Young Arab Leaders (YAL) signs an MoU with Asia Arab Forum to initiate the Arab Asian Internship Exchange Program

Published July 21st, 2008 - 10:19 GMT

Young Arab Leaders (YAL) signs an MoU with Asia Arab Forum to initiate the Arab Asian Internship Exchange Program 

Pilot phase of the program launched, selected Arab students start their Internships with Keppel Corporation in Singapore

Young Arab Leaders (YAL), the Arab region’s foremost development platform for business, public sector and civil society leaders, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Asia-Arab Forum (AAF) of Singapore to cooperate and create the Arab Asian Internship Exchange (AAIE) Program for Arab and Asian students within the two regions.
Assem O. Kabesh, CEO of YAL and Ho Kwon Ping, Chairman of AAF, officiated at the signing ceremony in Singapore on July 14, 2008. Both YAL and AAF shall be the driving force to engage companies, in different sectors and industries, in both regions, to host  interns for a three-month period in the summer each year, starting 2009.
The AAF is the outreach arm of the Middle East Institute (MEI), an autonomous research institute of the National University of Singapore which aims to be one of the regional thought leaders on Middle Eastern affairs.
Building on the success of the YAL Global Action Forum: Arab & Asian Dialogue that took place in Singapore in April 2007, YAL and AAF designed the Internship Exchange Program. The intention of the program is to further enhance exchanges between the Arab and the Asian world, through practical and meaningful interaction between students and managers from multinational companies based in Asia and the Arab world.
The week saw the commencement of the Pilot Program for AAIEP on July 15, 2008 in Singapore. The Pilot Program is being organized in association with Keppel Corporation, one of Singapore’s largest and leading multinational companies with businesses in Offshore & Marine, Property and Infrastructure. With its diverse operations, Keppel will provide meaningful and experience-rich internships to the ten Arab youths. They would be hosted  for a three-month internship from June to August 2008, and will be attached across the Keppel Group across functions such as engineering, finance and marketing. With presence in more than 30 countries, the Group’s global footprint extends as far as Germany, USA, the Middle East, Azerbaijan, Brazil and Nicaragua.
Assem O. Kabesh and Professor Bernard Tan, Board Member, Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation and Chairman of Keppel Group Scholarship Selection Committee, welcomed the interns at a ceremony organized by Keppel Group at the world-class Reflections at Keppel Bay showgallery in Singapore. The selected interns are from universities in Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine and United Arab Emirates.
Commenting on the signing of the MoU and the start of the Pilot Program for AAIE, Assem O. Kabesh, said, “YAL is proud of the alliance that we have formed with AAF today. We are confident that with this partnership, we will be able to forge new ties of cross-cultural understanding between the Arab and Asian regions. We will work together towards broadening the knowledge base of our youth to create a strong workforce for the future.”
“Through all YAL initiatives, we aim to achieve long-term impact on the youth who will be the future leaders of our regions. The objective of our Internship Exchange program is to provide training and to test this training in real world scenarios in order to create ‘Leaders’ who demonstrate the power of action. This is the significant benefit participants stand to gain from our engagement with Keppel. We would like more multinational companies to join us in creating a stronger, mutually beneficial world economy”, Assem added.
Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, Ho Kwon Ping said, “AAF is pleased to sign this MoU with YAL today. We are looking forward to this relationship growing into a strong, long-lasting bond of understanding and knowledge exchange between our two regions. We hope to raise awareness and promote greater mutual understanding between the people of Asia and Middle East through closer business, intellectual, cultural, and people-to-people exchanges.” 
Welcoming the students for the internship, Professor Bernard Tan, said, “As the Middle East countries plough significant investments and resources to build massive infrastructure and grow new sectors to diversify their economies, Asian countries can participate in these projects and contribute to the growth of the Middle East region. 

“The partnership being forged between Keppel and YAL parallels the strong foundation between Singapore, and ultimately Asia and the Middle East, which goes beyond commerce.  It embraces enhancing people-to-people relations, cultural exchange and appreciation and cooperation.”
YAL’s aim with the Internship program is to initiate relationships between future junior managers from the Arab region with experienced managers from across the globe. Through internships, YAL and its partners are working towards supporting the development of regional economies. The program is an in-house training, providing hands-on work experience supported by skilled managers.
YAL has set strict criteria for the selection of high caliber applicants. Applicants must have a good GPA (min 3.0) from accredited undergraduate universities in Asia and the Arab World; must be proficient in English; must be a national and resident of an Asian or Arab country or of Asian or Arab origin; be able to show at the interview, with HR and Department Heads of various organizations, that they possess the personal qualities to benefit from the program and use it to succeed in their chosen career and finally have a clear idea how their participation will benefit their education upon their return. The aforementioned criteria have been applied to the Arab applicants over the previous years. Nevertheless, they can be modified and adapted to Asian university standards.
About Young Arab Leaders:
The Young Arab Leaders (YAL) is a network of Arab men and women who have seen the power of action in their own lives, reached unprecedented levels of success for their age, are positive and can see beyond today’s difficulties to that vision of a prosperous Arab future. These leaders are currently in prominent positions of responsibility and strive for extraordinary achievement, and they believe that their efforts today can have an impact on their communities, countries and the region as a whole.  For more information please visit:

About Asia-Arab Forum
The Asia-Arab Forum (AAF) is an outreach project under the Middle East Institute (MEI) at the National University of Singapore (NUS).  The AAF seeks to raise awareness and promote greater mutual understanding between the peoples of Asia and Middle East through enhanced business, intellectual, cultural, and people-to-people exchanges.

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