Contributed by Sarah Gad
Edited and published by Sunway Echo Media
Representing Malaysia in the International Youth Leadership Conference was a fruitful and eye-opening experience for me; it has provided me with new perspectives on how to deal with everyday circumstances.
As it was held in Prague, I had the opportunity to discover the beautiful city, together with delegates from more than 10 countries. While I was there, I was fascinated by how the culture of and atmosphere in Prague is so different from Malaysia’s. The ancient buildings and cobble-stoned roads there is a significant part of European history and I felt lucky to be able to learn even just a little of Prague’s rich history.
When I was chosen as one of three panellists for the Student Panel, I gave a 15-minute speech to the other participants about my background. It was very interesting for my new friends to learn about the diversity of the Malaysian culture. Many were unaware of the multiracial community in Malaysia; explaining Malaysian history to them has enhanced my appreciation of the uniqueness of the local culture.
Something I’ve learnt from my experience is to always be open to expanding my horizons, and to be willing to venture out of my comfort zone. At the conference, simulations of the Security Council, International Criminal Court, and the European Parliament were carried out. During those simulations, I roleplayed several positions of leadership, and this has strengthened my knowledge of and my awareness of global issues. The diplomatic and leadership skills which I have developed as a result of my activities at the conference have made me a more confident and assertive person. One of the skills which I’ve picked up from the conference is the ability to think quickly on my feet. I find that we usually underestimate the importance of this skill – however, I’ve been able to apply this skill in many day-to-day situations as well as in Model United Nations (MUN) debates.
I would like to thank Sunway College for sponsoring my flight tickets, and the Diversity and Inclusion Youth Organisation for sponsoring the fees for the conference. I would also like to give my utmost thanks to Ms Vanitha Satchithanadan and Mr Ken Teh (of the Student LIFE department) for aiding and catalysing the sponsorship process. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has taught me valuable skills and has given me many unforgettable memories – and for that I am very grateful. Thank you.