Kuching: The Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) Kuching, situated in UCSI University Sarawak Campus, conducted its first RCE Youth Ambassadors Workshop on the 10th of April 2019. The purpose of the workshop was to bring together a group of UCSI students who are keen on learning more about the concept of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to become acquainted with the role they can play in bringing positive change to the university and the Kuching community at large. The Youth Ambassadors (YAs) also experienced hands-on training for the successful planning of events and recruitment drives for more youth to be part of the YAs team. Through the planning and implementing of various initiatives, the YAs are being prepared to be future leaders in spearheading the translation of SDGs to the youth and communities of greater Kuching.
When asked about The RCE Kuching YAs Programme, Ulysses Ong, the President of the YAs explained that it was established in September 2018. He went on further to say, “The purpose of the YAs is to carry out events and projects for RCE Kuching and UCSI University Sarawak Campus. And it is our hope that these activities will act as a wake-up call for ourselves and other universities around Kuching to champion the cause of saving our natural environment”.
Following its recent acknowledgement as a Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) by the United Nations University in Japan, UCSI University, under the banner of RCE Kuching, has begun to lead the promotion of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Kuching region through partnerships with various relevant stakeholders based on their areas of expertise. Three stakeholders in particular played an integral part in the YAs Workshop that took place on the 10th of April.
Nurulliza Binti Murtada from the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre receiving a token of appreciation from Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yeong Siew Wei, Chairperson of RCE Kuching
Nur Aida from the Natural Resources and Environment Board spoke to the YAs about Education for Sustainable Development; while, Nurulliza Binti Murtada from the Sarawak Diversity Centre explained the process of maintaining Sustainability in our Natural Environment; and Hubert Ngo from the Junior Chamber International outlined the practical steps to take for Successful Event Management. The YAs were very enthusiastic about the three topics and expressed their thanks to the speakers.
The YAs were then shown the various projects being planned by RCE Kuching this year by the respective Project Heads. Included in the list were: the Eco-Campus Project headed by Mukvinder Sandhu (COO of UCSI Sarawak Campus and RCE Kuching Vice-Chairperson), the 5Rs Project headed by Agnes Toner (Centre for Pre-U Studies Lecturer, RCE Kuching Programmes Task Force), the School Water Quality Project headed by Asst. Prof. Azizan bin Yatim (Centre for Pre-U Studies Asst. Prof., RCE Kuching Education and Research Programme), the River Art Competition headed by Francesca Enchang (Faculty for Hospitality and Tourism Management Lecturer and RCE Kuching Outreach and Engagement Task Force).
In the afternoon of the workshop the Chairperson of RCE Kuching, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yeong Siew Wei and Advisor of the RCE Youth Ambassador Programme, delivered an address discussing The Role of Universities in SDGs. She explained to the YAs that they are the powerhouse behind many of the RCE initiatives as they are the bridge between the community and the university. Her words were proved to both challenge and inspire the YAs to go forward and do great things for our city.
Mukvinder Sandhu, the COO of UCSI Sarawak Campus and the Vice-Chairperson of RCE Kuching, reinforced the underpinning rationale of the RCE Youth Ambassador Programme with the following statement: “RCE Kuching is committed to working with youth in getting the message on sustainability out to other youth and whole communities. The YAs are our key stakeholders who will work with us on not just improving our communication channels but also our community and school programmes. We are looking forward to working with these energetic, passionate and innovative young adults who want to join platforms such as RCE Kuching to allow them to be empowered to be future leaders on sustainability”.
Hubert Ngo from Junior Chamber International receiving a token of appreciation from Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yeong Siew Wei, Chairperson of RCE Kuching
The YA felt that the workshop was a success and they were able to glean much important information from it. On behalf of the RCE Youth Ambassadors, Ulysses Ong expressed their sentiments, “We believe that this workshop is a stepping stone toward reaching our goal of wisely working for and with the natural environment to ensure a bright and healthy future for Kuching”.
Harnessing the unique strengths and skills of the RCE Kuching Youth Ambassadors, the University aims to bring about transformative education throughout Kuching and beyond as they continue to translate global initiatives such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into the local context.