This month, our recurring “Leaders in the Civic Engagement Movement” series travels to Malaysia. In this Southeast Asian nation, we find two universities where practitioners are breaking the barriers that traditionally separate universities from the surrounding community.
Trang Vuong carried out the opening interview in this edition. The author spoke with Dr. James Koh Kwee Choy, Associate Professor at the International Medical University. Koh, who is involved in the IMU Cares Program that won the 2013 MacJannet Prize, said: “I would like to see the day our work merges with other disciplines. We are in charge of health care. It would be satisfying to partner with a university responsible for community economic revitalization, for instance.”
The second interview was carried out by Long Nguyen, who spoke to Dr. Wong Chin Hoong, also of the International Medical University. Dr. Wong was recently named Coordinator for the Kampung Angkat (Village Adoption) Project for Kampung Sebir, an extension of the very successful project at Kampung Tekir. The project’s mission is to offer primary healthcare to villagers, provide clinical skills training to medical and nursing students in a real world environment, and to facilitate research into rural healthcare and indigenous populations in Malaysia.
Finally, Tossatham Singalavanija interviewed Dr. Saran Gill, the former deputy Vice-Chancellor for Industry and Community Partnerships at the national university, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. During her interview, Dr. Gill defined service in a readily perceivable way, “To do someone a service, one must be involved in volunteerism; this is extremely valuable. We must give with our hearts, hands and minds back to society.”