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UNIVERSITY SCHOLARS LEADERSHIP SYMPOSIUM 2011

The Power of Dreams

At the Opening Ceremony of the 2nd University Scholars Leadership Symposium at the Hilton Pattaya Hotel, Khun Ithiphol Khunplume, the Mayor of Pattaya City, welcomed the 343 delegates from many countries, including Argentina, Morocco, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Poland, Brazil, Bolivia, the United Kingdom, Japan, China, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea.

An experiential learning program was organised for the delegates to learn about the lives of the less fortunate in the host city of Pattaya. The delegates were divided into 10 groups, with each group being sent to welfare homes to bring joy to the less fortunate. Their activities included an outing with the orphans, preparing lunch for 400 poor children, swimming with the disabled and taking baking lessons from inmates of a reformative centre.

Summing up the mood of the events, Katie Blundy from Australia talked about her experience at one of the activities. "I am no basketball star even with both legs, and playing in a wheelchair is something I thought near impossible. But what I discovered was one of the most fun sports I have ever played. I found myself volunteering for every game. And as we played in the sweltering heat for the whole afternoon the game was transformed for me. It was no longer a game for disabled people; it became a sport for anyone and I found myself wondering 'Why do you have to have a disability to play wheelchair basketball?'"