN are also becoming more important due to necessity and their common needs.

The AYVP is a dedicated youth volunteerism platform aimed at creating opportunities in knowledge-driven volunteerism, support the exchange of learning experiences, develop capacity, enhance cross-cultural understanding and forge a sense of regional identity while making a sustainable difference to communities across ASEAN.

Prof Noor Azlan said he had always given priority to economic ties between Malaysia and ASEAN nations even when he was attached to the Prime Minister’s Department as an economist.

Thus with his return to academic duties at UKM, he continues to give importance to student engagement with communities in the inner-city areas and hinterland.

He praised the AYVP for steering youths, especially university students in ASEAN to become better citizens of the region by serving and educating the people around them.

He said campus life and scholarly activities can at times distract students from the reality of the hardships of communities in their own countries.

AYVP’s main goal is to drive youth volunteerism and community development that involves young people with a targeted demographic age between 18 and 30 from among colleges and working professionals across ASEAN.

UKM is the secretariat for AsiaEngage, a regional umbrella organisation to promote social and community engagement by universities in ASEAN with Deputy Vice Chancellor (Industry and Community Partnership) of UKM, Prof Dato’ Dr Saran Kaur Gill being its Executive-Director. She was present at the function.

Through AsiaEngage, UKM leads three university networks for the region: the AYVP, the Asia-Talloires Network of Industry and Community Engaged Universities (ATNEU) and the ASEAN University Network on University Social Responsibility and Sustainability (AUN-USR&S).

The AYVP@AsiaEngage is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and supported by the Ministries of Education and Youth and Sports.