The 5th World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific Emerging Leaders Conference (WYAAP ELC) for me is a story of the brave and determined young souls from the Asia Pacific region. It is a story I will be sharing to my fellow young people, colleagues, and to my future students.
I was overjoyed upon knowing that my application as a delegate for the 5th WYAAP ELC was accepted. I was very eager and willing to learn a myriad of meaningful ideas from this conference. This year’s theme focused on innovative ways of “upgrading earth.” It was a timely theme for me to learn about, so I prepared everything and got myself ready for the conference.
I felt a little bit shy and intimidated on the first day of the ELC because I came on my own. This initial feeling, being alone amidst other strangers, changed when the greetings of the World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific facilitators echoed through the conference room. Their smiles radiated positive vibes to every delegate, be it a Filipino, Indonesian, Nepali, or Vietnamese.
The conference started out well. I learned that all of us, regardless of age, gender, and nationality, share equal importance in upgrading earth. I realized that amidst all the changes that take place in our environment, the human person stands at the center as the key factor of everything. We, as mere beings of the world and sole guardians of our environment, are the “mitochondria” of all development that take place around us.
The second day of the ELC was the most meaningful day for me because I was able to utilize my cognitive, psychomotor and affective potentials the whole day. It was all about exchanging ideas and workshops on specific areas of the environment. It was difficult to decide what breakout session and workshop I will attend that day. I ended up choosing those I felt were closest to my heart – “Nature and Wildlife Preservation” for the morning session and “Art for Social Impact” in the afternoon.
I enjoyed listening to the discussions about nature preservation and learning about some of the Philippine endangered species that we could be proud of. I also learned that art as a form of expression can move and inspire people. I was struck by the idea that I have niches to play and duties to do as an emerging leader. I was struck, not just by the teachings from the speakers, but also by the ideas of my fellow delegates. To complete the second day was the solidarity night where I was able to understand other people’s cultures and traditions better, and witness how talented and gifted my fellow emerging leaders are. This was indeed the climax of the day. This was my ELC experience at its superlative form.
On the last day were showers of empowerment and motivation from our speakers. It was where I challenged myself to be an agent of positive change. It was the time when I filled myself with all the relevant ideas I learned from the conference. It was also the time when I savored every moment I had with my fellow delegates and the ELC facilitators. This was the day I heard the sweetest goodbyes and the words of empowerment. This day I gave all my to dance the iconic solidarity dance, and finally, give my sweetest and sincerest smiles for the final picture taking.
In totality, the 5th WYAAP ELC was a colossal inspiration for me as a young emerging leader in my school and community. I would have wanted to extend the fellowship with my fellow delegates and the facilitators but we were prevented by time. I traveled back to my city with so much joy and gratitude with me. Joy, because in three days, I got to know such beautiful people who have a similar passion for leading and being the agents of positive change. Gratitude, because in three days I was given the opportunity to learn so many things. I was given the chance to also be “upgraded” and become a better person than I was before.
This was a story of how brave and determined young souls from Asia Pacific Region became braver and more determined. It is a story worthy to be told.
Written by Deo Lumogdang, a WYA member and delegate of the 5th WYAAP ELC from Bacolod City, Philippines.