United Nations experience for four young leaders from Girl Guides Association Malaysia
1 May 2014
Four young leaders from Girl Guides Association Malaysia (GGAM) had the privilege to part of two exchange programmes at the United Nations headquarters in New York, United States last year. The programmes were initiated by the Malaysian Youth Council which GGAM is associated with.
Three young leaders of Girl Guides Association Malaysia were part of the Malaysia-United States Youth Leadership Engagement and United Nations Friendship Programme from 5-18 August 2013. Eng Chee Wen, Nurnuha Bt Zulfakar and Shazana Bt Mohd Daud were also privileged to have the opportunity to participate in the12th United Nations Youth Assembly from 7-9 August in New York.
Nurhuha who had previously participated in WAGGGS' Young Women's World Forum in Sangam in 2011 said, “The Youth Assembly 2013 at United Nations was an eye opener and an uplift of confidence for myself to be at the groundroots of finding new solutions. It has created upon me moments of pondering, pocketfuls of knowledge and vast experience about the reality of the world, and about bringing that reality to our own youth and nation.”
“We are sharing a movement for change across generations. Be the change, we don’t have to be free and rich to make a difference. The initiatives and actions that we take today will shape and mold the present into a future that we want. I am thankful, especially to Girl Guides Association of Malaysia as it has nurtured me and made me a better leader and an empowered lady. The years of Guiding and volunteering experience has granted me this golden opportunity of taking part in the Youth Assembly of the United Nations!” says Chee Wen, who had also participated in the "Be the Change: MDG6" event in Sangam in 2012 under the Amy Bush Bursary.
Meanwhile, Koh Kar Ling, another young leader who is also a Juliette Low scholar and WAGGGS Leadership Development Programme (WLDP) facilitator, was one of the five Malaysian youths selected to participate in an internship programme at the Malaysian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. Kar Ling was the only girl in the team selected for this privileged programme. She was assigned to the third committee which focuses on social development, women, children and human rights. Here is what she felt of the programme.
Unlike attending an international forum, being at the United Nations has been truly amazing! It was a dream, come true, indeed! At the United Nations, we attended daily meetings and consultations with world leaders, designing policies and getting resolutions coming to consensus. Often I discovered myself coping with challenges, practising skills and knowledge I learnt through my Guiding life. The international experience WAGGGS provided had absolutely been helpful serving at multilateral UN community, especially in understanding differences in terms of social and cultural affairs.
Girl Guiding brought me to the United Nations, discuss on different global issues, be part of decision-making process at the global level, witness how policies were designed, how strategies were set and how did the UN bodies and system help a huge number of vulnerable people each year. The leadership qualities I developed through the platform given in Girl Guiding enabled me to move this far and this continues. Therefore, I must take this opportunity to thank WAGGGS for its effective training and programmes as well as its Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting methods for empowering me as a better leader today. (Photo on the right: Kar Ling with Mrs Ban, wife of United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon)
Finally, this experience was certainly a life-turning point in my leadership journey. Understanding the work in UN makes our implementation work becoming more efficient and productive. I dare to dream big, do big as I can make better difference!
While in New York, Kar Ling also had the opportunity to attend the celebration of the International Day of the Girl hosted by Girl Scouts of the USA at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 11 October.