The 5th Hwa Chong Asia-Pacific Young Leaders Summit (APYLS) was held from the 18th to the 26th of July 2011 at Hwa Chong Institution Boarding School. This year’s summit involved 76 participants from top schools across the world, including students from 12 nations as diverse as the United Kingdom, Oman, China, and Singapore. The summit aimed to gather our world’s emerging generation of youth leaders in Singapore to engage in a week of interaction and dialogue to broaden horizons and forge lasting friendships. During the summit, 21 student facilitators from Hwa Chong played host to participants, showing them around the island, planning the summit programme, and attending to the various needs of our guests.

Learning Dance

The theme of this year’s summit was Towards Globality: Renegotiating Communities. Globality is the end stage of globalization – the state at which the entire world shares a truly connected economy, society, and culture. As our world hurtles towards globality, geographical, cultural and political barriers that once separated communities from each other have been broken down by connections that transcend traditional divides. In a series of engaging student dialogues, lectures were prepared and delivered by participants themselves, and participants engaged in roundtable discussions led by a team of committed student facilitators. Participants delved into the complex layers of the summit theme and explored the ways in which communities have tried to grapple with the onward march of globalization.

Over and beyond the student dialogues, participants had the rare opportunity to meet the changemakers of today’s society, through summit dialogues with keynote speakers like the former Deputy Editor of the Straits Times, Mr. Warren Fernandez, and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Mrs. Tan Ching Yee. In addition, students visited key organizations and ministries, like the Government Investment Corporation and the Housing and Development Board and participated in lively dialogue with senior officials. A highlight was the visit to the Istana where the President himself hosted delegates at a high tea reception.

At the Istana

Of course, the vibrant and active student participants enjoyed themselves greatly with multiple opportunities for recreation. On top of playing outdoor games and touring Singapore City, students had the unique experience of participating in dragon boating and kayaking at Lower Seletar Resevoir. During their free time, participants amused themselves with a myriad of activities like visits to the Night Safari, sampling our unique cuisine, and of course, shopping along Orchard Road.

True to the spirit of the summit, APYLS 2011 ended with a bang at the Closing Ceremony held at the Pines. Participants shared their respective cultures with often exciting and hilarious performances held whilst all gathered enjoyed a sumptuous dinner. It was a fitting close to ten unforgettable days where we learnt more about ourselves and shared everlasting memories with our peers across the globe.

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