Community Mediation Workshop at International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Sustainability Institute
Breakfast with YSEALI fellows from Thailand, Malaysia, US and Vietnam
Community Garden tour at UKM
Eating with friends after hike at Butik Gasing

Sustainability Planner goes to Malaysia

Pam Adams, Sustainability Planner for the Centre Region, traveled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia May 8 – 22, 2023 through the Department of State’s YSEALI Professional Fellows Reciprocal Exchange Program. The project focused on collaboration between universities and local governments related to climate action and sustainability.

The main project was the development of an International Symposium on Environmental and Climate Change Mediation hosted by the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). Chiew Ee Kwong and Dr. Maizatun Mustafa led the coordination of creating a high-level dialogue session on climate change in the morning and an afternoon workshop on community mediation with Dr. Hanna Ambaras Khan. Representatives attended from local universities, non-profits, Malaysia's federal government, and the European Union.

During the two-week trip Ms. Adams had additional meetings with universities to share how the Centre Region COG has worked collaboratively with Penn State to move through the climate action planning process. She discussed the public forum Addressing Climate Impacts in the Centre Region that was facilitated by Penn State Law’s Mediation of Environmental and Public Conflicts course and benefits of participating in the Sustainable Communities Collaborative (SCC).

Highlights included meeting many wonderful people, learning about the Malaysian culture, participating in the IIUM international symposium, having tea at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia's (UKM) community garden, and hiking at Bukit Gasing Forest Reserve with Chiew and her friends. With the new connections made, Ms. Adams hopes this will lead to more collaboration between Malaysia universities, the State College community, and Penn State in the form of research and exchange opportunities. 

The project was a result of the Centre Region COG hosting two Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Professional Fellows in June 2022. Chiew Ee Kwong, a law partner with Rahmat Lim & Partners in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Anh Thú Phan (Tess), a Professor at The University of Law within Hue University in Hue, Vietnam visited for four weeks. During their time in State College they learned about what we are doing related to climate action and sustainability. At the conclusion of their visit they summited a project proposal of what actions they would like to take back to their country. On December 2022 Ms. Adams and Ms. Kwong were notified by the State Department that their project proposal was among the 20% selected  for funding.