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Alumnus Launches Cafe Diplomacy

Mas Shak Shahrul With Ambassador Of Austria

by Shak Shahrul, YES Malaysia 2014, hosted with ACES in Wisconsin

As someone who aspires to become a Malaysian diplomat/ambassador one day, I am eager to learn about international relations. But, I would like to do it differently and therefore, I have started 'The World Diplomats Interview Project' where I interviewed diplomats/ambassadors so that I could experience a different approach in learning.

As of now, I have interviewed more than 20 diplomats/ambassadors from various foreign missions in Malaysia and it is still on-going. After doing it for about two months, I decided to come up with an initiative that can impact the community.

I am happy to share that I have recently co-founded an organisation called Sustainable Diplomacy with the aim to engage foreign missions and young Malaysians to work on projects/initiatives that are aligned with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

We aim to be a youth-led organization that empowers young people to  engage in positive diplomatic relations/advocacy and effectively contribute towards causes listed under the SDG's using a diplomatic approach.

A few weeks ago we had our inaugural event called Diplomacy Lab - Cafe Diplomacy with the Ambassador of Sweden to Malaysia. Cafe Diplomacy is one of our public diplomacy themed events where youth can interact with diplomats/ambassadors in a casual and relaxed setting, while they share their thoughts about international affairs, economics etc. American YES Abroad to Malaysia exchange student also attended as an international guest. Since we shared the same connection of being an exchange student, I invited her to attend the event. I am glad she was able to be part of Sustainable Diplomacy's inaugural event with the Swedish Ambassador.

I hope with this initiative, more engagements can be made between foreign missions and youth residing in Malaysia.

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