Programs & Events
Lincoln Corner Kuala Lumpur Celebrates Youth, Tomorrow's Leaders
On Wednesday, July 18, the Lincoln Corner in the Kuala Lumpur Library and the Lincoln Resource Center hosted “Celebrating Youth, Tomorrow’s Leaders”, an English enhancement program at the KL Library. Thirty-five Form Four (tenth grade) female students from St. Mary’s Secondary School (Kepong, Kuala Lumpur) practiced English skills while developing their leadership and public speaking skills and gained a better understanding of American youth and lifestyles. The program was facilitated by Public Affairs Intern Shavia Westmoreland, and Lincoln Corner Director Gerard George, and supported by Kuala Lumpur Library partners, including Senior Librarian Puan Norizam Abdul Ghani, Adviser Mr. Fong Ah Fook and Lincoln Corner Librarian M. Mazrizal.
In the opening segment on “Youth – A Key Leadership Resource for the Future”, the participants learned about the challenges of youth--a phase in life between dependence (on parents and/or guardians) to independence (adulthood) and the importance of proper formation via formal and informal education and training in order to become leaders in their own right, serving their own families and the larger communities in which they live. They were also informed about the dangers of falling prey to unhealthy lifestyles, drug dependence and possibly even criminal activity such as trafficking in human persons and the “dumping of babies” as a result of unplanned pregnancies—stories often carried in the local media. These ideas, coupled with emphasis on youth getting involved in further impactful decision-making in society affirmed the participants’ need for youth to be trained and equipped adequately to face the challenges of the world and to lead communities positively in the future.
Embassy seminar facilitators distributed an IIP-produced article, “Helping Family, Friends, and Her Community” in which eighteen-year old American student Katheryn Conde is described as a young emerging leader on many fronts. It helped the all-female participants identify with their counterpart from a modest home, grappling with the challenges facing American youth, but “driven by a desire to succeed and give back to those who have given her so much, including her parents, teachers, and school.” The facilitators explained that some American online and television programs on youth lifestyles such as “Gossip Girl” and “Friends” do not accurately convey American life. To support this idea further, copies of IIP-produced e-journal, American Teenagers, were distributed to the participants. It contained several articles of American teenagers, who, in their own words, discuss what they think, do and feel about music, school, cross-cultural understanding, future plans, etc.
In another segment, the students viewed a video clip on General Colin Powell on leadership and then shared ideas about leadership formation during group discussions facilitated by Shavia and Gerard. A handout on “Some Famous American Quotes” highlighting wisdom from President Obama, Benjamin Franklin, and Amelia Earhart enabled the groups to further deliberate on different elements of leadership, including the importance of ethics, honesty, and motivation.
In the final segment on Toward Future Leadership, the participants, in groups of five, presented short summaries on topics such as how to increase student and citizen participation in social development, how to train youth to become leaders, and how to handle conflict and promote peace. The seminar concluded with prizes (in the form of caps with Lincoln Corner emblems) presented to ten participants for their well-developed brief and inspiring speeches and teamwork. The ten, from two groups, presented on how civic groups may partner with the government and how they may increase advocacy and create awareness on public issues.
In the end, a class leader thanked the U.S. Embassy and KL Library and said that she was positive all the participants involved would become leaders in the future. The program received high acclamations from the St Mary’s Secondary School Teacher, Mrs. M. Deva, as well as from KL Library staff. The participants then enjoyed a tour of the Lincoln Corner collection and were feted to lunch sponsored by the KL Library. They then returned to their school in the afternoon with and a more balanced understanding of American youth and lifestyles and IIP handouts only available at the Lincoln Corners.