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Fadli Z: This is my Story | Brunei+20

Fadli_20profAssalamualaikum and greetings loyal readers of Projek Brunei. It's me again! Don't worry; I'm going to introduce myself again (see below). Firstly, I would like to thank Projek Brunei for letting me get involved again.

I am Muhammad Fadli bin Haji Awang Zaini (Note: that's me on the right! Photo credit to Jazie Zaini). This is the follow up article from my first guest blog post "Fadli Z.: This is my Story" in August 2011 regarding my involvement in charity through the Peer Group Counselours (PRS) in Pusat Tingkatan Enam Meragang (PTEM). Currently, I am the President of PRS 2011/2012 and we have been doing a lot of school activities and awareness campaigns. Right now though, I am focusing on a junior mentorship programme for the new batch of leaders to take over PRS 2012/2013 (which I am hoping one of them will do write up soon here when I am gone) but Brunei+20 is what I want to talk about.

Recently, I went to the Brunei+20: National Youth Seminar for Sustainable Development. It is a local youth gathering aimed at 16 to 25 years olds all over Brunei that was held on the 25th until 27th of May 2012 at Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD). Its purpose is for youths to take up the challenge towards the Rio+20 Conference, a joint effort of the whole system of the United Nations Association consisting of thousands of participants from government, private sector, NGOs and advocate youths who will gather at Rio at the end of May and June 2012.

Quote from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

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The Rio+20 Conference is themed "The Future We Want" within two core areas namely "Green Economy" and sustainable development through responsible governance locally and internationally. Youth from various countries has been and will be involved with the preparations for Rio+20 in "Major Group for Children and Youth" including youths that participated in this Brunei+20. You can read about Rio+20 here.

Personally, Brunei+20 is the first ever programme that I had the chance to interact with a large group of many like-minded idealistic and ambitious Bruneian youths on a local level. These youth participants cover a range of schools from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), Institut Teknologi Brunei (ITB), Wasan Vocational School, Maktab Duli Pengiran Muda Al Muhtadee Billah, Maktab Sains Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan, PTE Meragang, Katok and Tutong, and Jerudong International School as well as graduates both local and overseas, the Brunei Darussalam AIDS Council and advocates of sustainable development.

Brunei+20 participants on our last night together

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Brunei Superheroes (Photo credit to Jazie Zaini, editing by yours truly, faces of youth)

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It began on a Friday when we first tucked our stuff in the UBD Hostels. After that, we walked to the beautiful Student Centre building where the participants were welcomed by Professor Madya Dr. Deborah Enzenbacher, under the UBD Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, on a lecture about sustainable development lecture. It was a great opportunity for everyone to reflect on what was what - whether what we want was actually what we want for ourselves in the future. Furthermore, we were welcomed with another lecture by Tuan Mahmud Yussof, Deputy Director of Forestry Department under the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, who introduced us on the Heart of Borneo in line with sustainable development and management. Later on, we indulged ourselves in our first pure vegetarian meal of the programme. After Maghrib prayers, we were served with another lecture by Awang Mohammad Hilmi Bahaiqy bin Haji Awang Yussof on "Islam and the Natural Environment".

Professor Madya Dr. Deborah Enzenbacher

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Tuan Mahmud Yussof, Deputy Director of Forestry Department

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Awang Mohammad Hilmi Bahaiqy bin Haji Awang Yussof on "Islam and the Natural Environment"

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On the same evening, the Brunei+20 Opening Ceremony was officiated by Datin Hajah Adina Othman at the UBD Multipurpose Hall. She stated in her speech, “"I hope the youth participants will participate fully in the discussions and also hope that the statement will reflect the ... thoughts and ideas of youth based on their own environment, whether they are from rural or urban life" (Extract from The Brunei Times). She also took the opportunity to personally speak with the participants about creating sustainable development through social enterprise just before she left the venue.

Acting Minister of Youth, Culture and Sports Datin Hajah Adina Othman, delivering her speech accompanied by Khairunnisa A’shari, Head of International Relations Bureau of the Brunei Youth Council

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Further on, we ended with a fun memorable ice breaking conducted by our new crazy UBD friends.

Ice breaking in the Student Centre!

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The following day, we were divided into group tours in accordance of the working paper core areas - Water, Energy, Ocean, Employment, Food and Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainable Urban and Disaster Management. The Water group went to the Pelong Rocks Aquaculture, the Energy group went to a Wira Energy interactive live seminar with Singapore and Australia via conference call, the Jobs group visited the Youth Development Centre, the Sustainable Urban group went to for a BSB Tour and BSB Masterplan PIC accompanied by Dr. Deborah, the Food and Sustainable Agriculture group to Wasan Padi Field and lastly, the Disaster Management group went to the National Disaster Management Centre. In our reflection, we all agreed that the visits were an eye opener and that the main issue in sustainable management and development was the population mindset that was lagging behind. (See: “Youth: Change of mindset needed” & “Local mindset hindrance to development” from The Brunei Times)

My group went to the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC). The picture above shows Mohammad Adib bin Matali, NDMC Special Duties Office Grade II giving a briefing on the role of NDMC. Credits to the Director of NDMC for allowing the awesome tour.

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With the reflection and input gained, we put our minds to use in order to come up with solutions and refinement with the working paper, that will be included in the recommendations namely the "Youth Statement" that will be presented to world leaders by "Major Group for Children and Youth" at Rio+20 this June. We finalized the working paper literally a few minutes just before the closing ceremony to our agreement that it had reflected on our own domestic value through a global outlook.

Overall, the seminar was a lot of things - ideas discussed, argued, proposed and compromised. I had an overwhelming flow of information enriching my own knowledge through each and everyone's own experience while motivating participants as individuals to be the change the world that you see.

One of the discussion sessions on finalizing the Youth Statement (Photo credit to Nazihah Mafri)

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Open discussion sessions on the working paper

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Abu Huzaifah Abdullah a.k.a. birthday boy, chairing one of the discussion sessions

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I emphasized in my representative speech during the closing ceremony for youths to leave as better leaders and individuals aware of the impending issue to resolute for our generation, not the latter, but now!

Sum Yi Ren (R) and myself (L) as participant representatives as presenters during the closing ceremony. Sum Yi Ren presented the final Youth Statement to the invited guests and participants during the ceremony.

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I want to thank you the Brunei+20 organising committee consisting the International Relations Bureau of the Brunei Youth Council in collaboration with UBD Student Representative Council (PMUBD). A great and memorable seminar!

Seminars like this encourage youth gatherings to diversify ideas and to create transparency on impending local and global issues to share perspectives as well as foster friendships between like-minded individuals. The Brunei "Youth Statement" will surely make a great impact among our local government on the concerning issues that should be addressed. The working paper will be released publicly after it has been fully refined by the Brunei+20 seminar participants.

I will leave you with a quote from Dr. Deborah's lecture. "Life is a change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely." by Karen Kaiser Clark.

Spread the love.

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Editor's Note: Greetings Readers! Allow me to repeat what I wrote in the Editor's Note section in Fadli's first guest blog post - "I believe that one of the best ways to get to know a country is to get to know the people. I also believe that part of the journey in discovering a place is to get varying perspectives about things that matter from people from different walks of life. As such, I have decided to get more people involved in Projek Brunei to tell their stories, to take their pictures, to share their journeys."

I had the privilege of chatting with Fadli a few weeks ago, and with the folks from Brunei+20 at the recent National Environment Conference. Their energy and passion for a better and brighter Brunei is contagious! I am sure we will be hearing more from these folks in the near future. Fadli, thank you once again for the write-up. I am looking forward to the next one mate! Everyone else, if you are also interested in getting involved on Projek Brunei, reach me here.

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