KUALA LUMPUR,  23 April 2021 – University Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) and the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), in partnership with environmental NGO, EcoKnights launched their most recent youth empowerment program, titled University Civic Engagement Club (UCEC).

Supported by U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur, the launching ceremony was held at Taman Eko Rimba KL (Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve), attended by His Excellency Brian D. McFeeters, U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia; Prof. Emeritus Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, Rector of IIUM; Professor Dato’ Dr. Mohamed Ridza bin Wahiddin, Vice-Chancellor of USIM; Dr. Yasmin Rasyid, Founder and President of EcoKnights; youth representatives from the universities, as well as members of the media.

“Focusing on environmental issues and challenges is an important way that citizens can be actively engaged in society. The U.S. Embassy has taken a leading role in supporting this engagement and is committed to advocating for civic engagement among youth.  Through the UCEC program, the U.S. Embassy hopes to empower a sustainable mindset that can foster a spirit of community service, civic engagement, and environmental stewardship among youth,” said U.S. Ambassador His Excellency Brian D. McFeeters during his speech.

UCEC aspires to empower young future leaders in environmental sustainability, conservation, and climate action by incorporating the sustainability eco-campus concept. University leaders will be equipped with the knowledge and skills set to kickstart movements focused on social and environmental change.

During the launch, Guests of Honour submitted their pledges to contribute to environmental protection on the UCEC website.. The pledges transpired to the planting of 10 Merbau trees at the site, further joined by student representatives from USIM and IIUM

“The environment pledge initiative is an excellent opportunity for the students to take a moment and think about what they can do for the environment. It could be the first step for many of the students, and we hope by taking this first step, they will advance further to advocate for it,” said Professor Dato’ Dr. Mohamed Ridza bin Wahiddin, Vice-Chancellor of USIM during the ceremony.

As good stewards of the planet, today’s launch witnessed the materialization of USIM’s and IIUM’s aspiration to care for the environment – a deeper manifestation and homage to the holy month of Ramadhan.

“This event mirrors closely to the aspiration of IIUM as a UN acknowledged Regional Centre of Expertise on Sustainable Development to advance Whole Institution Transformation in translating sustainability into action. This is vital in demonstrating IIUM’s commitment to the community of the University as well as beyond the campus,” said Prof. Emeritus Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, Rector of IIUM. He further added that this event resonates well with the Ramadhan spirit of caring and sharing.

The ceremony closed with the briefing session on UCEC, led by EcoKnights Programme Director, Fadly Bakhtiar to the university representatives.

“Today signifies a positive beginning between these two universities in committing to a more proactive sustainability culture at an institutional level, with participation by not only the students, but also lecturers and academic staff. We commend the good tenet of the universities for such contribution,” said Fadly.

Through UCEC, student leaders will participate in capacity-building programs and activities aimed at honing their skills in leading sustainability-based movements. Examples include virtual engagements with prominent local and American experts from various fields; over 10 leadership and capacity-building exercises, opportunities to pitch for seed funds up to RM25,000 to run environmental action projects, alongside the establishment of eco-clubs on both campuses.

For more details about the University Civic Engagement Club, visit its official website at www.thinkactsolve.my and the social media (Facebook & Instagram) at @thinkactsol