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Teks Ucapan Pembukaan

Yang Berhormat Dato’ Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi

Menteri Pertahanan Malaysia
Alumni Conference For Excellence 2009 (Ace09)
Pada Hari Khamis 4 Jun 2009
Di Hotel Mines Beach Resort, Seri Kembangan

Assalamu’alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh dan Salam

Yang Berbahagia Profesor Datin Paduka Dr Aini Ideris,

Timbalan Naib Canselor (Akademik dan Antarabangsa) dan
Wakil Kepada Naib Canselor, Universiti Putra Malaysia

Yang Berbahagia Profesor Dr Azali Mohamed,

Timbalan Naib Canselor (Hal Ehwal Pelajar dan Alumni),
Universiti Putra Malaysia

Ahli Pengurusan Universiti Putra Malaysia

Yang Berbahagia Profesor Dr Rosnah Ismail,

Timbalan Naib Canselor (Penyelidikan dan Inovasi),
Universiti Malaysia Sabah

Yang Berusaha Profesor Madya Dr Rohani Ibrahim

Pengarah Pusat Alumni Universiti Putra Malaysia
Merangkap Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Penganjur ALUMNI

Yang Berbahagia Tuan Haji Anas Ahmad Nasaruddin,

Presiden Persatuan Alumni UPM (PAUPM),

Pegawai-pegawai Kanan Universiti Putra Malaysia, perserta

hadirin yang saya hormati.

Tuan-tuan dan Puan-puan hadirin yang saya hormati, izinkan

saya meneruskan ucapan saya dalam Bahasa Inggeris.
Y.Bhg Datin Paduka, Professors, ladies and gentlem en,

1. First and foremost, praise to Allah for his blessing that we can
gather in this fine venue for the ALUMNI CONFERENCE FOR
EXCELLENCE 2009 or ACE 09 which started yesterday
afternoon and will end on Friday, 5 th of June. I sincerely hope
that all of you will have a very fruitful deliberation and sharing
of idea for the next two days.

2. Congratulations to UPM, UPM Alumni Centre and UPM Alumni

Association for hosting the ALUMNI CONFERENCE FOR
EXCELLENCE 2009, the Organising Committee who worked
hard to ensure the smooth running of this conference and to all
participants for their commitment for the cause of alumni and
the Alma mater. I hope this series of conference will continue
to be held annually to ensure continuity in the endeavor for
excellence for the alumni community, the alumni themselves
or the organizations involved in alumni affair.

3. I was made to understand that the alumni conference was held

yearly since 2005 with the first meeting known as AIKON or
Alumni Conference held in Kota Kinabalu. Subsequently Aikon
was organized annually on a rotational basis by different public
universities. During the last conference in 2008 hosted by

Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang, it was agreed that the
official name for this series of conferences as part of the
continuing effort to collaborate and network among the local
universities on alumni matters. Hopefully staffs and
representatives from recently established alumni offices will be
able to learn the finer points of running an alumni organisation
from the more established alumni offices during ACE09.

4. The theme “Bonding and Belonging” is indeed appropriate for

the Alumni Conference. An alumnus must have a sense of
belonging which eventually will create a bond that will be
beneficial both to the alumnus and to the Alma mater. It is sad
to note of late, quite a number of our alumni do not seem to
have and show the appropriate sense of belonging to their
Alma mater. Hence, I feel that it is timely that organization
involved in alumni-related activities, be it alumni offices at the
institutes of higher learning or alumni associations take
necessary steps to ensure that all alumni will have a sense of
belonging to their Alma mater. Not only do the offices or
associations have to maintain links with existing alumni, they
must also look for ways and means to ensure new alumni who
graduated yearly will return and join the rank of the senior
alumni. Becoming an alumnus is only the beginning of a

long journey as a permanent part of an institution that
we once studied at.

5. I hope all participants of ACE09 will in the next two days

shares, deliberates and bring to light ways and means to create
a good sense of belonging amongst alumni. Sense of
belonging should be created early before the students
graduated. Students should feel that they are part of the
institution. They should be exposed to alumni activities and
knew what it takes to be alumni. They should bear in mind
that they will forever be linked to their Alma mater that confer
them with their degree or diploma whether they like it or not.
The institutions on the other hand must also ensure that once a
student graduated to become an alumnus, he or she should
leave with a happy feeling which will always be cherish. This
undoubtedly will entail a good sense of belonging to the

6. Sense of belonging can also be created by giving due

recognition to alumni. Ensure that alumni do not feel they are
7. forgotten by their Alma mater. Do keep in contact with alumni
be it by mail, e-mail or whatever suitable mean available.
Send them postcards, notes or better still an alumni magazine
which I understand is published by a few of our institution of

higher learning. Go the extra mile by doing something to show
that we at the university have not forgotten the alumni.
InsyaAllah, the alumni will not forget their Alma mater.
Although we wish a hundred percent success in our effort, we
should strive harder, remembering that the few successes will
become the starting point to more success.

8. Engaging the alumni by involving them in activities and

programs on and off campus is one of the ways to ensure a
long lasting relationship between alumni and the Alma mater.
Engaging the alumni makes them feel that they are truly
contributing to their Alma mater. Such relationship will help
improve communication between alumni who have previously

9. stayed away from the Alma mater, offering opportunities for

them to make their presence felt.

10. Once the spirit of belonging is already instilled in the heart of

an alumnus, the feeling of bonding to the Alma mater will come
naturally. They will try their best to come back to the Alma
mater; try to contribute in whatever way they can; be an
ambassador and a role model; and be a supporter of their
institutions. It is through this bonding that we hope that

alumni will start to pay back what the institution and the nation
have given to them – by giving back to the Alma mater.

11. There are various definitions of giving or giving back.

Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR is also a form of giving,
but most often it is associated with corporate or private
organizations contributing back to the society. For institution
of higher learning most often, it is associated with alumni

giving their time, expertise and committing a sum of money

(big or small) to the Alma mater that they care.

12. Personally, I have promised YBhg Professor Azali Mohamed

that one of the ways I will give back to my Alma mater is by
coming back to UPM or attending functions organized by UPM
whenever I am invited and my busy schedule permits me. By
being here this morning is a proof of this.

13. Alumni giving program in most universities or institution of

higher learning in this country is still at the infancy stage.
Although in the last 10 years institutions of higher learning
have begun to establish their alumni relations office, the alumni
activities prior to these periods were handled mostly by the
Alumni Association. Only UPM, UTM, UM and UPSI have long

established their Alumni associations. Of late many universities
begin to focus on alumni and setting up alumni chapters,
nationally and internationally. The current trend in this country

indicated that alumni are willing to come back to give their time
and participated in students development programs but such
practices are more common for alumni who are already
established in their careers and even among senior alumni.

14. Perhaps alumni consciousness is yet to be a norm amongst

young graduates and ways to instil a sense of pride and
belonging is of the utmost importance. Getting participation of
the young alumni are to be taken as challenges for all local
universities. One of the likely explanation is that many young
alumni have yet to be come forward to contribute as they
themselves are not well established in their careers, thus
focusing in their career or their academic advancement become
their main attention. Thus the importance of building and
sustaining relation with them becomes very crucial, so as not to
‘loose’ them. This is where alumni database , maintaining and
updating is always becoming very critical to ensure contact will
be maintained for future activities.

15. Giving program will become important and every university
should establish their Giving program as it allows alumni to
contribute, to enrich and to strengthen their Alma mater. In
Malaysia the annual graduates (alumni) generated by the
institution ranges from 5,000 to 20,000 individuals and whether
they are local or international alumni, they are potentially the
university’s most influential ambassadors who could play their
role in supporting the university. They are important and
powerful stakeholders of the institution in future. They too can
help to establish strong social and professional networking and
build lasting fraternity bonds among them. It is highly
recommended that an alumni office be set up with proper
staffing and infrastructures at every university to help achieve
these. For others, considering and allowing the establishment
of the Alumni Association represents an important part of
university's commitment to provide a platform for members to
maintain active networking and productive collaborative
alliances. The Alumni Association would thus provide a forum
for continuous sharing among its members. It is also in line
with the philosophy that leadership development is a
continuous journey.

16. It is also important to note that the mind-set of administrators

and management at the universities should not always be
thinking of alumni in relation to fund-raising or merely as “a
good source of money” only. Alumni will not respond well if
the only connection from their universities is a stream of letters
asking for financial contributions. The link should be in the
form of linkages to prospective students, professional and
commercial partnership, coaching, advice and time and of more
importantly, evaluating academic and university services and
activities. These are giving activities which can be offered
more willingly by alumni as they have interest and love in their
own university.

17. With the blessing of Allah and In the name of Allah, the Most
Merciful, the Most Kind, I hereby declare the ALUMNI
CONFERENCE FOR EXCELLENCE 2009 officially open.

Sekian, wabillahitaufik walhidayah wassalamua’laikum

warahmatullahi wabarakatuh dan salam sejahtera