50 Student Ambassadors of Six Nationalities Board the Friendship Express to Build a Better World

Singapore, 17 September 2013 – 50 Singaporean and international students boarded a train bound for Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station today, kicking off the Malaysian leg of the Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF) annual Friendship Express (FX) programme. Like its inaugural run in 2012, this year’s two-week (16-29 September 2013) multimodal expedition across three countries aims to build relationships among student leaders of different nationalities and with communities in the region, nurture the spirit of social responsibility and encourage the application of knowledge to uplift lives.

FX participants aged 17 to 23 will collaborate in community projects in all three countries. They are all student leaders nominated by the five polytechnics in Singapore (Singapore Polytechnic, Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) in Malaysia and Bandung State Manufacturing Polytechnic (POLMAN) in Indonesia.

This year’s edition of FX also sees 20 partnering and supporting organisations – up from 14 in 2012 – across three countries joining hands with the SIF to drive this cross-cultural learning expedition. Among the SIF’s lead partners for the Singapore leg are Singapore Polytechnic (SP) and Food from the Heart (FFTH).

FX 2013 ITINERARY:

Singapore, 16 September 2013 (and earlier pre-launch activities)

This leg combined three main components: a dialogue with Malaysian High

Commissioner to Singapore Husni Zai Bin Yaacob, the Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia Ridwan Hassan and veteran Singapore diplomat Ambassador Verghese Matthews; the experience of volunteering with and understanding the work of local non-profit organisation Food from the Heart; and SP-conducted Design Thinking (DT) workshops and learning journeys across the island to inspire participants with the possibilities of applying DT in real situations. The Singapore experience inspired and prepared the FX participants for a journey of cross-cultural exchanges, creative problem-solving and youth volunteerism.

Malaysia, 17-24 September 2013

Participants will undertake social innovation project work in three village communities in Klang, Selangor on Pulau Indah. FX participants will spend five days engaging local villagers in active dialogue and brainstorming sessions to jointly develop project proposals using DT methodology. Project ideas brewing include the development of a plan to transform an existing waterfront into a tourism hotspot, ways to improve a food cottage industry, product innovation with melons and development of a sustainable eco-tourism business model.

The Malaysia leg will also include cultural appreciation events organised by MYC and UTM, and culminates in a ceremony at Rumah Temasek where the FX participants’ projects with village communities will be showcased.

Indonesia, 25-29 September 2013

Participants will share DT insights they have acquired by conducting workshops for 100 students from four high schools in Bandung, as part of the SIF’s Words on Wheels mobile library programme. Words on Wheels (Bandung), implemented by the SIF in partnership with the West Java Library Board (BAPUSIPDA), is a three-year programme launched in 2012 targeted at bringing learning activities and skills training to 15 schools and 4,000 schoolchildren. DT critical thinking skills will enable FX participants and high school students to identify and co-develop solutions to issues within the schools.

On 28 September, FX participants will arrive in Jakarta for the final leg of the FX journey and participate in an intercultural learning workshop organised by Bina Antarbudaya. The FX journey ends on 29 September with a closing ceremony in Jakarta.

“At SIF, we aim to bring world communities together to do good. Through FX 2013, the youth leaders of three countries will get to know one another better, gain insights into different cultures and engage in social innovation to benefit communities. We hope the power of common ties and shared perspectives developed between our youth leaders today will build a better future,” said SIF Executive Director Jean Tan.

POST-FX:

SIF and SP, the lead partner polytechnic, will assess projects for further development and/or implementation. Said SIF alumnus Wong Wei Yu, who participated in FX 2012: “Six months after FX, we returned to Baan Nong Kratum village in Thailand to implement the charcoal water filter prototype that we designed to solve their issue of dirty water. The villagers were delighted to see us return, and we were happy that what we learned in school could be applied to improve their lives in a small way.”

 

 

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