KUALA LUMPUR: Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd (Digi) has announced Ida Thien and Shaun Adam Abdullah as local winners of this year’s Telenor Youth Forum (TYF) challenge, a programme held in Oslo, Norway in conjunction with the Nobel Peace Prize.
In its fifth year, TYF is organised in collaboration with the Nobel Peace Centre and brings together inspiring and talented youths from around the globe to find ways to use digital technology for social good.
Thien and Shaun are among the 24 talented youth, aged 20 to 28 from Telenor’s 13 markets carefully selected from a pool of nearly 8,000 applicants, to represent their countries at TYF.
To take place from Dec 8 to 11 in Oslo, these millennials will kick-start their work to design digital solutions to solve social challenges related to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 10, Reduced Inequalities, as well as participate in Nobel Peace Prize-related festivities.
On the final day of TYF in Oslo, the delegates will present creative solutions to the challenges given. They will be evaluated by a jury of experts, who will provide live feedback during the event.
The programme runs through May 2018. In this time, two delegates from each of Telenor’s 12 markets in Asia and Europe will work in teams to solve specific social challenges and design digital exhibitions in collaboration with the Nobel Peace Center.
Digi’s Head of Communications and Sustainability, Quah Yean Nie, said the Telenor Youth Forum brings together passionate youth to address common global challenges and impact change, by leveraging on the power of digital innovation.
"We are confident that both Thien and Shaun, with their experience championing their causes here in Malaysia, are able to contribute and share their ideas with their like-minded peers from different parts of the world and come up with innovative digital solutions that can help reduce inequalities and create impactful societal change,” she said.
Twenty-five-year-old Thien is attached to Teach for Malaysia (TFM), where she works closely with Alumni of the programme to increase their impact towards education equity.
She also co-founded a mentoring initiative, Closing the Gap, with three TFM alumni members that supports promising students from the underserved communities to get equal opportunity for tertiary education.
“To me, digitalisation is one of the many compelling tools that can be used for equalising access of information to all, which is important in my line of work. My experience working in TFM and CTG taught me that given the right support and tools, which many of us take for granted, these students are able to grow and be successful.
"I look forward to not only learn from other TYF delegates about how this issue is tackled in their communities while endeavouring to represent mine but also at the prospect of coming up with a solution that can be shared across contexts through a digital platform,” said Thien.
Shaun, 27, believes that a peaceful society starts with a healthy mind and is interested to see how digital can play a significant role in creating better empathic capabilities among the younger generation.
“The various social media platforms enables people to connect with each other no matter where they are in the world. They allow us to emphatise, and be more aware of what’s going on in other people’s lives through the numeorus sharing made over, having the ability to detect emotions and maybe to even understand what is going through their mind," he said.
"What if digital technology can help spot mental health issues early and save lives? I am very excited to meet my fellow TYF delegates to discuss and exchange ideas on the possibility of using digital solutions to create a more ambient-aware society that both empathizes and collaborates to promote mental well being,” said Shaun.
To guide them through the TYF 2017 journey, each team will be assigned an expert mentor from Telenor Group; Michael Foley, CEO of Gramee
nphone, Zainab Siddiqui Hussain, Director of Sustainability, Phillip Ling, Principle Sustainability at Digi, and Bjørn Taale Sandberg, Head of Telenor Research.
Earlier in October this year, Telenor in collaboration with the Nobel Peace Centre has revealed the first digital exhibition www.tyfexhibition.com for its Telenor Youth Forum, titled We Start Change. The exhibition is also currently displayed at the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo.
This exhibition encapsulates the work of the 26 youth from TYF 2016 who have been tackling the global, social challenges that were assigned to them almost a year ago. They include climate change, gender equality, education for young refugees, mental health and unemployment which are stem from the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which Telenor actively supports through its own sustainability work.