The QI Group participated in the 9th ASEAN Leadership Forum held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from 4-6 April, 2012.

The forum, which took place in conjunction with the 20th ASEAN Summit, was jointly organised by the Asian Strategic Leadership Institute (ASLI) with the Ministry of Commerce, Cambodia and Cambodia Chamber of Commerce. The event brought together eminent speakers from Governments, theBusiness Community, Think Tanks, Academic, Thought Leaders and Civil Society to discuss key leadership challenges and strategic issues facing ASEAN.

As a strategic partner of ASLI in Malaysia, the QI Group made a presence at this prestigious event through Executive Chairman Vijay Eswaran, who was invited to be a panelist on a session titled People Connectivity Through Education, Culture, Tourism and People Movement.

During the session, Eswaran highlighted the importance of education and employment as an important strategy to enhance regional competitiveness and community building in ASEAN. He quoted Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s argument at the forum, which said that knowledge is the connecting thread between us and deserves the greatest impetus.

“I urge member States to initiate concrete steps to enhance educational opportunities. We can begin by identifying our existing educational resources in ASEAN andcooperate bilaterally and regionally to develop it further,” he said.

He also spoke about how QI has begun making a significant contribution within the education industry through the Quest International University Perak, which was established in cooperation with the Perak State Government in Malaysia.

Following the Leadership Forum, Eswaran also gave a keynote address at the ASEAN Young Leaders Dialogue. Speaking on a topic titled Being at the forefront of ASEAN integration, Think Business, he said that historically, everyone travelled to Asia for both trade and educational purposes.

“Universities were already in place in India during the Gupta dynasty, and in Indonesia long before the hallowed Oxford and Harvard. Angkor Wat and Borobudur temples were not built without architects. And the people who built them were not Western educated either,” he pointed out.

He also stressed greatly on the fact that there was already an ASEAN long before the present grouping was formalised. “We have worked together for a long time when there were no boundaries. We are reconnecting now through ASEAN and this connectivity is critically important,” he said.

In relation to employment, Eswaran used the Group as a classic example of an ASEAN organisation that has provided opportunities topeople across the globe through our e-commerce and direct selling subsidiary that harnesses the power of the internet. With offices in five ASEAN countries, the company has built a strong global base of six million distributors.

For a conglomerate like QI that has seen rapid growth within a short span of time and survived the global economic crises that has affected US and Europe, the ASEAN centrality is becoming even more strategic and important.

As Eswaran said, “Business has brought us together.” It is clear that the strength of ASEAN lies in its diversity.