21 April 2015


Kuala Lumpur: Running into its third year, CIMB Foundation with the support of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), hosted and brought together 50 of ASEAN’s most outstanding undergraduates from South East Asia’s various educational institutions to take part in the CIMB Young ASEAN Leaders 2015. The event was held at the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations in Kuala Lumpur.


Organised from 21 to 23 April 2015 with the theme ‘Protecting ASEAN Heritage’, the event provided a conducive environment for students, researchers and practitioners who are interested in ASEAN’s heritage, the opportunity to discuss on the promotion, protection and conservation of ASEAN heritage in a lively and robust manner.  


In her opening speech, Raja Noorma Othman, Chief Executive Officer of CIMB Foundation said, “ASEAN is home to 10 culturally diverse and historically rich countries. Preserving the ASEAN heritage is one of the key principles under the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community blueprint and as such, commands significant focus for Malaysia as the ASEAN Chair for 2015.”


She continued, “In line with CIMB Group’s mission of being the leading ASEAN franchise and being committed to empowering the communities we operate in, CIMB Foundation with the help of few strategic partners namely University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Air Asia, is championing this initiative as we aim to mould ASEAN’s future leaders and educate them on the significance of our heritage to ensure the values of our cultural heritage are preserved.”


The three-day programme featured a combination of keynote addresses and workshops with industry experts, along with lively panel discussions. It features two full-day workshops and a one-day heritage site visit. The workshops will cover topics such as the importance of heritage conservation, heritage challenges and interventions as well as technical skills in promoting, conserving and preserving tangible and intangible heritage.


Combining both conceptual and practical modules in the context of the ASEAN Social-Cultural Community, the event saw ASEAN heritage experts sharing and exchanging ideas. They include Francesco Volpini who is the Director of Research and Development of Better World Korea and also the Asia Coordination of the UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers initiative, Prof. Dr. Norhayati Ahmad from the Faculty of the Environmental Science Programme, UKM and Prabha Sundram of the University Community Transformation Centre, UKM. In addition to these workshops, there was also a dialog on the importance of ASEAN by YAM Tunku Zain Abidin, Founding President of IDEAS, and Fellow at the CIMB-ASEAN Research Institute.


The event attracted a wide variety of undergraduates from across ASEAN but participants were selected under stringent criteria. One of the criteria requires participants to be working on a community project for heritage conservation. Following the seminar, students are required to team up according to their countries of origin and submit a ‘Protecting ASEAN Heritage’ project proposal. The best developed proposal will be eligible for CIMB Foundation’s seed funding of USD5,000, which will be used to develop the project when they return, ensuring the project proposals will contribute positively to the community.


The programme had, in its successful debut in 2012 and second summit in 2014, gathered a total of 100 university students from the 10 ASEAN countries to step into the shoes of ASEAN policy makers, debating issues relating to the ASEAN Economic integration and forming resolutions that are in line with the ASEAN Economic Community blueprint. Starting this year, CIMB Young ASEAN Leaders will take on a cultural heritage view and subsequently, it will alternate its theme annually, between the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC), to encompass a wider scope.

Tan Sri G K Rama Iyer, a member of the Board of Trustees of CIMB Foundation (11th from right of the second row) and Raja Noorma Othman, Chief Executive Officer of CIMB Foundation (9th from left of the second row) with the delegates of the CIMB Young ASEAN Leaders 2015 in Kuala Lumpur.