NGO Co-Founder Is The First Malaysian To Be Awarded Prestigious Echoing Green Fellowship

On top of being the only Southeast Asian to be awarded the prestigious fellowship for the fall 2022 cohort, Architects of Diversity co-founder Jason Wee is also the first Malaysian to join the fellowship in its history.

Cover image via Jason Wee (Provided to SAYS)

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A Malaysian is among the 38 social entrepreneurs from all over the world who have been awarded the Echoing Green Fellowship for 2022

Jason Wee, who is the co-founder of Architects of Diversity (AOD), has made history by being the first Malaysian in the history of the leading global fellowship program that launched in 1987.

Selected from a global pool of nearly 1,300 applicants, Jason will join the 37 others who are working in Australia, India, Kenya, Namibia, Saint Lucia, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda, and the US.

Jason is the only Southeast Asian to be awarded the prestigious fellowship for the fall 2022 cohort.

AOD is a youth-led non-profit organisation that champions diversity and inclusive education in Malaysia through forums and courses. In May 2021, the group organised a first-of-its-kind of youth competition to inspire a reimagination of political parties for all Malaysians. It also ran an initiative in November last year where it called out the use of racial and religious sentiments in campaigning by Melaka poll candidates.

Jason and team at a press conference to launch #Undi100, a joint campaign to encourage policy-oriented politics and youth voter turnout in Kuala Lumpur.

Image via Jason Wee (Provided to SAYS)

Jason will be receiving an investment of USD80,000 over 18 months

The 26-year-old — who is a Princeton School of Public and International Affairs graduate — will also receive leadership development support valued at USD200,000 and pro-bono legal assistance to support AOD's growth as an innovative solution to address diversity and inclusion in Malaysia.

The USD80,000 investment along with the leadership support will be given to each of the 38 Fellows.

Jason joins the ranks of Echoing Green Fellows that include former US First Lady Michelle Obama, Teach for America's Wendy Kopp, and the organisation's own president Cheryl L Dorsey, who said that the 2022 class of Fellows has the potential "to sustainably improve the lives of millions of people around the globe".

"The perseverance and courage of these social entrepreneurs is truly an inspiration to all of us who strive for a more equitable future," she said in a statement issued on Friday, 7 October.

Jason said that the resources provided by Echoing Green will allow AOD to expand its impact by reaching more youth in the country

"Race-based issues and injustice have been long left to fester, and it is critical Malaysia addresses inclusion and discrimination in this turning point of our democratic history," he told SAYS in a statement.

Jason co-facilitating a discussion in AOD's Youth Peace Ambassador program on non-violent communication in Johor.

Image via Jason Wee (Provided to SAYS)

Meanwhile, an 11-year-old girl represented Malaysia in this year's International English Olympiad held in Rome, Italy last month:

Here are more Malaysians working towards a better Malaysia:

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