by YSS Admin / 28 March 2018 / No Comments

As I sit in the bus now heading to the city of New York, USA, I think back on the days when I was still in high school, having the dreams of coming here for my tertiary studies. But of course, god has other plans for me I suppose as that dream wasn’t granted yet at the time. Wanting the experience and also development to become a globalized professional  so badly, I was disappointed of my outcome. But as time went on, experience and relationships with so many people that I have met after high school somehow shaped my view of the world. Being able to study in University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) for a year for a Foundation in Science Programme and then later Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP)  for my bachelor, made me feel proud somehow as I have experienced living in those major parts of Malaysia. The cultural difference I experienced even if it was all still in within Malaysia, expanded my views within the country. Being content with how the current situation was, I somehow felt that the world had so much to offer, so much to explore. So I signed up on multiple activities, international and also domestic, getting myself involved, but one day the moment came. I had received an offer to get interviewed for a student exchange program by UTP. All those high school dreams of exploring the United States while I am still a student suddenly came rushing back in. Being at home in Sarawak at the time did not make things any easier for me. Flights booked, 3 hours drive to UTP, interviewed and I was on my way home. And now I’m here.



I knew I had to plan up and cramp up alot of trips and activities to make my short time here in the states worth it. But one opportunity strucked me by surprise when I received an e-mail from my host university, giving opportunities to students to be engaged with the United Nations. And there it was,  golden ticket to a golden opportunity of a lifetime for a Malaysian boy, the United Nations Global Engagement Summit 2018. Held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The opportunity got me so excited I didn’t feel the weeks coming leading to the event. I knew the summit would mean so much more, and would have a bigger impact by representing a cause that runs with the United Nations as a baseline of its efforts. I then set my sights to represent Yayasan Sukarelawan Siswa (YSS), a volunteering foundation that I have been involved in the recent months by joining a volunteering mission to Sangthong District in Lao PDR and also as a delegate to the IAVE Regional Conference in Kuala Lumpur, as the efforts of YSS under the leadership of Dato Zuraidah Atan, has similar sights of globalisation under the baseline of the United Nations.

I then proposed my interest of representing YSS, and I was glad they have given me the responsibility to do so by supporting my trip all the way from Lehigh University , Pennsylvania to New York City.

I still remember the first time I saw the skyline of Manhattan, New York City when we first reached Newark in New Jersey. Just over the Hudson river, a place so iconic to the world , with skyscrapers as far as the eyes can see. My excitement was unexplainable and I was in a state where I somehow couldn’t believe the reality that I am finally heading there. With the views of the One World Trade Center, the Chrysler Building as well as the iconic Empire State, I sat in the bus with pure happiness. As I got of the bus, the concrete jungle of New York City surrounded me. With scenes of the hustle and bustle of New Yorkers all around me in cars, taxis, bikes and on foot, I knew I had to keep up with the fast pace of the city.


We then started of the event with speeches by United Nations leaders, we were presented inspiring messages on how all of us are uniquely positioned to make a difference at the UN. I still remember the quote made by Her Excellency Amina J. Mohammad, “To overcome  challenges, we must not only witness, we must act”. UN General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák also urged the shared commitment and dedication to teamwork that shaped the United Nations in the first place: “No single country can act on these issues alone. We have to be united.”With much exploring done, it was finally the day of the Engagement Summit at the United Nations Headquarters. I tried to look the best I can that day, and off I went riding the subway from Lower Manhattan to The Grand Central Station. I then walked to the United Nations plaza where all the Permanent Missions are cantered at. Feeling excited for a visit the the Malaysian Consulate and Permanant Mission, I kept my eyes open for the Jalur Gemilang, our beloved Malaysian flag. I finally arrived and as expected, security was very tight and strict at the headquarters. I entered the building with nothing but pure excitement as I registered and off I go, to the kickstart of the United Nations Global Engagement Summit 2018 and there I was, in the General Assembly Hall, a place where history has been made by leaders around the world, a place for discussions on global issues by diplomats, ministers and presidents, a place for nations to work together to build a better world. I took my seat right in front of the grand podium by the golden United Nations Emblem as the background. How grand it was, the view was amazing. A total of 1600 delegates were there to take part in the historic event.
All the sessions are held with panellists of different backgrounds from all over the United States. With leadership of their own chapters with the aim of being hand in hand, to help the United Nations achieve their targets and objectives. The summit was based on 17 Global Development Goals, reminding and educating delegates of the true meaning and also on implementation and empowerment of all the Global Goals. What is knowledge without application after all? I was surprised, especially when one of the highlights of the events happened, an 8th Grader spoke out in the assembly hall, on when will action actually be implemented, and on how the stage of awareness has to have a next step, which is action. Professor Jeffrey Sachs,  opened up his concerns on the effects of war and how country leaders play a huge role on making the world a better place and that we can do very much for the efforts of the United Nations, but with the aim of being future leaders, so that we can empower the efforts in a much bigger scale. Leaders need to know that being on top is much more than just politics.




After the closing ceremony, I got the chance to meet with MrJamil Ahmad, Deputy Director and Head of Inter-Governmental Affairs, UN Environment .Munira Khalif, U.S. Youth Observer to the United Nations . And also the Honorable Teta Banks, Chair, UNA-USA National Council. All with powerful messages to be spread around the world.


Besides being able to visit the United Nations Headquarters, I was also granted the opportunity for an official visit to the Permanant Mission of Malaysia to the United Nations located near the iconic Isiah wall. I was greeted by Mr Suhaimi Tajuddin, Minister of Chancery of Permanent Mission of Malaysia and we took the time to discuss the role of Malaysia in the United Nations and how Malaysia is effected as well by global issues such as the Roghinya Crisis. They also shared with me the insights of serving Malaysia from another country, which definately thought me important lessons especially towards media influence to the world. Especially the current state in the United States, where people in Malaysia are made to believe that it is a country associated with racism and Islamophobia. Being able to experience a short time there, with good insight from the hosts, the United States is such a diversified and rich in cultural variability as people from all over the world come to seek the ever so popular ‘American Dream’ for a better life and opportunities. I introduced to them the efforts of YSS, and how beneficial the organization was to me personally, and how it is also a huge opportunities towards students of Malaysian universities. We discussed on how YSS is heading towards a more globalized approach, by also sending Alumnis for international conferences for exposure (IAVE Asia Pacific Regional Conference). They agreed and also offered that the department is opening up internship opportunities at the Permanant Mission of Malaysia in New York City, a huge opportunity for YSS Alumnis to expand their experience to working directly with the Malaysian chapter of the United Nations. The officers explained their gratitude of the visit made and appreciates the efforts made to be in such a global effort especially towards YSS, after being notified and presented on all past and current Volunteering Missions being done  internationally but also not neglecting domestic efforts needed that needs focusing as well all around Malaysia, especially in the state of Sabah and Sarawak. He encourages that more students in Malaysia take in opportunities to go global and not limit it to only academic opportunities.




I then had the opportunity to have lunch at a local seafood based restaraunt with Mr Jeremiah, The General Consul of the General Consulate of Malaysia and also Mr Daniel Beck, United Nations Geneva representative from German. This has got to be one of the highlights of my trip as I was very honoured by how welcoming they were to me knowing of their positions on their organizations. We not only shared a good meal together, but experiences of their past experiences serving each respective nations and also being a representative of the United Nations. Mr Daniel, is working directly with the United Nations to discuss the European Union and also the refugee crisis that is effecting all parts of the world and how we should always give a hand. His perspective really did expose me into how different nations and foreign policies effect the efforts being done by the United Nations to solve these issues and lay them to rest. I was very intrigued as well when I was explained of the sacrifices being done in order to serve the nation and being involved in global issues around the world. They recommended that being in service of the General Consulate brings you to a position like no other, as you not only become a representative of the nation, but also as a bridge towards other nations. My view on this is that YSS Alumnis should be given opportunities and also development to approach General Consulates of Malaysia and also Permanant Mission of Malaysia to the United Nation as interns, as the knowledge and experience as a take back will be very beneficial in the efforts of globalization.


With the new insight and knowledge I have gained from this trip, I really hope that I can be given the opportunty and medium to  channel this experience to become inspiration for others to look out for opportunities and also to have a globalized mindset. I would be glad to give a talk or sharing on my experiences for YSS from the first day I have vowed my commitment up till now. With more to explore and experience, I thank YSS again for the opportunity of a lifetime. God willing, one day I step onto the podium of the United Nations General Assembly , it wont be as a delegate, but as a leader, doing my best to create an impact and make the world a better place. And I hope that others have the inspiration to do so as well.


“Don’t just create moments. Create movements”- The Honourable Teta Banks, Chair, UNA-USA National Council.













Leave a Reply