Saturday, May 31, 2014

4th Australian-ASEAN Emerging Leaders Program (A2ELP): Day 1

The first formal day of the A2ELP program was truly informative and engaging. I was eager to listen to stories from Sabah and how social institutions and leaders in this part of Malysia deal with regional security issues.

 We started the day at 9 with Dato Ahmad Nadzer, the Deputy commissioner of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom). His discussion and presentation on the duties and challenges of ESSCOM from the organisational and local perspectives are truly thought-provoking. I learnt a number of interesting issues such as (1) the way in which Sabah Government needs to reconsider maritime and land security issues, (2) points on the resettlement of water villages community, and (3) civilian approaches for long term peace keeping in the region (including South East Asia).

We continued our conversation on security and  civil society with Dr. Felix Tongkul and K.Shan. Both speakers offered their experiences with various civil society groups. Dr. Tongkul has been one of the most active academics in Sabah who promotes concept of engagement with civil sector (which he called 'the 3rd sector'). His references to a civil sector group called Forever Sabah confirm the roles of community on the promotion of peace, cultural heritage and long-term relationship with other stakeholders. K Shan also offered similar ideas and approaches to the audiences and concluded that social engagement is a way to go for peace building.

The framework on community development and ways to engage with various local stakeholders to build peace was strongly emphasized by all speakers. As an outsider, I learnt different types of leadership that seem to work in the Malaysian culture context. For instance, I have an impression that a strong leader who can be flexible with approaches to engage with people from eclectic needs and backgrounds can be desirable for situation in Sabah.

Our afternoon session was another interesting experiences for me and my fellows in the program. We had a wonderful opportunity to visit Kampung Kipouvo and listens to experiences from the community leaders. In fact, PACOS Trust, a community-based organisation (CBO) dedicated towards supporting indigenous communities in Sabah, started the conversation with some common backgrounds in Kipouvo. The stories from all fours community leaders are extremely interesting. I learnt that the community has long been vulnerable to issuses such as human trafficking, land grabbing, migration and poor treatment by some 'formal' institutions. The speakers shared some sentimental stories on racial and religious discrimination which has been an on-going issue among them.

At the end of the session, we moved to St. Michael's Secondary School Penampang. This is really one of the highlights since we met with, one of the most inspiring educational leaders, Ms. marie Yong who has been directing the school  into the direction of eco and green education. We met with students and listened to their presentations on educative and practical eco-education actions and programs such as 'A Drain of Hope For You' and 'Water Vision'. Kids also demonstrated how the projects can directly and indirectly impact their behavior and mindsets.

We ended the day with 'Transect Walk' around the city of Kota Kinabalu and we observed the surroundings and livelihood in this area.

The first day went very quickly and full of interesting issues that challenge our thoughts on 'regional' and 'national' dichotomy. Some local examples from Sabah provoke my thoughts on our region and how the concept of 'people-to-people' work (or will work) successfully by various political and social mechanisms.

Friday, May 30, 2014


The Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leaders Program (A2ELP) is an annual, multi-day program coinciding with and including attendance at the Asia-Pacific Roundtable. Now in its 4th year, the A2ELP in 2014 is facilitated by The Asia Foundation alongside the 28th Asia-Pacific Roundtable that is convened annually by ISIS Malaysia.

The program brings together inspiring young leaders from Australia and South East Asia, representing the government, non-government, corporate, and media sectors, and exposes them to high-level discussions on contemporary issues; provides a forum to develop their understanding of regional issues and capacity as regional leaders; and builds long-term, productive linkages with each other and with the region's leading thinkers and specialists.

The A2ELP is jointly funded by the Australian Government through the Australia-Malaysia Institute and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, The Asia Foundation and Genovasi, in cooperation with the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur.

The 2014 A2ELP program has 3 components. The young leaders will participate in the Asia-Pacific Roundtable (APR) where they will engage in strategic discussions on regional political, economic, and security challenges with the region's most eminent experts.  Second, participants will visit Sabah where they will experience and observe similar regional challenges and issues (such as security, environment, and human trafficking) in real time, as they are played out in communities, with local actors.  Third, they will be coached and mentored in innovative leadership strategies which they will apply to their own regional initiatives.

The Asia Pacific Roundtable is an annual gathering of the ASEAN-ISIS network that began in 1987 and has since become the signature regional Track Two dialogue in Southeast Asia. The APR brings together the region's foremost specialists on matters such as security (traditional and non-traditional), governance and politics, honouring ASEAN's commitment to open and frank dialogue.

Find out more about the 2014 Asia Pacific Roundtable.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Comparative Leadership Styles: Thailand and Australia

We have learnt from this project that organisational culture can be very influential when it comes to leadership styles (or effective leadership styles). Our team gathered data from public sector organisations in Australia and Thailand and analysed the data in 2012. The findings are interesting and are published in the latest issue of Asian Academy of Management Journal.
This is the abstract of the paper:
Leadership is deeply attached to culture. This study compares leadership styles in Thai and Australian public sectors. The data were collected from staff in public sector settings in Australia and Thailand. The results confirm four leadership styles that suit the public sector culture in both countries: communication-oriented, strategic thinking and planning, relationship building, and conflict management. In the Thai public sector system, leadership that focuses on goal orientation is ranked most highly: Australian public sector organisations focus on leadership that fosters equity among organisational members, creates a supportive environment in the workplace, and facilitates participation. It is evident from this study that significant distinctions between the organisational cultures of Thailand and Australia are matched by marked dissimilarities of preferred leadership styles. Thus, an understanding of local organisational culture is important for effective leadership at all levels.
A full version of this paper can be accessed at this link
Reference: Asian Academy of Management Journal, Volume 17, Issue 2.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Another reflections from the participants

This is the interview with P Sroy from the office of basic education commission, the Ministry of Education and P Pan from the Bureau of Human Resource.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Reflections from the participants

One aspect which is very important for the workshop is reflections from the participants. We have recorded some participants who agreed to have their ideas and voices shared with the public. They talked about the project and experiences they shared with other participants. Once again, we need to thank ATI for your continuous support.

3 students from Burapha University and full-time workers from private sector

Khun Preecha from the Ministry of Education, Thailand

Presentation from the class

This VDO is the presentation of K.Jor on King Rama V's leadership.