Press release

Bruneians help forge new networks in the Commonwealth

British High Commissioner met with Fatin Arifin, Helen Yeo and Hajah Aidah who are representing Brunei in Commonwealth events around the world.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

British High Commissioner Rob Fenn with Helen Yeo, Hjh Aidah Hj Mohd Hanifah and Fatin Arifin
(L - R) Helen Yeo, British High Commissioner Rob Fenn, Hjh Aidah Hj Mohd Hanifah and Fatin Arifin

On 14 March the British High Commissioner welcomed back to Brunei a young Bruneian entrepreneur who had flown the flag for the Sultanate at the Commonwealth Day Reception in London; and bid bon voyage to two Bruneians about to embark on the latest network-building exercise within the Commonwealth, the CSCLeaders initiative.

HE Rob Fenn said:

Networking is what the Commonwealth is all about, and I have come to the conclusion that Bruneians are peculiarly good at it. Fatin Arifin and her Commonwealth-Asia Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs associates were in London at the express request of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Youth Programme Office, to provide a master class in networking for other regions of the Commonwealth. I feel sure that Brunei’s representatives in the CSCLeaders programme will – like Fatin - bring a fund of good ideas and energy to the wider Commonwealth network

Commonwealth Day Reception in London

Fatin Arifin was invited to attend the Commonwealth Day Reception at Marlborough House as a founding member of the CAAYE and Brunei Country Representative to that organisation – an initiative which grew out of her work with the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Brunei. On her return from London, Fatin said “I felt privileged to meet the Queen and Prince Philip in person during the Commonwealth Reception. I was also able to meet other distinguished entrepreneurs such as James Caan, notable members of government from Commonwealth nation states and other accomplished young people from countries such Kenya, Ghana, Guyana and India. Being there really felt surreal!”

Fatin’s organisation, CAAYE, is a network of young entrepreneurs and the organisations that support them which took shape in November 2011. It promotes the cause of young entrepreneurs in its members’ respective countries and convenes a Summit each year. This brings together entrepreneurs from different organisations in several Asian Commonwealth countries to learn from each other.

Fatin explained that her two days in London were “a major leap in positioning CAAYE amongst the best league of organisations working to promote youth enterprise and to showcase our unique ‘network of networks’ structure”. The Commonwealth Secretariat’s Youth Programme Office was keen to explore how other regions - the Caribbean and Africa – might replicate the CAAYE model. Fatin and her associates in CAAYE were happy to share the work they had done.

Fatin Arifin’s other activities in London included: participating in the CEC’s Commonwealth Day Symposium on “Education and Enterprise” at the House of Lords, where CAAYE’s Founder President spoke about their organisation; and meetings with the Secretary-General of Commonwealth, and with Alex Mitchell, founder of “Young Brits” and UK President of the “G-20 Young Entrepreneur Alliance”.

CSCLeaders Conference

Helen Yeo and Hajah Aidah Binti Haji Mohd Hanifah from Brunei Darussalam have been selected by the CSCLeaders Selection Group, chaired by Sir John Parker (Chairman of Anglo American plc) to attend the CSCLeaders conference which will take place in different cities across the UK from 16 to 24 March 2013.

CSCLeaders is a renewal of a Commonwealth-wide conference, delivered by a partnership between HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s “Commonwealth Study Conferences” (UK Fund) and “Common Purpose”.

The International Patron of CSCLeaders is HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and its President is HRH The Princess Royal with HRH The Duke of Kent as President of the CSC UK Trust. It is an annual conference which will assemble 100 of the most exceptional individuals from across the Commonwealth to tackle challenges that businesses, government and society face today and build the global relationships needed by the leaders of tomorrow.

The 2013 Challenge is “How do people from communities across the world become bridge-makers in the global networks of the future?” Helen and Hjh Aidah will be amongst the other 100 selected participants who are in leadership roles from public, private and NGO sectors across the 54 countries of the Commonwealth to discuss, debate and challenge their thinking to generate tangible ideas for this Challenge and present their findings to a panel of experts who can help them make their ideas into reality.

For Part Two, the group will be divided with half the group going to Mumbai, India and the other half to Johannesburg, South Africa where participants will explore further the leadership learning and the projects they are working on.

Published 14 March 2013