Breaking silos through Communication.
Events, activities, media.

On 13 May 2011, I was featured in Singapore’s Malay Newspaper – Berita Harian – for my research and advocacy work on faith-based environmentalism.

In the interview, I noted how countries in the Muslim World largely fall into at least one of three categories in relation to climate change.

  1. Victims of climate change: Countries such as Bangladesh and Indonesia face rising sea levels and flooding, while sub-saharan Africa face drought.
  2. Contributors of climate change: Oil-rich Gulf Arab states have one of the highest carbon emissions per capita in the world, while the rate of deforestation in Indonesia makes its total carbon emissions to be just behind the US and China.
  3. Solutions to address climate change: Despite the bleak scenario, there are still opportunities for countries in the Muslim world to play a more active role in addressing environmental challenges. Resource rich Muslim countries ought to better strategise how they can invest in technology and other solutions. More effort would be needed for forest rich countries like Indonesia to preserve and rehabilitate their forests which act as “carbon sinks”.

In addition, all Muslims can do their part by taking inspiration and guidance from their faith. Despite the wealth of Islamic knowledge on nature and the environment, little has been done by Muslims to operationalise these principles. In this regard, further community action is needed.

wief2014The World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) invites applications for its 2014 WIEF Young Fellows programme from 18-24 June in Manila.

Who can apply?

  • Fresh graduates, young entrepreneurs, civil society leaders, community workers, researchers, junior professionals, artists, creative change makers who are between the ages of 20 and 30, and have a seed of an idea that they want to develop into a full-grown project.
  • Preference will be given to applicants who can demonstrate how this Programme will directly benefit them, their community and their country.
  • Proficiency in English is required. If you are accepted you will be required to participate fully in the discussions and role-plays in English.

How to apply?

  • Applying is a 2-step process. First, you need to send these details to Said Hamadi at said@wief.org.
  1. completed application form
  2. your CV
  3. letter of recommendation
  4. passport-sized photo
  • Second, if you are selected as a candidate, you are liable to pay a registration fee of USD100 to secure your placement.

Key points to note

  • WIEF Young Fellows 2014 is a subsidized programme for accepted candidates. Participants need to pay only the registration fee and their own return flights. Accommodation and transportation during the programme period, programme materials and basic everyday meals are covered by the organizer.
  • Closing Date of Application: 9 May 2014
  • Confirmation deadline. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of selection latest on 16 May (earlier applicants will be notified earlier.)
  • Proof of participation. If you are selected, you will be given a 2-week deadline to send us proof of your participation, by submitting your confirmed flight itinerary and paying your registration fee. Participants seeking financial support from their own organization and/or other foundations, crowdfunding, or sponsors, need to do so by the given deadline. If you pass this deadline, the organiser will transfer this opportunity to another candidate.
  • Commitment. As an annual programme, we only have spaces for 30 young leaders every year. It is a privilege if you are selected for this programme as you are chosen amongst hundreds of applicants. We expect you to take this opportunity to commit fully to the programme.
  • Cancellations. Please think before you register. Make sure you really can make the time to participate because last minute cancellations result in an opportunity lost to another young leader.

Click here for the WIEF Youth Fellows 2014 programme [in pdf format].

Click for the WIEF Youth Fellows 2014 application form [in word doc].

On 8 February 2014, Young AMP launched ‘Faith and Nature: An Eco-Guide to Greening Faith Communities’ in a bid to enhance environmental awareness and action amongst faith-based communities and organisations in Singapore. This publication was jointly authored by Sofiah Jamil, member of the Board of Management of Young AMP who champions Project ME: Muslims and Environment, and Farheen Mukri, from FirstFern Training and Consultancy.

In addition to highlighting environmental principles embedded in various faiths, the eco-guide also includes a checklist for faith-based organisations (including places of worship and religious schools) to audit their current efforts in adopting environmentally friendly practices, as well as recommending ways to reduce resource consumption in their daily faith community activities and engage other stakeholders.

The event also included an inter-faith panel discussion on the role of faith communities in environmental action. Panellists for the session were Brother Esmond Chua (Order of the Friars Minor), Venerable Seck Kwang Phing (Singapore Buddhist Federation), Master Chung Kwang Tong (Taoist Federation Youth Group) and Mr Vivek Kumra (Hindu Endowments Board). Sofiah moderated the discussion and shared some insights from her ongoing PhD research on Islamic environmental initiatives.

The discussions showed that there were many common themes across faiths on environmental protection such as humans’ responsibility in protecting God’s creations, the role of the youth in spearheading environmental action, and the importance of education for all sections of society.

Discussions were all the livelier given the active audience participation. Amongst the 60-odd participants were members of various faiths and environmental activists. The latter group provided various examples and practical solutions that could be adopted by the various faith communities. Ibu Mahaya Menon, for instance, spoke of the significance of natural medicinal plants, while Bhavani Prakash spoke of the prospects of growing your own food in limited spaces and visiting areas that have successfully walked the environmental talk.

Some among the audience also noted in the subsequent discussion that the society of today is preoccupied with consumerism, which increases the degree to which urban dwellers value materialistic lifestyles. Such attitudes also permeate how many believers approach their own religions; some believe that they can spend more money to win more blessings from their deities, while others believe that they do more good than others by virtue of donating more money.

Those interested in reading the guide can visit www.youngamp.sg or http://thegreenbush.wordpress.com/faith-nature-guide/ to download the electronic version of the publication. Limited hard copies of the book are also available for faith-based groups and organisations at AMP in Singapore.

Another book chapter in the bag. Weeee!!!! *Alhamdulillah* 🙂

gerlach bookThis chapter is part of an edited volume that has been the result of conference papers presented at Asia-Gulf relations workshop at the 2012 Gulf Research Meeting (GRM), held at the University of Cambridge in July 2012.

The 2012 GRM was perhaps the biggest compared to previous years, with a total 20 workshops happening simultaneously over 4 days and spread out in the various colleges of the University of Cambridge. Workshops covered a wide range of topics with a focus on the Gulf Arab region, including the impact of the Arab Spring on the GCC, Gulf-Latin America relations, Women, Energy and environment, socio-economic impacts of migration, tourism, visual culture, Islamic finance, etc…  I sort of regretted not being able to slip out to sit in for the environment workshop. Oh well, next time!

It’s also fun (and somewhat freaky) to meet random individuals a few thousand miles away, and realise that you have mutual friends in other parts of the Gulf and Asia. The world is getting REALLY  small microscopic!

Following the conference, I took the opportunity to meet fellow Muslim environmentalists in Birmingham and London (which itself deserves an over-due blog post… akan datang!)

Details of the book’s contents are available here [in pdf]

A report of the 2012 Gulf Research Meeting can be found here [in pdf].

Spot TheGreenBush: 3rd Gulf Research Meeting, University of Cambridge, July 2012
Spot TheGreenBush: 3rd Gulf Research Meeting, University of Cambridge, July 2012 [Credits to the Gulf Research Center]

Good news and opportunities should always be shared. Like this one.

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Call for Applications for the Islamic Development Bank Group’s Young Professionals Program (YPP)

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group which based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is pleased to announce the recruitment for it’s  Young Professionals Program. The Young Professionals Program (YPP) is the strategic talent pipeline for professional careers in the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group. The Program is designed for outstanding young graduates who can significantly help the IDB Group to carry out its mission and attain its objectives. Details of the YP Program are attached.

IDB representatives will be in Singapore on 4 March 2013 to conduct a career presentation to registered participants and interview pre-selected candidates. If you are interested, kindly do the following:

a) Those who meet the YP Program requirements are advised to apply online through: www.isdbcareers.com
You shall be contacted if you are selected for preliminary interview scheduled on 4 March 2013

b) The career presentation is open to all but space is limited. Please register your participation to: ypp@isdb.org. Walk-ins are subject to place availability.
Details of presentation are as follows:

Date 4 March 2013
Time 10.45 am
Venue 5th Floor,Muis Academy, Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis)
Singapore Islamic Hub, 273 Braddell Road, Singapore 579702

In addition, the Bank will also participate in the Career & Education Fair 2013 at Marina Bay Sands on 2 – 3 March 2013. You are welcome to visit the Booth 100C for a career discussion.

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I’m usually a slow reader, but there’s something about the National Library of Australia that just keeps me going.

Maybe it’s their awesome collection of books, where you can stumble upon some really fascinating finds.

Or maybe it’s the super conducive reading environment, which includes an alfresco cafe view that overlooks the lake.

Or maybe it’s just me in stressed student mode trying to meet a deadline. Hmm…

A slight abberation to what I usually post, but this is such a MUST post!

Shila Amzah from Malaysia wins the Asian Wave 2012 in China with her amazing voice, stage presence and lovely choice of songs from three languages – English, Mandarin and Malay.

Not only is Shila a testament that language is no boundary and music and passion conquers all, she’s truly an inspiration for many of us, especially Muslim youth worldwide.

Congrats Shila! The judges’ reactions are totally EPIC (especially at 14:57)! Haha! You rock!

Best wishes from the concrete island across the causeway 🙂