6th ASEAN Student Leaders Forum and ASEAN University Network-Student Affairs Network Meeting held in Vietnam

12 Jan 2018

 [Featured Photo: SMU students who participated at the 6th ASEAN Student Leaders Forum. (L-R): Yash Doshi (Accountancy Year 2), Kenneth Tan (Director, Office of Student Life), Ha Anh Tran (organiser and staff of Ho Chi Minh University), Derrick Pang (Accountancy Year 3), Kelvin Lim (Business Year 2)]

Three Singapore Management University (SMU) undergraduates – Derrick Pang (Accountancy Year 3), Kelvin Lim (Business Year 2) and Yash Doshi (Accountancy Year 2) represented Singapore at the 6thASEAN Student Leaders Forum (ASLF) cum 2nd ASEAN University Network – Student Affairs Network (AUN-SAN) held in Vietnam from 5 to 9 December 2017. A total of 69 student leaders from 23 ASEAN universities participated in this programme to enable student unions to share their knowledge and learn from one another, thus strengthening the regional collective bond and developing cohesion among ASEAN nations.

Since the first forum began in Singapore in June 2012, the organisation of the annual forum is rotated among the ASEAN Member States. The four-day programme includes both academic and non-academic programmes – keynote speeches, discussion and presentations, group meetings, social activities and cultural exposure. The key topic for this edition was ‘free mobility of skilled labour in ASEAN’.

The programme left participants with a better understanding of the outlook of the different ASEAN universities and what were some of the possible future initiatives to bring ASEAN universities closer together. A common thought among the SMU delegation, was that the team had gathered rich insights from fellow ASEAN student delegates. They gained new perspectives on how the different student unions operated in the various ASEAN countries as well as greater knowledge on topics which were discussed at the Forum.

Yash Doshi, a second year Accountancy student, had this to say about the programme, “The 6th ASLF was an enriching and eye-opening experience for me. As the incoming Honorary General Secretary of the 18th SMUSA Exco, it also allowed me to gain fresh insight on the structure and operations of all student unions in ASEAN. A key takeaway from the forum was the importance of soft skills such as presentation and leadership skills, all of which I feel SMU prepares us very well.”

Kelvin Lim, a second year Business undergraduate, agreed, “As the incoming SMUSA President, this trip has given me the opportunity to exchange perspectives with student leaders from other associations/unions and practise soft skills such as active listening, giving and receiving constructive feedback. I also realised that institutions are beginning to see the importance of personal values and development of soft skills - an aspect that SMU is recognised for, to prepare for future-ready leaders. Ranging from local projects, events, camps, positions in Constituent Bodies to OCSPs, SMU provides opportunities for leadership development for everyone.”

Derrick Pang, a third year Accountancy student, summed up the opportunity, “As an SMU Ambassador, I was given the opportunity to share my side of the SMU story, as both an SMU student and as a student ambassador. It is a full circle, to have the fortune to experience community service projects and school trips available to students, and use them as references in the discussion sessions. Midway into my university journey, I would say that SMU, as a small tightly-knit university, has bountiful opportunities up for grabs (be it exchanges, study missions, community service projects, etc.) and going beyond just participating in them, students return as leaders, delegates and representatives. It is easy to be caught in the hustle and bustle of academic work, but underlying those, these opportunities would really be the value add over just grades.”

More photographs can be found here.

Last updated on 24 Jan 2018.

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