Celebrating Malaysian Women in Sustainable Development at MIT Boston

Boston, 30 April 2015: A multimedia exhibit, focusing on the meaningful and impactful role of women in promoting sustainable city developments in Malaysia was launched at the Wolk Gallery, School of Architecture and Planning, MIT. The exhibition will be on from April 30 to July 31, 2015.

The opening reception was graced by Yang Amat Mulia, Tunku Ali Redhauddin, Crown Prince of Negeri Sembilan. Also present were Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin, the Malaysian Ambassador to the United States, Dato’ Seri Ir Dr Zaini Ujang, Secretary General 11, Ministry of Education Malaysia, faculty members of MIT and UTM, as well as Malaysian students in Boston.




The exhibition, titled ‘’Female Faces in Sustainable Places – Malaysia Women Promoting Sustainable Development’’ explores the ways in which women from diverse backgrounds and specializations are contributing to sustainable development in Malaysia. These include those who have played significant roles in formulating and implementing development policies, as well as those at the community level who have brought sustainability to life through social entrepreneurship of various kinds.

The exhibition is part of the UTM-MIT Malaysia Sustainable Cities Program (MSCP). MSCP is a five-year collaboration effort between the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and UTM.

Tunku Ali in his opening remarks highlighted the fact that women in Malaysia have become change agents who have played leading roles in many areas of economic growth, environmental protection, cultural preservation, community engagements and humanitarian missions, to name a few.

The exhibit has revealed inspiring and compelling aspects of the Malaysian culture to Western audiences through a collection of large- and small- format portrait images, action and in situ photographs, and interactive video recordings of Malaysian women innovators from different walks of life.

Some of the key issues explored as part of the objectives of organizing the exhibition is the extent to which women have contributed to Malaysia’s efforts to balance its rapid economic growth with environmental protection and cultural preservation. The aim is to highlight women’s central involvement in innovative and effective sustainable development. As such, the diversity  of women working in different economic sectors were captured and documented.


This venture was made possible  through the support  from the Malaysian Ministry of Education, UTM, MIT and the Malaysia Embassy of the United States.

Malaysia has been chosen because the country is much farther along in crafting sustainable development policies than many other countries. Malaysia is also an exemplary nation in the process of transforming from a developing to a developed nation.


The focus on Malaysian women in the exhibition has demonstrated the maturity of Malaysia’s democracy as a multiracial, multi-religious community where people of various backgrounds work together to develop a modern, democratic and progressive nation.

The exhibit  featured a diversity of Malaysian women working in different economic sectors involving business, government, NGOs/non-profit organizations, education, and civil society. It encompasses women from Malaysia’s major diverse ethnic groups,  namely, Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous people.

Among Malaysian females featured include Governor of Bank Negara, Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, the Chief of the World Humanitarian Summit Secretariat and President of Malaysian Medical Relief Society (MERCY Malaysia), Tan Sri Dr. Jemilah Mahmood, Professor, Razak School of Engineering and Advanced Technology UTM, Prof Dr Suhana Shamsuddin, Director General of the Department of Town and Country Planning, Ministry of Local Government, Datin Paduka Dr Dahlia Rosly, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood, CEO of MaGIC Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre, Cheryl Yeoh, Founder and Chairperson of Yayasan Sukarelawan Siswa Student Volunteer Foundation (YSS), a disaster relief organization, Dato’ Zuraidah Atan, and Head of Planning and Compliance, Iskandar Regional Development Authority in Johor Bahru, Maimunah Jaffar.

The multi-media exhibit will remain at MIT for four and a half months. Then, it will move to a highly visible gallery in Kuala Lumpur. There the exhibition will be augmented by additional photographic and video profiles prepared by Malaysian journalists or academics.

The exhibit in MIT features the work of photographer Leslie Tuttle whose current interest lies in social documentary photography. Her photographs tell a compelling story, offering viewers a chance to engage in a special dialogue with the world.