Leadership plays a crucial role in shaping and making everything possible where everyone is a beneficiary. It is everywhere — for a leader can also be a teacher, listener, warrior, speaker, and anything great. But literally speaking, leadership is everywhere for leadership can happen at home, at school, or even at Brunei where a leadership training was held and participated in by Sulu State College.

The Saceda Youth Lead International Program in Asia (SIPA) recently held a leadership training program at Bandar Seri Begawan, Negara Brunei Darussalam. It started on February 22, 2024 that lasted until February 25, 2024. The program was organized by the Saceda Youth Lead School founded by Mr. Dave G. Saceda, MIR, Ph. D.

With an aim to improve their leadership skills, Mr. Saurajan S. Darawi, the Dean of Student Affairs and Services of Sulu State College, together with Mr. Marwan A. Omar, CSG President, and Mr. Ameer-Khyzer C. Pelayo, and Mr. Mahir I. Jul-ahmad, who are both student leaders from Sulu State College Laboratory High School represented the institution on the said training.

The training hopes to empower teachers and students to become more effective citizens of the country by allowing them to have an opportunity to dive more into leadership, cultural differences, and promote peace and understanding through traveling and exchange.

During an interview with Mr. Darawi, he made mention that the SIPA Brunei is just one of the agreements between Sulu State College and Saceda Youth Lead (SYL), wherein the SYL will provide at least two international training programs where the Sulu State College could participate, and this one was just the beginning.

SIPA-Brunei was participated by 39 participants who came from different parts of the Philippines — from Southern Leyte in Visayas, and Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Sulu from BARMM.

As the interview went on, Mr. Darawi, Mr. Omar, Mr. Pelayo and Mr. Jul-Ahmad had shared their experiences during their visit to Brunei. They were accordingly amazed with the environment in Brunei to which Mr. Darawi described as the cleanest place he had witnessed. The Bruneian people were accordingly so approachable and kind, and that they really loved how these people showed hospitality to them, and did not make them feel discriminated. Mr. Darawi also added athat attending the SIPA Brunei 2024 had strengthenes the connection of Sulu State College with other schools, not just here in the Philippines but also international landscape.

Talking about the lessons that the participants had learned, they shared that it was fun attending the training. They had learned new things including the Brunei’s language, the lives of its people, the culture, and most especially, on how does education really work in there. They had mentioned that they witnessed how youth were given fair treatment including those with disabilities, and how free the youth are to know and enhance their skills.

In the last part of the interview, we asked each of the SSC participants to give their message to their fellow Stalwart leaders. Mr. Omar stated, “Be kind and patient. Always show love to other people. And that you only start learning when you know nothing”. Mr. Pelayo also wanted to express the same when he said, “Love yourself and be patient. Because if you have this attitude, your work would be easier.” He ended his message with a quote that goes, “Good people love themselves, but great people love others.” While Mr. Jul-ahmad had shared, “Don’t judge the book by its cover. A person shouldn’t be defined on how they look because behind someone’s appearance and actions, you will see how nice and trustworthy they are once you start to approach and socialize with them.”

Furthermore, Mr. Darawi emphasized the importance of trust, because when they were accordingly in a foreign country, he said that they know nothing and did not have anything to do than just to trust the people in there.

Lastly, the participants wanted to express their heartfelt gratitude to the College President, Prof. Charisma S. Ututalum, CESE, for her support and the opportunity given to them. They would also like to thank Mr. Saceda for the wonderful experience and learnings they got during the SIPA-Brunei 2024.