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International networking opportunities to remember

By Ivan Petkov - Posted on 22 May 2014

Ivan Petkov, a third year International Business student on exchange in Hong Kong shares his experience of making valuable new contacts at international networking events across a range of countries.

As part of my exchange in Hong Kong, I’ve been looking at ways to make the most out of my time. Recently, I’ve been able to attend a number of international conferences and forums which have provided excellent opportunities to network with people I would never otherwise have met.

The first event – The International Youth Leadership Conference (IYLC) in Dubai – attracted students from Qatar, Australia, Canada, Lebanon, Zimbabwe and India. During the first day we all took part in a simulation of a typical Gulf Cooperation Council meeting – an organisation dedicated to the promotion of cooperation and integration of Gulf member States – which provided a valuable insight into how that council works.

The highlight of the conference was the day we all spent at the General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare where different groups debated the main issues affecting the Arab League as part of a panel discussion. An unexpected benefit was that my performance in Dubai led to the organisers of the International Youth Leadership network to invite me to participate in their Kuala Lumpur event.

The IYLC Malaysia is a week-long youth forum that provides an international platform to young leaders from different cultural backgrounds. Being a participant allowed me to travel to Malaysia and experience its rich culture, while also allowing me to practice my leadership skills though intense debating, delivering speeches, drafting resolutions, making executive decisions on relevant issues and participating in various other activities.

Because of my previous experience from the conference in Dubai, I was also chosen to chair a realistic mock-up of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit. The summit is an annual meeting held by the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in relation to economic, and cultural development of Southeast Asian countries. It was an enlightening experience which called on all the knowledge I had gained during my second year International Business class.In the last two days we worked in groups as part of an International Criminal Court recreation, where we reviewed a case of bribery among the highest political ranks.

Last but not least, we held a debate to simulate the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ‘APEC’ summit, which is a forum for 21 Pacific Rim member economies seeking to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The last summit was held in the Ministry of Sports and Youth of Malaysia.

It wasn’t all work though and there was a full programme of cultural visits too, including a desert safari in Dubai and a visit to the Iron Mosque in Malaysia. Overall the experience was extremely enriching and helped me gain invaluable experience of working in an international business environment. It allowed me to put the skills and knowledge I’d gained from my degree into practice while providing a great opportunity to meet new people and network for my future.

Have you benefited from attending any networking events recently? Share your comments below.

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