1. OVERVIEW On the 5th week tutorial of introduction to civil society class, we were asked to form a group consisted of five students from different countries. The purpose was to conduct a panel discussion based on any topic related to introduction civil society course. Mr. John Britto, the lecturer of my tutorial gave us an option to choose any members we want as well as the topic to be discussed during our panel discussion. The following are the names of members of our group, countries and the role played in panel discussion; NAME COUNTRY ROLE 1. Moktar Diaby Mali Moderator 2. Mohamed Azam Malaysia Skill and Charity development 3. Asaad Maher Yemen Skill development 4. Imtaz Sri Lanka Charity development 5. Makame Juma Tanzania Physical participation There are many ways that can be used to develop a community or a society. Availability of resources and participation of community members in exploring the resources are the main factors that contribute to the development of society. But all of the above will be of beneficial if the main objectives or interests based on community development rather than individual interests. Looking into these factors, we finally came out with the idea of how to develop the community or society. The heading of our topic stated “In which way can society be developed? /How to make a sustainable development in any community?” We came out with this topic in order to share our ideas to our fellow brothers and sisters on how community or society can be developed. The first speaker, Asaad Maher talked about how society can be developed by training and giving skills to the community members. According to him, skill organization is important since resources are limited in the society and it is better for the members of a certain society to use them wisely for the benefit of their community. The second speaker Imtaz said that the only way for the community or any society to be developed is through charity organization. He suggested that the community members should be helped by giving them money to develop their community. The members of the community know how their village operates so it is better for the outsiders or funder to let them decide what to do about the development of their community. Mohamed Azam said that the combination of skills and money is the best way to develop a society. It is not helpful for the funder to give money to the members of society unless they have skills to use the money for the betterment of their community. It is also good give them knowledge on how to use the money they get to develop the society. As the last speaker, Makame Juma (I) said that any civil society organization can bring development to the society as long as there is community members participation in each development activity. The community members should be motivated and empowered so that they can have an equal access to the resources. The control of flow of resources should be based on the community interest and not individual interest. Giving an example from my country (Tanzania) about how agriculture sector failed to benefit the local residents for the sake of foreign investors. Another example based on the Tanzanite mines in which Tanzania gets 40% of the benefits while foreign investors takes 60%.
2. PROCESS 2.1 Planning process The planning process took two days before we showed to the discussion date. We had two meetings in which one of them we were able to choose our group moderator (Muktar Diaby). The first meeting was held in the class. It was a short meeting of about 10 minutes to discuss about the topic that we were going to choose for panel discussion and writing a draft of proposal about our discussion. The second meeting was held at AIU student center and the main agenda was to discuss about the findings as well as deciding which role does each one of us was going to play. After the meeting, all of us decided to practice and trying to refine the points that can suit with our topic. It was one hour meeting but we all had ideas on what to speak during the panel delivery.
2.2 Points of arguments In the very beginning stage it was difficult for us to decide on which we should choose since the introduction to civil society course has a wider range. At first, everyone suggested that we should talk about the development obstacles in our countries. Since civil societies are everywhere in the world and we have different countries in our university, the idea was rejected. After a long time arguments we finally agreed that everyone can talk about the type of organization that can contribute to the development of the society but it should be applied to the whole world civil societies. It should not base on a certain community or society since the condition and availability of natural resources are different from one place to another.
3. IMPLEMENTATION The discussion had two parts. In the first part, a panelist had to describe the way/organization which he thought it is good for promoting development in a society. In the second part, the panelist had to compare that organization with other organizations and try to point out the benefits/advantages obtained. 3.1 Strength and Satisfaction The topic we chose was a very wide topic in such a way that each panelist had a wide range to discuss the topic to the audience. It did not much time since the points we clearly understood by the audience. Each panelist had time to elaborate the points to the audience as the moderator stated the questions clearly and made the discussion as normal discussion.
3.2 Disatisfaction and Weaknesses I got nervous when the moderator turned and address the first question to me. It was my fifth panel discussion since I joined Albukhary International University. I had a difficult time since I never used to participate in public speaking while I was in my country. Some of the panelist were reading direct from the piece of paper they brought together as a reference. I tried not to do that because it was discussion that needed our thinking skills on how to express and share the ideas that we have in mind based on the true facts. Apart from that, the main aim is to give us experience and not to finish the assignment we were given.
4. REFLECTION OF THE PANEL DISCUSSION It was the difficult but a nice moment of life experience to sit together and combined our ideas and finally to come out with one main idea. I really liked the way how the panel was organized and presented to the audience. It gives experience and builds a person to become a very competitive in voicing ideas. It also makes an individual to have cooperation among the members of society he/she lives for example my group mates and I had worked together to prepare a panel discussion and this made me to know them well. Lastly, I have learned that teamwork leads to the fast achievement on everything. During execution of our panel discussion, every panelist in our group made sure that the information given to the audiences are clearly understood. We tried to give many examples based on our daily life and tried to provide sources of information. Hopefully, there was only one question addressed by one of the audience (Kamaruddin from Uzbekistan) which says “Since Malaysia has also several poor societies, are these organizations/ways helpful to develop their societies?” The moderator (Moktar Diaby) answered the question by saying that each society has different way of life, also the availability of natural resources matters a lot. There can be many ways of developing the society but these are the best ones. Members of the community have to be creative to overcome problem in their society.
5. CONCLUSION Working together with different students having different ideas made me increase my thinking capacity in the sense that I was able to generate many ideas from different panelist who were involved in the previous panel discussions. The development of any society starts with an individual initiative and volunteerism towards the use of resources for the benefit of his/her society. If different individual ideas were combined together, there would be a great achievement in the development of any society or community in the world.