New York -- Malaysia today became a founding partner in the Global STEM Alliance, a new high-tech multi-million dollar initiative dedicated to promoting young talent in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) around the world.
Led by the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS), Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak participated in the launch at UN Headquarters Monday Sept. 22.
With the goal of developing over 1,000,000 aspiring STEM leaders in more than 100 countries by 2020, the initiative will create a host of learning opportunities, including student connections and networking online with senior international mentors -- the many NYAS member Nobel laureates among them.
The Alliance is a collaboration of over 70 governments, companies, NGOs, universities and schools with participants and organizations in over 50 countries. Founding nations and regions of the Global STEM Alliance are the USA, Malaysia, Rwanda, Benin, Bhutan, Barcelona and New York State.
Says the Prime Minister: "Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are at the heart of modern life and provide the foundations for economic prosperity. The purpose of driving STEM education is not only to create economic opportunity for individuals; it's to provide the fuel needed to power a science and technology driven economy."
Other world leaders participating in the New York launch included President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Yayi Boni of Benin, United States Under-Secretary of State Catherine Novelli, and representatives from UNESCO and the UN's International Telecommunication Union.
Climate change, food, water and energy shortages, epidemics and the explosive growth of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease are among the demands that need to be met by an innovative, STEM-educated workforce.
Yet in emerging economy nations, where innovation is needed the most, there are far too few work-ready STEM professionals.
The Alliance will focus on three strategies: intergenerational mentoring, building foundational skills and building a global network of STEM innovators.
It will create:
- a global resource for the best available STEM teaching and learning materials
- enhanced, customized STEM education programs designed to foster youth interests
- a global mentoring and networking medium for top scientists and STEM students,
- a connection between STEM leaders worldwide and local STEM programs
The Alliance's first major initiative: The Junior Academy, a virtual learning and research platform to inspire and prepare gifted students around the world. The platform will include novel talent identification mechanisms, course work and authentic virtual research experiences, access to mentors, and a virtual writing center--tools that are especially valuable in developing, rural or impoverished urban areas, where qualified STEM instructors can be scarce.
CISCO Systems is a partner in the Alliance, creating the online networking and communications platforms enabling online courses, participation in Academy conferences, workshops, seminars, and other activities via laptops or smartphones, providing access to the best STEM learning resources via any web-enabled device, and virtual partnerships leading to inter-generational global projects.
At the UN launch ceremony, Prime Minister Najib's wife, HE Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor, was recognized with a STEM Hero Award. Additional Malaysian participants in the program included Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan, Advisor, PERMATA Pintar Programme, Universiti Kebangsaan, as a global implementation expert.
Says Zakri Abdul Hamid, Science Advisor to the Malaysian Prime Minister and co-chair of Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT): "Countries will either have creative, educated young citizens who can out-innovate global competitors such as China and India or they will lag far behind in the world economy. Our generation has to invest in and develop STEM education and talent to the limits of our ability, to find a way to get and keep kids interested -- to make STEM fields as fun as football fields. I believe the Global STEM Alliance contributes a big piece in the solution to this puzzle."
Among sectors of the world economy expected to add the greatest number of high-paying but STEM education pre-requisite jobs: advanced manufacturing, automotive, construction, financial services, geospatial technology, security, information technology, transportation, aerospace, biotechnology, energy, healthcare, hospitality and retail.
GSIAC is a consultative platform created by Prime Minister Dato' Seri Najib Abdul Razak in 2011 through a partnership between MIGHT and the New York Academy of Sciences comprises world leaders in economics, business, science and technology to help Malaysia pioneer a development path in a sustainable manner.
The Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee under the purview of the Prime Minister of Malaysia. MIGHT is an organization built on the strength of public-private partnership with more than 100 members, both local and international, from industry, government and academia. As an organization MIGHT is dedicated to providing a platform for industry-government consensus building in the drive to advance high technology competency in Malaysia.
The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide. With 25,000 members in 140 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy's core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Contact: Diane Fusilli, NYAS, +1-212-298-8692, firstname.lastname@example.org