This year marks the expansion of the Global Inclusive Leadership Program from China to Thailand. More than one thousand students in eighteen institutes from Greater China, Thailand and the UK participate in the STEM+ Leadership Weeks. Students immerse themselves in cross-cultural and social-mixing environment to develop and work closely together to come up with solutions that go beyond their training while adapting themselves in different cultural settings and developing global-minded perspective. For the participants, it is a journey of self-discovery and self-development. Among the values and skills students acquire in the program, innovative ideas, unconditional love and the spirit of teamwork stand out as the most noted and will help them to prepare for the future – a future of global citizenship. As one of the most respected educators in Thailand remarks: “it is truly an education of the twenty-first century.”
The core of the STEM+ Leadership Week is the Training the Trainers Leadership Roundtables (TTLR) and the STEM+ challenges. The TTLR gives students a grounding of the value-based leadership training and the background training for teamwork and team spirit. The STEM+ challenges are designed and led by our fellows who are post-doctoral researcher and PhD candidates from the University of Cambridge and the University of London. This year the four challenges are Genome Big Data, Health Innovation, Quantum Music, and the Future Cities. These challenges encourage students to step out of their comfort zone and to see a bigger picture of the world. Students come to discover the importance to be innovative, and to learn to work with teammates, and to understand the power of teamwork that is far beyond one single person can achieve. No less challenging is the presentation of their findings and solutions that are required to be demonstrated in the forms of video-clips, infographics, posters, and music performance and rapping. To cap it all is the Final Challenge which is a real test for combining the value-based leadership training together with the knowledge and skill learned in the program to create a better world of the future. Both winning teams, the ‘Remarkable’, and the ‘Spiderman’, stood out in their innovative ideas for the world of tomorrow and for global citizenship.
New to this year’s program is the Final Exhibition where students have the opportunity to showcase their work over the course of the STEM+ Leadership Week. It is wonderful to witness the passion and dedication behind the presentation in posters, 3D models, craft works, and even music. It is very inspirational to have a glimpse of the future world through some of wonderful exhibitions. Here is another worthy stage for students to share their ideas and make positive impact.
Prior to the opening ceremony in Zhenjiang, China, Mr Jesse Wu, a distinguished global business leader, came to share his vison and wisdom of leadership with the students. In Thailand, Professor Mete Atature of the University of Cambridge, delivered the key-note speech soon after performing with students in STEM+ rapping on the stage. Two principals from Zhenjiang, Mr Zhong Weigui of Dagang High School and Mr Huang Weirong of Dantu High School also shored up their support for the Global Inclusive Leadership Program.
The rich cultural, social aspects of the STEM+ Leadership Week go beyond the classrooms and the stage. In Zhenjiang, more than thirty students from Thailand and the UK are housed in hosting families. In Bangkok, overseas teachers and students enjoy their stay in the beautiful settings of Vajiravudh College, while Chitralada Technology Institute provide venues for challenges as well as speed-dating and cooking sessions which further enhance the mutual understanding and appreciation of different social and cultural backgrounds. Here is a platform for growth and development not just for the students. It is also for the fellows who run the challenges; for interns who assist and support the information technology development and communications; for volunteers; and for student leaders who have been with us since the inception of the program. It is also a stage for more than one hundred teachers and parents who come and witness their own kids’ progress and participated in the “Cool Parents” live competition. The winners of the award exhibit parenting ideas that are in line with the ideas of unconditional love and support that have positive impact on their children.
All the efforts come together at the Vajiravudh College in the Final Challenge, Final Exhibition and Inclusive Concert: an epitome of the ideas of the program, “Life upon Life”, and “Be the Example, Be the Culture, Be the Movement’. The journey they embark today will help their future tomorrow. One of the most moving performance in the concert is the Chinese song “Love Devotion”, sung by Chinese and Thai students and accompanied by deaf students from the local Setsatian School. It is a great harmony of voices and hearts and the lyric and message of unconditional love will stay in the mind of the students who will be the leaders of tomorrow.