ACU Residential School

Giving student leaders practical means to promote respect and understanding

Heriot-Watt University Malaysia 
Monday 18 – Thursday 21 December 2017

Heriot-Watt University Malaysia campus

The need for proactive mutual understanding between different faiths, beliefs and cultures has never been greater. Universities are uniquely placed to help meet this need.

With this in mind, the ACU has partnered with Heriot-Watt University and Common Purpose to deliver a leadership programme for 30 students from member institutions on the theme of respect and understanding.

The ACU Residential School, free for participants (excluding travel), will bring a diverse group of students together to explore practical measures to promote tolerance and better intercultural relations at their home institutions and beyond.


The programme will support students in driving positive social change in their institutions and communities by looking at a practical challenge: What can be done to create tolerant and inclusive communities in your institutions and beyond?

Through immersion and experiential techniques, participants will have a unique opportunity to gain the leadership skills required to lead in situations where they have no formal authority, and learn and practice the skills required to quickly understand and address complex issues.

Students will then create a plan to take back to their home universities to promote respect and understanding within the institution. By the end of the Residential School, participants will be given exclusive access to a forum where they will be able to share their progress and exchange ideas.

As part of the programme, participant will meet senior leaders in Kuala Lumpur such as the Country Head of Asylum Access, a Senior Lawyer at the Malaysian Bar Council, and the Founder of Better Cities, to name a few. 

Common Purpose runs leadership development programmes that inspire and equip people to work across boundaries. This enables participants to solve complex problems in organisations and in society.

Who should attend?

Applications will be open to undergraduate and postgraduate students from all member institutions, studying any subject.

We are looking for students who can demonstrate an ability to lead (i.e. experience in a student society, students union, or community organisation), and with the capacity to affect change on their return to their institutions.

In their application, candidates will be asked to outline their opinion on how universities should be involved in promoting respect and understanding between people of different faith, beliefs and culture. This should describe the challenges and opportunities involved in diverse university settings, including examples from their home university.

Applicants will be expected to endorse the ACU’s Statement of shared values as part of their applications.

What is included?

Participating students will receive the following, free of charge:

  • Full participation in the four-day programme
  • Food and refreshments for the duration of the programme: breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner (all meals will be served on campus)
  • Student accommodation at Shaftsbury Serviced Suites and Hotel or Tanyaa Hotel Cyberjaya, on a twin sharing basis (with bedding included)
  • Access to utilities and facilities at accommodation, e.g. swimming pool, WiFi, etc.
  • Bus transfers, one round-trip per day, between Heriot-Watt University Malaysia campus and student accommodation

Participants will be responsible for:

  • Return flights from home city and airport transfers (note that limited travel bursaries are available, see in ‘How to apply’ section below) 
  • Arranging all vaccinations required for travel to Kuala Lumpur
  • Arranging visas (where required) for travel to Kuala Lumpur and for the duration of stay. Heriot-Watt University Malaysia can provide invitation letter on request. Relevant information may be sourced at

How to nominate a candidate

Nominations closed on Tuesday 3 October 2017.

Member universities were asked to conduct their own internal selection process, inviting undergraduate and postgraduate students to apply using this editable PDF application form. Member universities then selected one candidate per institution and sent their nomination via this online form, attaching their candidate’s application form and references.

Please note that the home institution will be expected to fund their nominated student’s return flights to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A limited number of travel bursaries will be awarded to students whose institutions are unable to contribute towards the cost of travel (please indicate this in your nomination form).