WORLD Top 100 youths gather in Bangkok as change-makers in ASEAN region


Top 100 youths gather in Bangkok as change-makers in ASEAN region

By Zhao Yipu | People's Daily app

14:43, January 22, 2019

Bangkok (People's Daily) - The Maybank Foundation and ASEAN Foundation today launched the regional capacity building and orientation workshop of the eMpowering Youths Across ASEAN in Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, choosing 100 young change-makers from the region who have gone through a rigorous selection process.


The regional capacity building and orientation workshop of the empowering Youths Across ASEAN. (Photos: People's Daily/Zhao Yipu)

The regional workshop was opened with a ceremony that saw Prof. Suthiphand Chirathivat, the Executive Director of ASEAN Studies Centre of Chulalongkorn University and Lee Yoong Yoong, the Director of Community Affairs of the ASEAN Secretariat, delivering their remarks, followed by a keynote speech by H.E. Vijavat Isarabhakdi, the Advisor to the Foreign Minister of Thailand. Nora Abdul Manaf, Maybank's Group Chief Human Capital Officer, also made welcome remarks, emphasizing the importance of the program.

"We believe that the youth of today are the future of tomorrow. Hence, our focus is on sustainable programs that provide long term community and economic benefits which will contribute to the progress of communities where we operate, especially ASEAN."

The regional workshop serves as an important milestone for the eMpowering Youths Across ASEAN due to its role in equipping all participants with the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully implement their projects in selected community areas in Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia for two weeks. In the course of the 5-day workshop, the participants, divided into 10 groups according to country placement and selection of themes, will be trained to develop project plans covering a broad range of developmental issues that will help them to implement their community projects.


Also attending were representatives of 10 civil society organizations (CSOs) from Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia, who will work closely with the participants throughout the 2-week project implementation. The role of the CSOs will be crucial not only in providing insights on social, economic and political situations in project areas to the participants but also in ensuring that the work of participants can be sustained by handing over the management of the projects to the CSOs.

Elaine Tan, the Executive Director of ASEAN Foundation highlighted how the workshop is very much aligned with the spirit of Thailand's ASEAN Chairmanship in 2019. "This regional workshop serves as a strategic platform to welcome Thailand's ASEAN Chairmanship in 2019. The way this workshop embraces many ASEAN stakeholders, such as ASEAN Secretariat, young changemakers, CSOs and government representatives, to ensure continuous impact is in perfect harmony with the tagline of Thailand's Chairmanship, which is 'Advancing Partnership for Sustainability'," said Elaine.

The community projects will be scaled up in the coming years as social enterprises across the region to become the foremost initiative in Southeast Asia for catalyzing youth participation and impact on their communities.

This program is a continuation from the Singapore-led pilot program of Maybank Foundation and Maybank Singapore in 2016, which involved over 200 students from top universities in Singapore.

One of the 100 changemakers, Joshua Dale Santos of Thailand, said he sees the program as a perfect avenue to engage with future leaders of ASEAN. "As the program involves youths from various backgrounds, I believe it will help facilitate more cross-cultural dialogues which is useful in facilitating better understanding of each other's differences and enhancing appreciation to ASEAN's diversity," Joshua said.

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