21 June 2006

“Powered Tuff” Girls at Motivational Camp

Since earning suffrage rights in the US during the late 18th century, the pressure for women to prove themselves in this male-dominated world remains an eternal issue. Sunway University College (SyUC), in collaboration with Seventeen Magazine Malaysia, organised a one-stop event to mentor young ladies on the challenging journey to empowered womanhood through a “Girl Power Camp” held at SyUC recently.

When secondary schools around Malaysia were invited to participate, 280 students signed up for this two-day, one-night, full board camp. The young campers aged mostly between 16 and 17 years, benefited at the start when trainers from Kanebo International gave grooming lessons, including make-up tips that are necessary to help young ladies feel more confident. More importantly, the trainers encouraged them to appreciate their own inner beauty rather than their physical appearances.

Ms Evon Ho, Legal Affairs Manager of Sunway Medical Centre gave the teen ladies a vital education on ‘Sexual Harassment’, a topic that, in Malaysian society, is still shrouded in mystery. The participants learned how to recognize sexual harassment behaviours and how they should react when faced with such situations.

Other workshops held covered topics on image and impression management, nutrition, financial planning, self-defense and personal safety awareness.

Lecturers from SyUC, Dr Marie-Aimee Tourres, Puan Annyza Tumar and Ms A. Alagarani, engaged the participants in a heart-to-heart discussion during the ‘Pillow Talk’ session. In response to honest questions from the young campers, they provided valuable advice and guidance on relationships, personal motivation and leadership.

One of the highlights for the campers was when they were asked to form fictitious companies that dealt with a product, service or idea. The teams were encouraged to rely on the talent and strength of each member to make a presentation on how to increase revenue for the companies, hence bringing out and complementing the potential in each other.

“Women can be so powerful when they show solidarity and make use of the resources available to them,” said Ms Elizabeth Lee, Executive Director of SyUC. “Thus ‘Girl Power’ is a wake-up call to our schools, sports teams, camps, organizations, the job market and the media to nurture and encourage women’s issues in positive and exciting ways.”

“I certainly hope that this camp has helped our teenaged ladies realize their potential to make the right choices and to believe in themselves,” added Ms Lee.

12 June 2006

An Evening with The Contract Law Expert

Sunway University College (SyUC) was proud to host Professor Michael Furmston, Emeritus Professor and Senior Research Fellow from the University of Bristol in yet another captivating talk under its Distinguished Speakers’ Series.

The largest auditorium in SyUC was filled to capacity on the evening of May 10th, with the audience ranging from students to working adults from various professions. The overwhelming response was not only due to Professor Furmston being a world-renowned expert on Contract Law, but the topic “Contract Planning and Remedies for Breach of Contract”, was suitable for many if not everyone. As the speaker pointed out, even reserving a hotel room is a type of contract.

When a client approaches a lawyer to draw up a contract, it is the duty of the lawyer to protect the client. In the event of the contract being breached, there must be remedies in place that ‘take care of’ the client. Some of the standard remedies that Professor Furmston expanded on were to calculate the damages and compensate the aggrieved party, to collect a deposit before rendering any service or product and to increase the circumstances by which the contract can be terminated.

Points were succinctly illustrated with real-life cases that Professor Furmston had come across in the course of his career, from property to ship building and to his own particular area of interest, the construction industry. It was an opportune occasion, because many of those present at the talk were interested in or from the construction line. Queries pertaining to contracts in that industry were brought up by the audience including questions on what action can be taken should clients delay payment to contractors and when contractors themselves hold back payment to sub-contractors.

In the midst of the Q&A session, Professor Furmston shared, “Lawyers always say – because it’s true – that it all depends on all circumstances.” His sense of humour in this comment drew laughter from the crowd.

Apart from lecturing at the University of Bristol, Professor Furmston has an extensive list of credentials. Amongst them, a double First Class from Oxford University, First Class in the Bar Exams, and consequently awarded a Certificate of Honour by the University. Educational institutions like the University of Birmingham, Queens University of Belfast and Oxford University have had the honour of having him on their academic staff list. He has also served in various legal bodies all over the world. At last count, there were 322 publications, including books, journal articles, papers and such that were authored by Professor Furmston. He is a Bencher of Gray's Inn and serves on consultancies of many major corporations.

1 June 2006

Harvard Scholars at Sunway Lead Lively Discourses

There was a buzz of excitement at Sunway University College (Sunway) when three eminent academics from the Harvard Business School (HBS), delivered lectures here during the month of May under the Sunway Distinguished Speakers’ series. This community effort by the institution on a regular basis aims to enhance learning among students and the general public.

A lecture which attracted the highest number of attendees was “Why Skill to Negotiate is So Important to Business” by Professor James K. Sebenius, a Gordon Donaldson Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. He took the lead at the Harvard Business School to make Negotiation a required course of the MBA programme and currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Program on Negotiation at the Harvard Law School.

Prof Sebenius based his lecture on 3D-negotiations. “Sometimes there is a refusal to bargain in good faith at the table and tactics (one of the dimensions) would have to move beyond the negotiating table,” he said.

One of the case studies he gave underlined the importance of negotiations to avert the disastrous effects on business and the industry. In the Shippers versus the Longshoremen (port workers) a massive slowdown by the port workers after the CEO announced technology improvements led to interesting away-from-the-table tactics in the negotiations. Eventually a deal was reached which was mutually beneficial and Prof Sebenius showed the importance of considering a creative approach in deal making and giving each side what it values most.

Other speakers from the Harvard Business School who were at Sunway were Professor Nabil El-Hage, Professor of Management Practice, who spoke on “What We Teach You at the Harvard School of Business” and Dr Michael J. Roberts, the Executive Director of the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, who gave a valuable lecture on “What is Required of an Entrepreneur”.

These lectures led to a lively discourse among interested members of the audience and an exchange of ideas which are especially useful for those interested in business and the case studies of the corporate sector.

Other luminary speakers in the past have included Dr Daniel L Axelrod of the Adizes Institute, Professor Lim Chong Yah and Associate Professor Joseph Wan Chew Yoong from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and Emeritus Professor Edwin Thumboo of the National University of Singapore. All lectures are free and open to all members of public.

Dr Goh Cheng Teik, the coordinator of the Distinguished Speakers’ programme and member of the Board of Directors, Sunway said “Events like this are both lively and invigorating and has validated Sunway University College as a centre for spawning intellectual advancement and open learning”.

The programme is a recent innovation but international scholars have been invited here to speak at Sunway since 1997. “Over the years, the broadening of subject matter of the lecture series has evolved to meet public interest and we are committed to this undertaking which best prepares our students as effective professionals when they enter the working world” said Elizabeth Lee, Executive Director, Sunway. “It is also in line with the lifelong learning that the Government is encouraging” she added.