WIEF Foundation’s alumni activities
A large portion of the world’s population is represented by women and youth; hence their crucial participation in the shaping of things yet to come. WIEF’s awareness of their potential has initiated programmes to help develop and foster their economic developments.
Whether directly or indirectly, women and youth have made their mark in the progress of society in all segments and different industries. In recognising their great power to shape the world, the WIEF Foundation created a network of women and youth through its various initiatives. This year, at the 13th WIEF in Kuching, the WIEF Foundation launched WIEF’s inaugural alumni network.
The alumni network spans across a wide range of sectors, including halal food, technology, tourism, and Islamic finance, and consists of 17,000 alumni members from 150 countries. The main aim of the network is to allow its members to connect for further innovation and collaboration.
Over 100 alumni members from the WIEF’s Businesswomen Network (WBN) and WIEF’s Young Leaders Network (WYN) regrouped during the 3-day WIEF.
Their activities focused on growing and strengthening the network, and synergising their efforts to become more socially responsible in their business commitments. Part of the pre-event programme involved the launch of the WIEF Alumni Card.
WYN alumni: WIEF’s Young Leaders Network
Over the years, the WIEF Young Leaders Network’s (WYN) various initiatives encouraged youth from different backgrounds and cultures to build impactful business projects. For the first time, WYN participants from different initiatives joined this years’ alumni reunion which held capacity building sessions and provided an avenue to help in their business ideas.
The programme was designed to revive the WYN alumni groups from the Young Fellows, MOCAfellows, MOCAfest and IdeaLab events. Their discussion revolved around how great leadership can make the world a better place. The members started sharing their experiences and ideas of how to create projects to make an impact in the world. Many agreed that they wanted to connect among the alumni network with their own projects.
It was suggested that once a year a project should be organised, utilising the abilities of the WYN members, to address a specific social struggle. Other alumni argued that with all the talent they had, they needed to form a collective short-term and long-term goal. That included annual voting to select and work on one idea and to have a WIEF talk or youth policy forum for youth policymakers. The issue was that the young find it increasingly difficult to find employment and they saw the need to do something to change that. The WYN alumni left for a one day trip to the Kuching Wetlands National Park, located 80 km west of Kuching city centre.
During the WYN alumni programme, there were networking gatherings and other public speaking sessions. Each member had a few minutes to introduce themselves to others before they begin a networking activity to facilitate connections between each member’s interests.
The activities continued under a roof of a tropical rainforest with a constructive conversation circle. Hot topics that affect everyday lives of people were discussed and then winded down with calming physical activities. Away from much of civilisation, the camp area on the beach made for a cosy campfire and barbeque setting where members then practised to express themselves and overcome stage fear. Poems and stories were told and performed which concluded the WYN alumni programme.
WBN alumni: WIEF’s Businesswomen Network
The WBN alumni meeting was held on the second day of the 13th WIEF. It was attended by over 60 alumni members from around the world. Following the Forum in Kuching, the WBN alumni embarked on a one day trip to the Lundu district in Sarawak, located 90 km northwest of Kuching. The unspoilt nature of this tourism belt held great investment opportunities for business projects and rapid development for years to come. This was timely for planned activities for the WBN alumni members.
They visited the villages of Bajo, Pandan, Belungi and Pugu. They first went to a pepper farm, then to a kelulut honey farm. The kelulut honey had a somewhat sweet and sour taste, which was produced by the stingless bees from trigona species.
Community engagement was a priority, so the women then dropped by Pusat Internet 1 Malaysia, which is an Internet community centre that held activities to help the development of the community.
Before proceeding to the Gunung Gading National Park, the women stopped by at Darul Taqwa Mosque. They studied the beautiful architecture of the mosque, and were specifically fascinated by the teak doors and carvings on the walls. Then they ventured on a last-minute hike through the Gunung Gading National Park. Even in their heels, they ran to catch the blooming Rafflesia plant, which only happens once a year.
The whirl of experiences throughout the Forum followed by the WBN and WYN alumni reunion retreats strengthened the ties among the members and enabled them to envision prospects for future collaborations.
For more on 13th WIEF and our Foundation’s initiatives, download our 2017 report here.