Hafiz Shaik Abd Hardy

A Third Year Student of Urban and Regional Planning, UTM, Abd. Hafiz b. Sheik Abd. Hardy has been selected as one of the 7 Malaysian undergraduates to join a special program at East-West Centre in University of Hawaii. This program entitled The Thematic Institute on the Environment will take place from 10th May until 21st June, 2009.  Other participants that had been selected from Malaysia include students from Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Malaysia Sabah and Universiti Malaysia Terengganu. They will join other participants from Singapore, Fiji and Papua New Guinea in Hawaii. The selection was done competitively by the United States Embassy in the respective countries through the resumes that had been sent to them.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the students who take part in this six-week program will look at global environmental challenges and the need for active leadership to deal with them.  The program will provide a deeper understanding of the environmental movement in the U.S. and how advocates for environmental conservation and action undertake advocacy, market, policy, cultural and scientific approaches to environmental issues.  During final week of their program, the students will travel to San Francisco, California and visit the Capitol Hill at Washington, D.C for a field study.

The institute aims to provide a transformative learning experience for participants through introductions to a broad spectrum of American life; enhance networks of understanding linking participants with U.S. environmental actors and each other; transfer, where applicable, lessons from the U.S. to the participants’ countries; provide opportunities for U.S. practitioners to learn about participants’ countries environmental challenges; link the next generation of foreign leaders in the environmental movement with the U.S.; and develop collaborative projects among participants themselves and with U.S. organizations.

On 2nd April 2009, the Public Affairs and the Economic Section organized a pre-departure briefing and visa interview for the 7 Malaysian undergraduate students at the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.  The students met with Public Affairs staff to discuss the purpose and content of their upcoming program, and what to expect when traveling in Hawaii and the Continental United States.  They met other Embassy staff as well, including the Economic Counselor and the Environment Science Technology and Health officer.  Several local journalists were invited to attend and interview the students.