IVLP alumni shares experience at US embassy

THE United States (US) Embassy in Brunei Darussalam yesterday hosted an outreach event for local Non-Hovernment Organisations (NGOs) and Bruneians who have actively participated in the US government-sponsored cultural exchange programmes.

Titled ‘Conversations’, the public diplomacy programme was aimed at encouraging dialogue and the exchange of ideas on volunteerism in the Sultanate.

Present at the event was the co-founder of Green Brunei, Khairunnisa Ash’ari, who shared her experiences as a participant in the recent International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) in the US.

Khairunnisa’s recent three-week trip focused mainly on volunteerism and youth.

She said that the IVLP programme gave her a better understanding of the volunteering culture in the US.

“The program itself was beyond exposure to the work of various nonprofit organisations; it was also about understanding the service-learning culture that is ingrained from a very young age,” said Khairunnisa.

She added that while volunteering is a part of the Sultanate’s culture, It still differs from how it was carried out in the US.

“While Brunei does have a volunteering culture, the level of commitment and passion for giving service I observed in the US was very different, and this is one of the important lessons that I am taking home with me.

“I learned about the various roles that the public and private sectors play in promoting social justice, and had dialogues with a number of inspiring individuals who are committed to making this world a better place,” added the environmental advocate.

Khairunnisa went on to say that she looks forward to and welcomes future collaboration with fellow exchange participants.

Several NGOs including the Brunei Darussalam AIDS Council, Brunei Youth Council, Brunei-US Association, Council of Social Welfare, Green Brunei, SMARTER Brunei, and the Women Graduates’ Association attended the outreach event.

Also present was the US State Department’s Deputy Director of the Office of Maritime Southeast Asia Affairs, Rachel Cooke.

Source: The Brunei Times