The Bull's Eye

Going global for leadership in Malaysia and Singapore

Senior Saakib Akbany attended a leadership program over the summer.

Saakib Akbany and other students enjoy their time in Malaysia participating in the ALYP leadership program.

Saakib Akbany and other students enjoy their time in Malaysia participating in the ALYP leadership program.

Victoria Ly, Assistant Feature Editor

There is a wide variety of summer programs that give students the opportunity to expand their horizons and seek new experiences around the world. For senior Saakib Akbany, the American Youth Leadership program was the perfect fit.

As a government-funded program, AYLP offers students the opportunity to acquire firsthand experience with people from different cultures. It is specifically focused on how different countries handle their environmental issues while striving for a more sustainable, well-balanced society.

As someone who aspires to become an environmental engineer, Akbany applied for AYLP’s Singapore and Malaysia trip in the winter of 2013. After going through a series of interviews, Akbany and 21 other students were handpicked to participate in the program.

Before embarking on the journey, the students collaborated through online projects and did extensive research on the cultures of both Singapore and Malaysia, thus preparing themselves for the three-week trip in July.
“The projects were all virtual because everyone’s separated throughout the country; we’re all from different schools and different states,” Akbany said.

The overall purpose of AYLP’s SinThere is a wide variety of summer programs that give students the opportunity to expand their horizons and seek new experiences around the world. For senior Saakib Akbany, the American Youth Leadership program was the perfect fit.

As a government-funded program, AYLP offers students the opportunity to acquire firsthand experience with people from different cultures. It is specifically focused on how different countries handle their environmental issues while striving for a more sustainable, well-balanced society.

As someone who aspires to become an environmental engineer, Akbany applied for AYLP’s Singapore and Malaysia trip in the winter of 2013. After going through a series of interviews, Akbany and 21 other students were handpicked to participate in the program.

Before embarking on the journey, the students collaborated through online projects and did extensive research on the cultures of both Singapore and Malaysia, thus preparing themselves for the three-week trip in July.
“The projects were all virtual because everyone’s separated throughout the country; we’re all from different schools and different states,” Akbany said.

The overall purpose of AYLP’s Singapore and Malaysia trip was for students to obtain knowledge on how different countries approach environmental sustainability; to learn what they are doing correctly and how they, as students can implement their newfound skill sets in ways that can ultimately improve their community’s environmental conditions.

AYLP works alongside a nonprofit organization, Cultural Vistas. In the previous years, Cultural Vistas and AYLP conducted an exchange program in Japan. For four years, these organizations have been working together to provide educational exchange programs for students all around the world.

In Singapore, the students stayed at the Yale NUS campus before experiencing life with a family. They were able to visit Singapore’s parliament and embassy and even sat in on some government meetings. Yet among all those amazing experiences, Akbany most notably enjoyed learning about how the country disposes of their waste in an eco-friendly way.

“Because Singapore is so small, it doesn’t have space for landfills. What the people do is burn the trash, get energy out of it and remove the pollutants from the air, then use the incinerated ash and pack it with some sort of cement to create more land.” Akbany said.

The program also sent the students on a water plant tour. Akbany, along with the other participants of the program, was able to experience how the country cleans its water supply through reverse osmosis, or RO filter process.
“It’s cool because every single problem they are faced with, they have a really good attitude about it, which is something we lack in the United States” Akbany said.

Although the program places a large emphasis on educational aspects, the students also enjoyed plenty of sightseeing experiences. In Malaysia, the students experienced many different cultural activities from bamboo water rafting to mountain biking in the jungle. But what Akbany enjoyed most about the program were the people he met.

“Seeing and meeting people who were like-minded, and had the same drive and passion—that was just the coolest thing,” Akbany said.

After returning from AYLP’s Singapore and Malaysia trip, the students will act as influential leaders and apply their new skill sets to help improve their community and the environment around them.

“It’s inspiring to see that there are things we can improve on,” said Akbany. “People do things better, people live differently, and there are things we can all do better and now we have the skills to do it.” gapore and Malaysia trip was for students to obtain knowledge on how different countries approach environmental sustainability; to learn what they are doing correctly and how they, as students can implement their newfound skill sets in ways that can ultimately improve their community’s environmental conditions.

AYLP works alongside a nonprofit organization, Cultural Vistas. In the previous years, Cultural Vistas and AYLP conducted an exchange program in Japan. For four years, these organizations have been working together to provide educational exchange programs for students all around the world.

In Singapore, the students stayed at the Yale NUS campus before experiencing life with a family. They were able to visit Singapore’s parliament and embassy and even sat in on some government meetings. Yet among all those amazing experiences, Akbany most notably enjoyed learning about how the country disposes of their waste in an eco-friendly way.

“Because Singapore is so small, it doesn’t have space for landfills. What the people do is burn the trash, get energy out of it and remove the pollutants from the air, then use the incinerated ash and pack it with some sort of cement to create more land.” Akbany said.

The program also sent the students on a water plant tour. Akbany, along with the other participants of the program, was able to experience how the country cleans its water supply through reverse osmosis, or RO filter process.

“It’s cool because every single problem they are faced with, they have a really good attitude about it, which is something we lack in the United States” Akbany said.

Although the program places a large emphasis on educational aspects, the students also enjoyed plenty of sightseeing experiences. In Malaysia, the students experienced many different cultural activities from bamboo water rafting to mountain biking in the jungle. But what Akbany enjoyed most about the program were the people he met.

“Seeing and meeting people who were like-minded, and had the same drive and passion—that was just the coolest thing,” Akbany said.

After returning from AYLP’s Singapore and Malaysia trip, the students will act as influential leaders and apply their new skill sets to help improve their community and the environment around them.

“It’s inspiring to see that there are things we can improve on,” said Akbany. “People do things better, people live differently, and there are things we can all do better and now we have the skills to do it.”

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