July 9, 2018: On July 5, we wrapped up the second successful leadership training program at the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in Penang in partnership with the Center for Research on Women and Gender (KANITA). The 12-day training, attended by 22 accomplished young women, has doubled in size since last year’s pilot program and has grown to include participants from all ten ASEAN nations, plus Nepal. We also welcomed back four program alumnae who helped to facilitate discussions and to build out the alumnae network. The curriculum, taught by professors, scholars and business leaders, included critical thinking, women’s health, debate, leadership skills, civic engagement, Southeast Asian government and society, gender studies, and communications and technology.

We welcomed notable guest speakers, including former Chief Minister of Penang, Dr. TK Koh, former Minister of International Trade and Industry Rafidah Aziz, and entrepreneur Paul Flowerman. The Leadership curriculum was led by Penny Burtt, CEO of Asialink. Participants enjoyed community work on the island of Pulau Aman and a site visit to the Women’s Center for Change. Friendships flourished quickly among the participants as they learned and shared together–-and the alumnae network is growing and active. Two of last year’s participants started their own women’s leadership programs in Myanmar and the Philippines, and this year’s participants are already discussing their own joint initiatives. The third program is scheduled for June 16 – June 27, 2019.