Alhamdullilah! Selected for the 2nd cohort of the Acumen Fellows! From the time I applied in August to the Selection Conference in December, the application process has been a journey by itself. Excited to be part of a powerful and impactful cohort -- changemakers from various backgrounds.
From the time I've heard Acumen Academy (part of the global investment fund Acumen) set up shop in Malaysia, I knew I wanted to be part of Acumen Academy Malaysia. I'm attracted to the idea of tackling poverty. Poverty is not only in the dollar and sense. Many people face poverty in opportunities -- especially in getting the tools, exposure and experience to level in life. I've been on a mission to do this. Now, I'm happy a group of superpowers to learn from and make ripples of changes for our community.
I was interviewed by veteran writer Sholto Byrnes on my thoughts on ASEAN for UNRESERVED's inaugural magazine issue in March 2018. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did sharing my thoughts. Access the article here.
The 23-year old me would have been proud seeing this.
I didn't graduate from my undergraduate studies with stellar results. It was a mistake to have taken a double degree in political science and law when I loved the former but hated the latter. I even flunked one of the basic law courses. It was embarrassing. I eventually dropped the law degree but by then, it badly affected my total CGPA. I thought I'd never been able to do my postgraduate degree. I've always wanted to study at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE); I distinctively remember going on a walking tour many years ago with Dayang and the tour guide pointed us to the direction of LSE in Holborn, London. I thought it would only be a dream to get into LSE. But somehow someway, with the grace of God, I managed to get into London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) for my Master's degree. And I had the chance to study my favourite subject: international relations.
One of the goals I set out for myself when I arrived in London was to score a Distinction for my degree in LSE. I didn't know it was a tall order until I received the results for my first assignment. Despite all the hard work and sleepless nights, I attained only a Merit (<65). I thought it would have been next to impossible to get a Distinction (>70). But I kept that goal in sight to remind me. After all, what do I have to lose? I worked hard on every assignment but only managed to score High Merit (>65). It's bloody hard to score in LSE! For my dissertation, I spent 2 months at home -- dedicating many, many, many hours researching, writing, crying and editing my paper. I'm sure Dayang was annoyed with me. But Alhamdulillah, it paid off! Scored close to 80 for my dissertation and it brought me to just over 70!
I learned a few things from this experience. First, don't let your past determine your future. Failure is not personal, pervasive or permanent. Me failing to academically perform during my bachelors didn't mean I couldn't do well for my Master's. Second, if you don't try, you won't know. If I hadn't applied for the Chevening Scholarship and LSE out of fear of failure, I wouldn't have known my full potential. Third, always take on big challenges with small baby steps. How do you eat a whale or an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you write a 15,000-word dissertation? By writing one page a day. I'm blessed to have had the support of Dayang in London and subsequently, my parents during the quarantine. Thanks for believing me when I couldn't do it for myself. You are the greatest! This is for the 23-year old me: you did it!
Had the chance to speak at NeoWAY.org sessions organised by Wisdom Accelerator for Youth (WAY), a Swiss-based non profit organisation. Virtual WAY is a global event aimed at teenagers in the 13-17 age group along the lines of the original WisdomAccelerator.org format held in Davos during the World Economic Forum week. Guest speakers share stories about their past/present/future with a youth perspective in mind, with an accent on how it made them wiser over the years.
Speaking to teenager is not easy. I decided to keep it simple and share the 3R's: Read, Roam Around, and Reflect. More in the video, enjoy!
I was invited to speak a the Projek Amanat Negara (PAN) XVII conference organised by UKEC, the Malaysian student council in the UK at Cardiff University on 15th February 2020. During the event, I was interviewed by the PAN organising team. Enjoy!
Extremely grateful to be selected for the Chevening Scholarship, awarded by the UK Government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office. I'll be pursuing a MSc International Strategy and Diplomacy at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). I'm looking forward to deepening my knowledge in international relations, build an extensive network with Scholars from all regions of the world as well as harness my leadership skills.
I've always been passionate about international relations. With some experience from my previous employment in the government-linked Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC), I intend to understand the impact of emerging technologies on international relations. I'd like to study the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on international relations, specifically exploring the viability of an AI arms control between the major powers, namely U.S., China and Russia. Another interesting element would be Technological Diplomacy (#TechPlomacy), championed by the Danish Government in the form of the world's first Tech Ambassador.
Exciting times ahead!
Sharing a video on ASEAN Youth Fellowship (AYF) 2019 of which I had the chance to participate in.
I'm extremely grateful to be selected as one of The Edge Young Inspiring Leaders Awards (TEIYLA) 2019.
Thank you to The Edge Malaysia and the selection committee for this honour. I am truly humbled. Such a pleasant surprise to read The Edge weekly this weekend as I always look forward to reading it every Saturday.
Never once have I thought Marques Jeevan Menon and I would even be considered for such this award, let alone an award at all. Never once have I thought Nation Building School would be recognised for the small work we do for the youth community. Never once have I thought I would join the ranks of people whom I consider as role models such as Teach For Malaysia's Dzameer Dzulkifli, John-Son Oei of EPIC, The Picha Project co-founders and Melissa Sasidaran!
I am inspired by TEIYLA 2019 recipients such as Jenn Low from Wanderlust + Co, The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac)'s Mark Beau de Silva, and Beatrice Yong & Shao-Lyn Low of Eats, Shoots & Roots!
This award doesn't belong to me but it belongs to young Malaysians who are working hard to better their communities. It belongs to all the Gurus who took a chance with us. It belongs to Nafis Nazri, Pixie Cigar, Dzulhilmy Bin Mohammad, Shy Kit and all the NBS 2.0 leaders.
Thank you to NBS's partners such as British High Commission in Malaysia, Brickfields Asia College (BAC), Selangor Youth Community - SAY Community, Microsoft and many more! Not forgetting Wan Mohd Firdaus who gave us our first break.
To my family, thank you for putting up with me since we started NBS in 2015!
Team Malaysia at #ASEANYouthFellowship! We’re in Singapore for the whole week in conjunction with the #ASEANSummit thanks to Singapore International Foundation and National Youth Council Singapore. Through AYF, we’re meeting leaders (including Singapore DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam!), social entrepreneurs and corporate bigwigs. All in a mission to find ways to build a resilient and innovative ASEAN at a youth-to-youth level. the best part is I know all of the Malaysian delegates for this fellowship - yay! Exciting week!
MyDiplomacy is an organisation with a vision to inspire youth in Malaysia to learn about the world through diplomacy.
From our observation, aspiring diplomats have no avenue for engagement with diplomats themselves. Broadly speaking, there is a gap between youth and policy-makers in foreign policy.
Our platform aspires to change that. Malaysian Youth Diplomacy or MyDiplomacy will be organising diplomatic opportunities to encourage youth to be involved in the Conversations, Careers and Culture of diplomacy.
This idea is the brainchild of myself and Syed Nizamuddin Sayed Khassim (youth leader & diplomat). Syed Nizam, a former Youth Parliamentarian was instrumental in pushing for youth diplomacy through Youth Diplomatic Leadership (YDL).
This is my third community that I'm building from scratch. I'll need all your support and contributions to make this a success!
Before we launch the platform, we're looking for community builders interested in building MyDiplomacy. There's an abundance of opportunities in building this ecosystem.
If you're interested, sign up your interest at http://bit.ly/mydiplomacyteam
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