Brunei is changing and youth have a unique opportunity to shape national policy, said legislative council member YB Iswandy Ahmad. 

“Our policies and systems are changing. It is not perfect, however this is when youth can come in and influence our policy makers, government and community. [But] it will not be easy,” he said during a recent dialogue for the Brunei Young Global Thinkers Network (BYG Thinkers).

The LegCo member was a panelist at the inaugural BYG Thinkers dialogue, which also featured Agrome IQ founder Vanessa Teo and Lisa Ahmad, founder of Kaleidoscope Studio.

Billing itself as a platform for Bruneian youth to “lead global conversations”, BYG Thinkers was established just last month with the lofty goal of addressing the lack of youth participation in global issues.

The network’s first dialogue was held last week, with speakers sharing their perspectives on what it takes to “go global”.


The government takes notice of NGOs and private sector organisations that create a positive impact in the community, said Iswandy (pictured above, C), and youth can push for policies that they feel are needed but not in place yet.

They need to start thinking globally and need to be at the forefront of finding solutions, added Teo (pictured L), the founder of “smart farming” start-up Agrome IQ, which provides farmers with agricultural analytics.  

Bruneian youth have the capacity to be global players but they lack the confidence to put themselves forward, she said.

“You don’t always have to have all the answers, but that shouldn’t be the factor stopping you from putting out good work…. If you want to compete on a global scale, you have to bring yourself up to that level. Youth must take responsibility and stop blaming their past or present.”


Lisa Ahmad (pictured R), who fronts creative agency Kaleidoscope Studio, added many Bruneians are still hesitant to try new things.

“Doing work locally can eventually lead to going global and that there are many groups out there that will see what you are doing, pay attention and help you achieve that global vision,” said the visual artist, who founded Kaleidoscope in 2014 as a platform to help local artists connect to the global art scene.

Global competence requires the ability to understand and consider multiple perspectives, Lisa stressed. 

“Because Brunei is kind of small, it is important for us to go outwards, have other people listen to our voice, validate our passion and what we want to do in our life.”

“Maybe you won’t be able to find your audience in Brunei, but there are definitely people outside that will recognise the work that you do… This means that we have to be more aware of global issues in order to be relevant in what we do,” she said.