UNIVERSITI BRUNEI DARUSSALAM, SAT, 26/08 – 61 student leaders congregated at Universiti Brunei Darussalam to attend the 7th Annual Presidential Conference organised by The Brunei Students’ Union in the UK & Eire (BSU).
Bearing the theme of “A Tetris Economy: Compatibility within Diversity,” the Conference was attended by various Bruneian societies from the United Kingdom, Egypt and local institutions. “A Tetris Economy” puts focus on the nation’s inviduals who, with their talents and capabilities, are unique tetris pieces. “Compatibility within Diversity” defines the focus in a bigger scope, putting forth the question on where graduates and/or the youth can conform to a growing economy in the strive towards economic prosperity.
Present as the Guest of Honour was Dr. Teo Siew Yean, Asissitant Vice-Chancellor of UBD for Global Affairs. The event started with the recitation of Surah Al-Baqarah (verse 30) and a welcoming speech by the president of the Brunei Students’ Union, Awang Muhamad Hasif bin Awang Nordin.
In his speech, Awang Muhamad Hasif explained, “The Tetris analogy provides a framework for economic prosperity, where the diversity in skills and talents are symbolized by the structural variety of Tetris blocks and essentially achieving success heavily depends on the hand of the player. It is our responsibility to well equip ourselves with the needed skills and talents as we are the economic agents of this country.”
This was succeeded by a panel discussion from representatives of four organizations. Taking the stage were Jonathan Ooi (Assistant Director at The Collective), Dayang Nurizzatul Izzah Haji Abdul Rahman (Executive Secretary of Persatuan KESAN), Louis Loo Ke Lee (Founder of Plus Magazine & YEAB) and Mohammad Ruzaini bini Mohammad Saiffulah (Representative of Ministry of Education). The panel was moderated by Ak Muhd Hazwan bin Pengiran Haji Kamarulzaman (from Brunei Speakers’ Club).
The open-floor discussion tackled various themes. Dayang Nurizzatul Izzah urged the youth to create change and that it starts with themselves. “You don’t need to do a big leap to create change, but what is important is your first step, regardless of how small, towards reaching that goal,” she encouraged. Another highlight from the panel was the importance of the creative industry and whilst this sector is often neglected, it was emphasized that part of our daily lives are centred around the works of creative, and not just intellectual, minds. The Ministry of Education has also emphasized that the government is working hard to create employment opportunities for graduates. In another discussion, it was stated that, whilst education and garnering transferable skills are important for employability, one can also create employment on their own through entrepreneurship and that the youth must explore various options and keep an open mindset.
Since its inception back in 2010, the Conference aims to congregate leaders of Bruneian student societies in the UK & Eire and other student body leaders for a series of discussions on current issues concerning Bruneian students in higher education, both local and international. BSU hopes that with this, the youth would have a renewed sense of enthusiasm and perspective in the strive towards making a better future for them and for the country.
The Guest of Honour, Dr. Teo, then presented certificates to panellists and a token of appreciation was presented in return by Awang Muhammad Hasif.
The ceremony concluded with the recitation of surah al-Asr and a group photo session.
Muhamad Aiman Syafiq Ramlee