Agents of change

Young peo­ple from around South-east asia con­gre­gate in the Philip­pines to bring changes to the re­gion.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - R.AGE - By CHRIS­TINE CHEAH allther­age@thes­tar.com.my

THEY are all lead­ers with a cause and alumni of sev­eral US in­ter­na­tional ex­change pro­grammes, but more im­por­tantly, the young peo­ple who con­ge­grated at the re­cent 2013 LEAD Asean Youth Sum­mit in Manila, Philip­pines are all ready to make a dif­fer­ence in the world.

LEAD – which stands for link, en­gage, ac­ti­vate and de­velop – is an an­nual sum­mit which hopes to forge a strong youth net­work across the re­gion.

Hosted by the Ayala Foun­da­tion, in part­ner­ship with the Manila US Em­bassy, the three-day sum­mit gath­ered 150 of the bright­est young peo­ple aged 18-24 from across South-East Asia.

The youth sum­mit fea­tured in­ter­ac­tive panel dis­cus­sions, ex­cur­sions, cul­tural ex­change ac­tiv­i­ties and work­shops to em­power the young lead­ers with ad­e­quate knowl­edge to craft their own pro­grammes to ben­e­fit their com­mu­ni­ties back home.

Ten del­e­gates from each Asean coun­try and 60 from the Philip­pines were cho­sen by the Ayala Foun­da­tion and the US Em­bassies across South-East Asia, and they were ei­ther from US Em­bassy Youth Pro­grammes or Ayala Young Lead­ers Congress alumni.

The in­ter­na­tional sum­mit fo­cused on var­i­ous sub­jects, such as eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, en­vi­ron­ment, ed­u­ca­tion and aware­ness, and hu­man de­vel­op­ment.

The par­tic­i­pants were in­vited to at­tend think labs fa­cil­i­tated by suc­cess­ful or­gan­i­sa­tions, such as Teach for the Philip­pines, where they had the op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss press­ing so­cial is­sues as well as go on ex­cur­sions to wit­ness how suc­cess­ful lo­cal en­ter­prises are run.

Gawad Kalinga founder Tony meloto said young peo­ple in the re­gion need to re­move the mind­set that Western prod­ucts are bet­ter than those in asia.

agri­cul­ture so­cial en­tre­pre­neur cher­rie ati­lano (left), 27, at the Gawad Kalinga en­chanted farm. She spoke about the chal­lenges in help­ing for­mer con­victs who were il­lit­er­ate to earn a de­cent

liv­ing through farm­ing.

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