Three varsities give to autism society

(From left) UPM representative Prof Dr Ahmad Hariza Hashim, Prof Dr Hassan, Nasom chairman Feilina Mohammad Feisol, Ohio University president M. Duane Nellis and Taylor’s University representative Ernesto Carlos Pujazon Patron at the mock cheque presentation.

THE National Autism Society of Malaysia (Nasom) received a contribution of RM12,950 from organisers of the 10th Distinguished Tun Abdul Razak Lecture – Ohio University, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).

The lecture was supported by the Education Ministry and Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD).

Present at a mock cheque presentation at the Chancellery in UiTM were representatives from universities, the organising committee and recipients.

The presentation followed an exhibition and sale of artworks produced by 40 local artists from UiTM, UPM and YSD.

These young artists were also handpicked to attend an art workshop conducted earlier by UiTM’s Education Faculty and Galeri Seni Tuanku Nur Zahirah (Gesturz) entitled “Synergy of Curiosity: From Acid to Art” at Menara Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah in UiTM, Shah Alam.

The team facilitating the one-day workshop was led by Prof John Sabraw, renowned artist and professor of art at Ohio University.

Prof Sabraw has been working with his colleague, Ohio University Professor of Civil Engineering Dr Guy Riefler for the past nine years to extract and convert chemicals from Ohio’s coal mine-polluted streams into paint pigments.

UiTM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Hasan Said expressed happiness that Prof Sabraw and Dr Riefler were able to share their expertise and experience at the workshop.

These collaborations, he added, could only lead to a more fulfilling and mutually beneficial relationship among the entities.

Prof Sabraw had also delivered his lecture in front of over 1,000 attendees at the 10th Distinguished Tun Razak Lecture held in Kuala Lumpur.

It was at this event that Nasom was announced as the beneficiary of proceeds from the sale of artworks, in recognition of its efforts in educating the public about autism and how the community in general can contribute to its vision.

Commenting on the lecture, YSD acting chairman Tan Sri Dr Wan Mohd Zahid Mohd Noordin said Prof Sabraw’s lecture exposed Malaysians to the novel approach of using the arts to highlight the importance of environmental sustainability for community health, a crucial aim of the foundation under four of its five pillars.

“We hope this lecture will not only open our eyes to the ways in which sustainability can be approached even through the unconventional medium of the arts, but also highlight that through science and innovation, there are many ways to undo much of the damage that has been done and continues to be inflicted on our environment,” he added.

On Malaysia’s relationship with Ohio University, Education Ministry’s Higher Education director-general Datin Dr Paduka Siti Hamisah Tapsir said of all the chairs that the Malaysian Govern-ment has established in universities all over the world, the Tun Abdul Razak Chair at Ohio Univer-sity has been the most successful.

“Existing for almost 40 years, it has seen 15 Malaysian scholars as intellectual ambassadors advancing Malaysia-US understanding in higher education and related fields.“MoE seeks to strengthen the Malaysia-Ohio linkages through sustainable programmes and activities that enhance our presence in the global arena,” she added.

Meanwhile, UPM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Aini Ideris said the university was honoured to be collaborating with the organisation on this important scholarly event.

“UPM values the networking that arises from the Tun Abdul Razak Chair.

Up until this year, three professors and scholars from UPM have been given the opportunity to take up the Distinguished Tun Abdul Razak Chair at Ohio University,” she pointed out.

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