Apa Khabar?! I am Lai Cheng, Wong from Penang, Malaysia. I will be departing tomorrow to Washington D.C. and I am honored to be selected for the ICMA YSEALI Professional Fellowship Program (Cohort 2) focusing on Legislative Process and Governance.
I am currently based at SEAMEO RECSAM (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization – Regional Centre for Education in Science and Mathematics) located in Penang and heading the Publishing Unit. Here's a lilttle background info about SEAMEO.
SEAMEO RECSAM is one of the 21 SEAMEO regional centres throughout the Southeast Asia region. Since its inception in 1967, SEAMEO RECSAM has assisted in the major development of educational manpower for the advancement of science and mathematics education at both primary and secondary school levels for its eleven member countries, namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Vietnam.
By design SEAMEO RECSAM is located in Penang, a tropical island resort situated in the north-western tip of Peninsular Malaysia. Historically, travelers have been stopping at the port of Penang to view its natural and cultural attractions, to savor its wide variety of food and to meet its friendly people. This cosmopolitan state of 1.5 million people has been welcoming more than 3 million tourists annually. Penang has become one of the most culturally diverse destinations of the East where English is widely spoken and the locals are well known for their friendliness. This UNESCO heritage site has also been rated top 10 by readers of the Guardian in its list of "Holiday hotspots: where to go in 2014" and Lonely Planet as “Top Culinary Spot for 2014”.
My community challenge’s focus for this program is to optimize the impact of SEAMEO RECSAM as a public good institution by focusing on the development of educational manpower in the Southeast Asia region for sustainable development.
It is hoped that this experience will enable me to better understand how effective administration, governance, and accountability are managed in public sectors in the US and how the US Government strengthen their public education system and its educational reformation policies that leads to a brighter economic future for all Americans.
I believe that the experience provided by this fellowship program will be beneficial towards my personal and professional development that can help me progress and allow me to propose strategic/action plans for implementation back in my organization specifically and in SEAMEO region generally. Not only I will be able to submerge myself into new cultures, people and environment through this program, I will also be able to share and exchange knowledge and information about ASEAN & SEAMEO.
I certainly look forward to meeting with all of the other Fellows from ASEAN countries, ICMA teams as well as my host community at Coconino County, Arizona.
I would also like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, ICMA, ICLEI, my host community, host family and other relevant organizations for granting me this once-in-a-life-time opportunity. I strongly believe that my participation in this program will definitely help me and the Centre progress and enhance science and mathematics education for sustainable development in the Southeast Asian region and beyond.
No doubt, I will take full advantage of this opportunity. See you all soon!