The Malaysian Youth Delegation hosted the annual Retreat at EPIC Collective over the weekend of the 28th and 29th April 2018. New members were asked to reflect the activities they took part in, what they learned along the way, and what they took away from the experience. Here’s what our new members had to say:
By Megat O. Denney
When I first arrived at the Malaysian Youth Delegation Retreat, I was not too sure of what to expect. My first experience with the Malaysian Youth Delegation was when I attended one of their workshops in 2017 at Nottingham University, Malaysia prior to COP23 in Bonn, Germany. The workshop gave me a brief overview of the history of the UNFCCC, the treaties, accords and protocols signed, and the concept of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). The tone of it all was relatively dry and academic, something I expected of a workshop.
The retreat covered this material above and beyond, going into greater detail about the circumstances and impacts certain accords and protocols had on the UNFCCC’s trajectory, and the role that the Malaysian Youth Delegation played in the scheme of it all.
It was surprising yet refreshing to meet a diverse set of people attending the retreat, as not everyone had a background in either international policy or environmental sciences. Instead, there were people from all walks of life. There were artists and business consultants, there were those starting their undergraduate degrees, and those already in the workforce having finished their graduate degrees, but coming together for just one purpose: to participate in climate change action.
Initially I was expecting the retreat to be all about learning the ropes in a corporate setting: what a member of a youth NGO needed to know and what would be required of them to be effective members. I expected a steep learning curve and hours of technical jargon and bureaucratic processes. What I got was the complete opposite. Instead I got a carefully paced out event with ice-breakers and bonding sessions in between sessions of learning. I got a chance to learn the motivations, histories and skillsets of the other members. The anecdotes of the more experienced members gave me an insight into the inner working of the Conference of Parties, an insight I would not have gained by attending the workshops alone.
Overall, the retreat exceeded my own expectations in terms of tone and content. The retreat was far more relaxed than I thought it would be, while simultaneously teaching more than I had expected to learn. I am grateful for the opportunity to attend it, and for my friends at Nottingham University, Malaysia for providing that opportunity.