THE World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) celebrated the fifth anniversary of the relocation of its global headquarters from Geneva, Switzerland to Kuala Lumpur.
Former United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon was special guest at the event held at Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown.
Also present was Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who said scouts play an important role in empowering youth.
“Having WOSM in Malaysia has been pivotal in shaping
the hearts and minds of young people to ensure they persevere through whatever challenges that confronts them.
“Almost all schools in Malaysia have scouts and they are very active because they symbolise the true spirit of Malaysia.
“In the future, I hope we can work even more closely to ensure the underprivileged will never be left behind and that youth representation and empowerment will be realised in all our countries so that their frustration will be converted into something positive, ” Syed Saddiq said.
WOSM secretary-general Ahmad Alhendawi said relocating to Kuala Lumpur was no easy feat.
“We began this process more than a decade ago in 2008 to find a new home that would better reflect the nature of our work and the diversity of our membership.
“We engaged PriceWaterhouse-Coopers in a worldwide review of 35 potential cities, narrowing the list and deciding on Kuala Lumpur as the best choice.
“In 2013, the Malaysian government issued a formal invitation to relocate our offices from Geneva to Kuala Lumpur, ” he said.
Ahmad said since the official inauguration of the World Scout Bureau Office in Kuala Lumpur in 2014, they have hosted more than 100 international events in the country and welcomed over 1,200 overseas participants to Malaysia.
He added that WOSM aimed to reach 100 million members by 2023 and make the movement the world’s largest youth contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
World Scout Bureau staff Pauline Grangette, 25, said this was her first job after finishing her studies.
Grangette said she was very grateful to be able to work in a field that was her passion.
“I actually lived two hours from Geneva but I grabbed the opportunity to work in Malaysia which has a different culture and where scouting is very school-oriented, ” she said.
The event was hosted by World Scout Foundation board member Datuk Yeoh Soo Keng.
Also present were ambassadors, high commissioners, United
Nations heads of region as well as representatives from Unicef, Red Cross and other international organisations.
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