7 July 2017: Students share their journey in an experiential and reflective multi-year programme at the CIPE Leadership Symposium

By Wen Kin Lim | Images provided by Elson Ong and Tinesh Indrarajah

On 1 March 2017, the Centre for International & Professional Experience (CIPE) at Yale-NUS College held its inaugural Leadership Symposium, the culmination of a multi-year programme for developing leadership skills.

At the symposium, graduating students shared their leadership experiences at Yale-NUS. It was the final stage of CIPE’s Leadership Certificate Programme, which enables students to develop their leadership skills through personal development, collaborative projects and community service. Ultimately, the programme hopes to equip students with the skills to enable positive change in their respective communities regardless of their field of interest.

As part of their Leadership Certificate experience, Yale-NUS students challenged stereotypes about mental health and created P.S. We Care, a student-run peer counselling group which provides an alternative mental health resource on campus. Experiential and peer learning are also key parts of the Leadership Certificate experience.

Elson is pictured with other interns at Marc Fisher Footwear 

Elson Ong (Class of 2017) enrolled in the Leadership Certificate sequence to learn more about what being a leader meant, what different leadership styles are and how to be an effective leader. His field experiences included an internship in New York with footwear company Marc Fisher Footwear and a ‘Migrant Nation’ Learning Across (LAB) trip in Hong Kong, where he learnt more about migrant rights and the struggles that migrant workers face in a foreign country. Elson embraced the opportunities to be exposed to a new culture and environment. “Although everything in this experience screamed unfamiliarity, I learnt the importance of understanding the norms and culture of different communities,” Elson shared.

“The sequence in the Leadership Certificate provided a good combination of theory and practical knowledge. Besides the core leadership classes, the sequence included experiential and elective components that were very hands-on, allowing me to reflect and apply what I have learnt from the core classes to my daily life.”

Tinesh (third from left) during his field experience with Sarus

For Tinesh Indrarajah (Class of 2017), it was his active involvement in seven sports teams in the College and his role as Yale-NUS Sports Director that led him to join the programme so that he could reflect on team leadership and how to best empower people in his interactions. His field experience involved working with Sarus, a non-governmental organisation that promotes peace and reconciliation between the people of Cambodia and Vietnam through various community-building events.

“I want to contribute to increasing the human capacity of ASEAN citizens, just like how Sarus does. I plan to be involved in societal issues about education and healthcare. I believe my background in both history and public policy stands me in good stead to achieve this goal. The Leadership Certificate process has been instrumental in allowing me the time and space to explore various facets of my identity to achieve the clarity I have today,” Tinesh said. Equipped with this experience, Tinesh intends to pursue further studies in the Yale-NUS Concurrent Degree Programme in Public Policy with the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

Tan Yock Theng, Programme Manager of Leadership and Global Citizenship at CIPE, said, “In addition to these tangible impacts of the programme, there are important changes happening within these student leaders. This includes how they navigate challenges while working with others, the variety of ways in which they find their purpose and the evolution of their personal values. We believe that such changes are where the most interesting lessons lie for them.”

More information on CIPE and the Leadership Certificate can be found here