The much anticipated Tan Sri Dr Omar Harmony Award - a social enterprise track instituted by UCSI University to recognise students’ activities that promote cohesion and harmony in an effective and sustainable manner - was officially launched on October 1, 2019 at UCSI University KL Campus.
“This is a platform where university students can provide input, ideas, plans and visions to foster and inculcate harmony in our community,” said Vice-Chancellor and President of UCSI University, Academician Senior Professor Dato’ Dr Khalid Yusoff in his opening remarks.
Academician Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Omar Abdul Rahman, a member of the UCSI University Council and founder of the Award was also present at the event. According to him, peace and security cannot exist without harmony, and there will be no progress and prosperity if there is no peace and security.
The event started with the presentations given by the three finalists where the chosen subjects of interest included the usage of sports as a tool for empowering marginalised communities, mental health support, and nurturing youth leaders through experiential learning.
Next in line was a special appearance by Kim Lim, a co-founder of PichaEats – a social enterprise that empowers refugees living in Malaysia by providing them income earning opportunities in the food making business – and a UCSI University alumni, who delivered a talk on how the youths can become active agents of social change.
The Award ceremony was made even more memorable with the presence of Minister of Education Dr Maszlee Malik, who visited UCSI University for the first time and presented the awards to three well-deserving winning teams from the competition, namely Dynamic Youth (1st Prize), Scholars Enrichment Programme or SEP (2ndPrize), and MindFlu (3rd Prize).
“We believe that our students, regardless of their age, background, gender, race or religion are some of our best change agents to inspire change and unity,” said the Education Minister.
“Our vision is that our schools and universities empower our students to not just learn from theory, but experience putting into practice what they’ve learnt including their communities. This is where the very foundation of the mantra ‘school for community’ and ‘university for society’ comes in,” he added.
The Award had indeed left a mark on the students, especially the winners who were very much pleased with the nominations and felt even more motivated to continue making impacts onto the community at large.
“It’s quite unbelievable that we’ve won (first place) in this competition as we have prepared so much for the proposals and presentation in just a month. Part of the prize money will be used for our project budget, which includes future expenses while the remaining will go towards celebrating our success,” said Kh’ng Yong Haw, one of the 28 members of Dynamic Youth who represented the team on stage for presentation.
“We feel honoured to have been selected as the Second Prize Winner. The most important thing about the Award is not about getting the prize, but it’s more about telling people that we, the youths are doing something positive such as this and that we are empowering other youths,” exclaimed Lee Yee Jeat and Wong Wei Hao, who represented the Second Prize Winner of the Award called Scholar Enrichment Programme.
“It was such an honour and a pleasure for us to be selected as the Third Prize Winner of the Award. We had to compile everything for the project in a span of maybe two to three months as we were informed of the Award quite late,” said MindFlu representatives Federica Lorenza and Melissa Chew Meishi.
Dr Maszlee Malik also expressed his encouragement towards all students to rise up to the challenge of making Malaysia a wonderful place of opportunity and equality.
The Award ceremony was subsequently followed by the launching of the opening of Block G, UCSI University by Dr Maszlee. The building comprises of a world-class basketball court on the 12th floor, a six-floor carpark, a media centre, classrooms, lecture halls and eateries.
“Interestingly, this building illustrates green initiatives. I’ve been told that this building adopts the rainwater harvesting system and is powered by LED lights. The SDG Secretariat of UCSI University has also noted the green corner concept whereby each department is encouraged to have a space for their little garden,” Dr Maszlee said, praising the University for its sustainability approaches.
UCSI will continue championing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through its green initiatives and other events, particularly, ones that promote SDG 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions as it leverages on being the best private university in Malaysia twice in a row according to the QS World University Rankings 2019 and 2020.