The upcoming integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) hopes to have a positive impact on youth. To support this idea, the 100 participating students of the first-ever “Asean Youth Dialogues” (AYD) discussed among them the theme of Asean integration and its positive effects among the youth.
The US Embassy sponsored the said event held on August 12, where students and young leaders from several universities were in attendance. Organized by five Filipino youth alumni of the US Department of State exchange programs, as well as members of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), the AYD is a series of conferences aimed at engaging young leaders and students in discussions to help them better understand the implications of Asean’s integration in 2015.
Speaking with attendees at Ateneo de Manila University, US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg said that as young leaders, they must address the challenges of the 21st Century.
Ambassador Goldberg added, “The challenges of today by-and-large do not recognize borders. Responding requires joint effort. Thus, the concept of a peaceful, secure, and prosperous Asean community is a vision that resonates for the United States.”
“The US supports Asean’s economic integration goals and we aim to create dynamic, open economies with the establishment of an integrated Asean Economic Community by the end of 2015. A peaceful, secure, and prosperous Southeast Asia is good for the world, but it’s even more important for Asean’s citizens and governments,” the ambassador continued.
With the support of US Embassy in Manila, and in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)-Foreign Service Institute, Ateneo de Manila University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and the Ayala Foundation Inc., the event was a success.
Keynote speakers included DFA’s Asean Affairs executive director Teresita Daza, who opened the forum with an introduction to Asean and its integration. Meanwhile, former Department of Education undersecretary and current The Manila Times College president Dr. Isagani Cruz spoke about the effects of integration on the education sector.
Breakout sessions focused on the three pillars of the integration—political security, economic and socio-cultural.
Other speakers included Bantay.ph co-founder Happy Feraren, Agricool founder Cherie Atilano, and anthropologist Clarissa Mijares of Ateneo de Manila University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
Project leader John Patrick Allanegui expressed his hopes that this initiative can encourage other collaborative efforts among youth to discuss Asean’s integration and other youth issues.
“The AYD seeks to provide the younger generation, particularly student leaders, with a better grasp of the impact of the integration to education and on other issues affecting the youth,” Allanegui said.
This year, four more Asean Youth Dialogues will be held at Ateneo de Davao University in Davao, St. Louis University in Baguio, and also in two universities in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.