By Our Reporter
Diplomacy Talk Series (DTS) was co-founded by Brickfields Asia College first-year law student Katrina Doshi and Hamza Abdi, a first-year political science student from University of Razak.
Twenty one-year-old Malaysian Katrina has worked closely with the Cambodia Ministry of Education, Commonwealth, a number of international and local NGOs, and Permaisuri Johor Raja Zarith Sofia. Currently, Katrina is working closely with former US President Bill Clinton and the United Nations.
Hamza Abdi, a 20-year-old Kenyan, has founded a few NGOs both in Malaysia and Kenya. Katrina co-founded DTS with Mizfa Saeed.
The youngsters share common goals and passions for matters ranging from youth, sustainable development goals, diplomacy and international relations; hence, the decision to leverage their skills, connections and influence to build DTS.
DTS’s objective is to create awareness amongst youth on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030. The SDGs (or Global Goals for Sustainable Development) are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations Development Programme. The formal name for the SDGs is: ‘Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.’
The reason for placing their focus on the SDGs is because Katrina and Hamza realised the alarming current gap between high-level SDG policies and lay youth understanding of it. They hope to create more awareness amongst youth on SDG 2030, as the total percentage of youth worldwide is 50.5% of the total global population.
They believe that youth are the biggest stakeholders in making SDGs 2030 a reality.
Their aim is to ensure Diplomacy Talk Series can be the perfect solution for SDG 2030 to reach out to the youth. The DTS is currently executed in Malaysia and Maldives. In Malaysia, the DTS team is working in partnership with BAC’s Career Club and another student organisation called Study Africa to organise four talks in Brickfields Asia College, in the coming months.
As an overview, some of the prestigious speakers giving talks in BAC include Fiji High Commissioner to Malaysia, H.E. Kolinio Takali, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Ambassador to Malaysia, H.E. Emir Hadzikadunic, South Africa High Commissioner to Malaysia, H.E. Mhlanga and an alumnus of Oxford and Cambridge University, Dr Renard Siew.
Selection of speakers was not a random call. Instead, it was done in accordance to each country’s involvement in its chosen SDG topic, as well as based on the experiences of the ambassadors in those capacities.
For example, High Commissioner Kolinio will be speaking on SDG 13 which is on climate action. The Republic of Fiji is a nation that is recognised by the international community as taking lead in SDG 13. On top of that, Kolinio himself is a Permanent Representative to the UN for Fiji and has vast knowledge in this area.
All content will be checked through and vetted to ensure the talks are as compact, informative and impactful as possible.
The SDGs strategically chosen are SDG 5 Gender Equality, SDG 13 Climate Action, SDG 16 Peace Justice & Strong Institution, and lastly, SDG 8 Decent Work & Economic Growth.
DTS has other projects underway in Malaysia as they are currently planning on a partnership with Microsoft and other universities.
In the Maldives, DTS is working closely with an NGO there and a few other partners through their appointed Maldives Country Director, Mizfa Saeed for a Summit on Sustainable Development Goals, which is scheduled to take place in November 2018 in the island nation’s capital of Male.
Moving forward, DTS also intends to extend its operations to other countries such as Kenya, Fiji, Indonesia and Cambodia.