MALAYSIA is a highly-regarded gem in the eyes of the Commonwealth.
Its secretary-general Patricia Scotland said Malaysia, a “valued and stalwart partner”, has made significant contributions since it became a member in 1957.
Most notably, she said, Malaysia is where the Langkawi Declaration on Climate Change was first made in 1989 before the world started discussing the pressing matter.
“This was the most important declaration of its generation.
“That contribution was the beginning of the Commonwealth’s mission on climate change.
“We now see the consequences of climate change all over our world.
“It is a crisis and Malaysia has been with us all the way through, ” she said.
Describing the country as “magnificent”, Scotland also credited Malaysia as a country that “brought all sorts of cultures together”.
Noting that the Commonwealth is committed to improving education across nations, she emphasised the need to invest in youths.
“Young people - those who are below the age of 30 - make up 60% of the Commonwealth.
“This is home to 2.4 billion people and includes both advanced economies and developing countries.
“They are the future leaders.
“It is absolutely critical to help that demographic take advantage of all their talent, ” she said after launching the inaugural King Henry VIII College Commonwealth Scholarship Award at the school’s auditorium last Monday.
Education, said Scotland, is the most wonderful opportunity for children to come together to learn about humanity.
“We are living in a very competitive, inter-operational and interconnected world.
“It is critically important for our children to know each other, different cultures, religions and languages.
“It is essential for us to look at our humanity on what joins us (people) as opposed to what divides us, ” she said.
Scotland said education can be used to build bridges between nations through great partnerships and deeper understanding of cultures.
“We are reaching out to all Commonwealth members and partnering with them.
“The needs of Commonwealth countries are being heard.
“We also listen to the needs of children and opportunities that may be available, ” she said.
She added that the Commonwealth has a number of programmes under its education portfolio that strives to empower youths.
The future, she said, is to be determined by youths - who need to acquire proper skills and knowledge to build a peaceful world.
“If they are motivated, hopeful, skilled and well-educated, we have a bumper crop coming our way, ” she said.
Scotland is on a seven-day working visit to Malaysia, which started last Sunday.
Established in 2017, King Henry VIII College is a British International School for students aged three to 18. Christ College, Brecon (founded in 1541 by King Henry VIII) in Wales is its sister school.
King Henry VIII College’s scholarship programme - which is part of its corporate social responsibility contribution - provides 10 scholarships annually to deserving students from any developing countries within the Commonwealth.
King Henry VIII College board of governors chairman Datuk Benny Hoe said there are six scholarships for academic, two for arts and music, and the remaining two for sporting categories.
He added that each successful applicant will have their boarding fees, tuition fees and activity-related fee paid for. It is worth around RM300,000 per student.
Besides launching the scholarship award, Scotland also officiated at the institution’s new auditorium. This has been named in her honour and will be known as The Baroness Scotland Theatre.
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