Visit of Delegation from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Selangor, Malaysia to Commonwealth Secretariat (for Graduation -Youth Work Diploma) and University of London (Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, and University of London Worldwide); 6th February 2023

Report by Dr Balasubramanyam Chandramohan PhD, FHEA (Coordinator of the visit, in consultation with and support of Dr Sue Onslow)

Commonwealth Secretariat:  Dr Chandramohan highlighted the academic expertise available at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (both to the delegation and the Youth Division of the Commonwealth) at a meeting between the visiting delegation and the Youth Division of the Secretariat) he was invited to join. Dr Chandramohan had previously provided consultation on the Youth Work programme: ‘Scoping and Conceptualising the Development of a Consortium of Academic Institutions to Advance Youth Work Education and Training in the Commonwealth.’ Other Project partners: University of the West Indies and the Commonwealth of Learning (Canada)

Mr Layne Robinson, Head of Social Policy Development at the Secretariat, in his Graduation address stressed the need for professionalisation of Youth Work education (especially within an interprofessional matrix), and the high level of importance that Commonwealth countries place on leveraging the potential of Youth, especially those with demographic bulge, unemployment, and continuing economic crises. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda, declared 2023 as the Commonwealth Year of the Youth. Layne mentioned some of the events planned for the coming year.

Library visit – Mr Richard Temple, Archivist, took the delegates on a short tour and stressed the availability of archives and special collections in the 'second largest library' in London. Also, he narrated some historical facts and interesting popular myths about the Senate House building. The participants had an opportunity to browse the Periodicals section and the exhibition room.

Meeting with Prof Jo Fox, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research & Engagement) & Dean, School of Advanced Study:  The leader of the delegation (Dr Ismi Arif Bin Ismail, Dy VC) proposed academic contacts and willingness to fund a Chair for regular visits from their university. Prof Fox mentioned about the new Director who would be taking charge soon. She stressed the unique location of Senate House/SAS, which is surrounded by several higher education institutions, and its links to the institutions in the Knowledge Quarter. A formal letter was presented by Prof Ismail to Prof Fox.

Meeting with Prof Mary Stiasny, Pro-Vice Chancellor, International, Learning and Teaching, University of London: This was in two parts: a) a meeting with a small group in her office headed by the Dy VC and a larger one with more participants in Room G11. The university wants to expand their Diploma programme into a degree programme using distance and online education delivery models. Prof Si Stiasny discussed the work of the University of London and distributed copies of two brochures on the work at the University that could help in developing a new degree programme in UPM.  A formal letter was presented by the Prof Ismail. I do not know the actual contents.  

The library Reception staff were very helpful in facilitating access to the building/collections and in making the delegation welcome.

Dr Chandramohan