Updated Thu, Nov 14, 2013 4:49 pm
One of Malaysia's highest ranking government officials met with the members of the Ohio University community Tuesday at the kickoff of International Education Week.
This is the first time the program, a joint initiative by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, is being held at Ohio University.
President Roderick McDavis and Mrs. McDavis welcomed Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister of Malaysia, and his delegation to Ohio University early Tuesday morning. Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin gave the keynote address at the first ever Malaysia @ Ohio University Outreach Program which was held to celebrate the long-standing 50-year-old partnership.
The event was hosted by the Tun Razak Chair, a position initiated by President Vernon Alden to foster the OU-Malaysia relationship and is currently held by Dr. Habibah Ashari.
Over 100 students and faculty members listened to speeches by President McDavis, Tan Sri Muhyiddin and Vice Provost of Global Affairs Lorna Edmonds regarding the Asian-American partnership and the flourishing higher education systems.
President McDavis kicked off the event by praising the relationship that has spanned five decades with hopes to continue to grow it..
Tan Sri Muhyiddin said close to 2,400 OU graduates currently reside in Malaysia, the largest collection alumni outside the state of Ohio.
"An event like this gives us a closer appreciation of intercultural relation," Tan Sri Muhyiddin said.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin also spoke on the education environment in Malaysia and the various changes the system is currently undergoing. He acknowledged the superiority of the American education system and the need to keep up with the advancements.
"The Malaysian government is aware it needs to stay ahead or risk being left behind."
However, he also states said literacy in Malaysia has increased tremendously and is making great strides as a developing nation.
The event served as the launch of the pioneer Malaysian magazine titled ‘SUARA’ which translates to ‘Voice.’
The magazine showcases research of Malaysian graduate students and biographies of OU alumni in Malaysia.
The dignitaries were also given a tour of exhibition booths set up by various Malaysian agencies and the research of Malaysian graduate students.