MANILA, Philippines – Last October 10, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held a dialogue with youth leaders during his visit to Brunei for the ASEAN Summit. His meeting with the youth was entitled “A Conversation with ASEAN Young Leaders.”
The youth dialogue in Brunei was facilitated by Joseph Anthony Quesada, manager of the Youth Leadership program of the Ayala Foundation. He was joined by twenty five ASEAN young leaders from various fields such as community development, environmental causes and leadership programmes.
Kerry expressed his amazement at the changes taking place in ASEAN. He pointed out that a large percentage of the population (65%) is under 35 years old. “When you think about that, the future really belongs to you,” he said to the young audience.
“Don’t get impatient, even if you are fighting, struggling and watching things change, you have to keep doing it and it takes time,” advised Kerry. “I want to know what you see now as your greatest challenges, what you want people in my position to think about, what we should be trying to achieve together.”
Joseph Anthony Quesada of the Philippines and facilitator of the dialogue went on to say that the young people in ASEAN are in a strategic position to make changes, inspiring and empowering them will lead to a better future for the region.
Delegates from the Philippines to the event were Ayana Jamnia G. Maranda, a Psychology major of the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, and John Patrick Allanegui, a MS candidate in Social Development at the Ateneo de Manila University.
Ayana’s passion towards peace advocacy allowed her to participate in the National Youth Ambassadors Program for Peace in 2012. She is a recent graduate of the Philippine Youth Leadership Program 10 (PYLP 10), a U.S. Department of State youth exchange program. At the same time, John is a graduate of the Study of the U.S. Institutes program. His research focuses on gender performativity and women in the Philippine Navy. He is the managing editor of Verstehen, an online publication headquartered in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the Ateneo de Manila University, and he also assists the Manila Observatory with a baseline research project for Space Science Technology and Application.
Future ASEAN Leaders
The dialogue with Kerry serves as a preliminary event to the ASEAN Youth Leaders Summit set to take place in the Philippines, organized by Ayala Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Embassy. The leadership program will gather youth leaders, alumni from various U.S. Embassy youth programs, ages 18 – 25 from across the South East Asian Region on December 2 to 6, 2013. The event includes a 3-day session with discussions, exposure trips, cultural exchanges, and workshop activities carried out in both a formal conference setting and in an informal service learning environment.
Participants will be able to forge a regional community of youth committed to carrying out activities that are linked across the ten nations of ASEAN, and from which they can continue to share information and best practices, and learn from one another, beyond the conference itself.
The Ayala Foundation is proud to be part of the working committee that will see the summit through. An estimate of about 150 youths around ASEAN is expected to participate. –Ayala Foundation, Rappler.com
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