Autistic Children To Benefit From The Synergy Of Arts And Science

YBhg Profesor Dr. Ahmad Hariza Hashim (Representative of the Vice Chancellor of UPM), YBhg. Prof. Emeritus Dato’ Dr. Hassan Said (Vice Chancellor UiTM), Puan Feilina Dato Mohammad Feisol (Chairman NASOM), M. Duane Nellis (President Ohio University) and Ernesto Carlos Pujazon Patron (Representative from Taylor’s University).

SHAH ALAM – 5th DECEMBER 2018 – The National Autism Society of Malaysia (NASOM) today received a generous contribution of RM12,950.00, from the organisers of the 10th Distinguished Tun Abdul Razak Lecture, namely the Ohio University, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). The event was also supported by the Ministry of Education (MoE) and Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD). The mock cheque presentation took place earlier today at the Chancellery in UiTM. Present at the ceremony were representatives from all universities and the organising committee as well as the recipients.

This contribution followed the open exhibition and sale of art works produced by 40 young local artists from UiTM, UPM and YSD. On 30th November 2018 these handpicked young talents participated in an art workshop conducted by UiTM’s Faculty of Education and GESTURZ entitled “Synergy of Curiosity: From Acid to Art” held at the Menara Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah (SAAS) in UiTM. A renowned artist and Professor of Art from Ohio University, John Sabraw led the team, turning poison into art. For the past nine years, Prof. Sabraw has been working closely with his colleague, Ohio University Professor of Civil Engineering Dr Guy Riefler to extract and convert chemicals from Ohio’s streams polluted by coal mine runoffs into paint pigments.

Emeritus Professor Dato’ Dr Hasan Said, the Vice Chancellor of Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) said, “We are very happy that Prof. Sabraw and his colleague Prof. Riefler have shared their expertise and experience with young artists and facilitators from UiTM, UPM and YSD by holding a one-day workshop at UiTM”. He added that all these collaborations can only lead to a more fulfilling and reciprocally beneficial relationship amongst the entities.

Earlier this week, Prof. Sabraw delivered his lecture in front of more than 1000 participants and audience at the 10th Distinguished Tun Razak Lecture held in Kuala Lumpur. During this event, The National Autism Society of Malaysia (NASOM) was announced as the beneficiary of proceeds from the art works sale. The organisers chose NASOM in consensus as the recipient to acknowledge and recognise NASOM’s efforts in educating the public about autism and how the community in general can contribute to its vision. Ohio University, UiTM, UPM, with help from MoE and YSD is able to contribute to this effort thanks to the Razak Chair and the programmes that run under its purview.

Emeritus Professor Dato’ Dr Hasan Said conveyed his heartfelt gratitude to NASOM’s Chairman, Puan Feilina Dato Mohammad Feisol and applauded NASOM for offering people with autism services and guidance through various services and programmes to ensure that people with autism can live rewarding and fulfilling lives. The Vice Chancellor also reiterates that he is proud to stand alongside big names like Ohio University, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Taylor’s University and Yayasan Sime Darby in organizing the Razak Lecture this year and at the same time doing our part to help the community and people in need by giving the right support at the right time.

The desire to learn and to know about something; the drive to be inquisitive; to explore and to be investigated can lead to the discovery of new and amazing findings. This is the hope that the 10th Distinguished Tun Abdul Razak Lecture commits itself to when it chose “Synergy of Curiosity: From Acid to Art” as its inspiring keynote presentation. This was made possible through the sustained relationship between Ohio University and Malaysia.

MoE Director General of Higher Education, Datin Dr Paduka Siti Hamisah Tapsir said of all the chairs that the Malaysian Government have established in foreign universities all over the world, the Tun Abdul Razak Chair at Ohio University has been the most successful.

“In existence for almost 40 years, it has seen 15 Malaysian scholars as intellectual ambassadors advancing Malaysia-US understanding in higher education and related fields,” she said.

“MoE seeks to strengthen the Malaysia-OHIO linkages through sustainable programmes and activities that enhance our presence in the global arena,” she added.

Commenting on the relationship between Ohio University and Malaysia, Prof. Datin Paduka Dato’ Dr. Aini Ideris, FASc, the Vice Chancellor of Universiti Putra Malaysia said, “UPM is honoured to be collaborating in the organisation of this important scholarly event. UPM values the networking that arises from the Tun Abdul Razak Chair that was first established by the Government of Malaysia in 1980 at the Center for International Studies, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA. She added that up until this year, three professors and scholars from UPM, comprising of different backgrounds and fields of expertise have been given the opportunity to take up the Distinguished Tun Abdul Razak Chair at Ohio University.

YSD Acting Chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Wan Mohd Zahid Mohd Noordin stated that Prof. Sabraw’s lecture exposes Malaysians to the novel approach of using the arts to highlight the importance of environmental sustainability for community health, which is a crucial aim of the Foundation under four of its five pillars.

“We hope that this lecture will not only open our eyes to the ways in which sustainability can be approached even through the unconventional medium of the arts, but to also highlight that through science and innovation, there are many ways to undo much of the damage that has been done and continues to be inflicted on our environment,” he added.

This new painting method and technique of using colours derived from scientific process of turning chemicals into paint pigments is the first of its kind in Malaysia. UiTM and UPM as local universities are proud to bring in this pioneering effort and help educate the future generation on the importance of innovative and creative thinking as well as the dynamics of education where arts and science can now be assimilated in its natural form and benefit people who embrace it.

The organisers of the 10th Distinguished Tun Abdul Razak Lecture embrace social responsibility as part of its contribution to the future generation by helping to save the environment, turning poison into art and caring for the ones in need. This synergy bears witness to the fruitful partnership of two countries that are committed to promoting curiosity-driven learning to address current concerns of the international community.