Jeffrey - Chili Padi Academy - Singapore
What three things do you do differently after your program at the East-West Center (SUSI/YSEALI)?
I have come to recognize the importance of environmental education, previously neglected in Singapore and among peers, as a means and form of activism and meaningful social change. This required me to learn more about applying capacity building and effective leadership in the face of challenges to environmental issues.
I saw how environmental education and activism could be conducted in a more innovative, effective and engaging way that spurs action. I created, along with two other members from the same YSEALI cohort, a unique environmental education accelerator program called the Chili Padi Academy that emphasizes empathy, action and reflection.
I have become more dedicated and focused in my activism approaches towards environmental sustainability, and have found a new passion to explore new methods in generating social change through effective education and collaboration.
What impact did the program have on your career?
Being in YSEALI at the East-West Center has strengthened my convictions to pursue a career in international sustainable development. The new tools of social innovation, design thinking and collaborative and effective leadership have also opened new doors to possible pathways in the quest for systemic change, and in generating new educational opportunities in the field of environmental activism for the next generation of young leaders. The program has enabled me and my partners (Amalina and Ines from YSEALI EWC 2015) to successfully develop and conduct a unique and distinctive environmental education accelerator program that empowers senior high school students from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia to create and implement their own sustainability initiatives. The program is now in its second year running in 2017.
What issues are you most passionate about in your daily life?
As a global citizen, I am most passionate about enhancing capacities and providing opportunities to achieve more just, sustainable, and resilient living communities for others. Our human and urban condition today is characterized by mounting social and environmental inequities. Throughout my lifetime, I aim to address some of these most pressing challenges confronting humanity.
How have you come to see leadership?
I have come to strongly believe that addressing the challenges of our human and urban condition requires greater social innovation, thinking in systems, and most importantly, listening with empathy. Leadership to me also means having to work united as a team to effectively navigate challenges, and knowing which tools or resources to mobilize for the right purposes. It should also be associated with equitable decision-making processes.