First Time

It was a conference like you’ve never seen before. I never even thought that the Emerging Leaders Conference would be this fruitful, worthwhile, and entertaining.

Being a delegate was such an honor and a blessing. Actually, it was my first time hearing about the conference when my school, University of Asia and the Pacific, asked me to join. I didn’t know much about the World Youth Alliance but after looking through their website, I knew that the conference would be a great opportunity for me to sharpen my leadership skills and widen my perspective.

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It was also my first time to attend a three-day conference so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Honestly, I anticipated that it would be just a normal event with considerably typical talks but as I witnessed the first day, I was proven wrong in so many ways.

My school was the host venue of the conference so I was pretty aware of the facilities. At the start of the conference, each of us received goodie bags containing our WYA shirts, sponsored products, and the ELC program booklet. Honestly, one of the things that really motivated me to join were the freebies. So I was really happy to receive them the first day.image003

Everyone in the conference, most especially the organizers, showed outstanding hospitality to each and every one us. I felt open to my fellow delegates because everyone was so nice and friendly. With that, I told myself, “Oh! No doubt, this is going to be a great experience. Lezgoo!”

The ELC invited exemplary speakers to talk and give workshops about a specific topic or issue. I will admit that I did not fully pay attention to all of them, but what I really liked about the talks and workshops is the open forum and processing right after. It was my favorite part because it really helped us exercise our practical thinking skills. It was also the time where delegates are given the chance to ask the speakers on how to resolve their own problems and specific issues they are encountering.

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After the talks, there were networking breaks and food breaks – which was also my favorite part. The food was unlimited, so I just kept on going through rounds. It’s also nice that the organizers considered the allergies and food restrictions that I put in my application form. I was able to meet most of my fellow delegates during these breaks, and since I know the school very well, I gladly offered to tour them around. I also made sure to ask for either their contact numbers or Facebook names to keep in touch. I was really amazed by the passion that all of my fellow delegates possessed. They all have a stand for what they believe in with regards to dignity, freedom, and solidarity which helped me broadened my perspective.
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There was also always something fun in everything we do, most especially the Solidarity Dance which was taught to us and was asked to do every time which made the song, “Can’t Stop the Feeling”, stuck in my head for so long. I also felt a bit privileged to have led the dance at some point.

The most entertaining part of the event, for me, was the Fellowship night. It was a great experience seeing how our group and the other groups bonded and collaborated to give special performances. And add to that, the dashing and glamorous cultural attire most of the people wore.

I would definitely miss all my fellow delegates plus the experience of being part of the 5th WYAAP Emerging Leaders Conference. I didn’t have any regrets at all. I enjoyed. I learned. I collaborated. I led. I followed. And most especially, I grew.

Written by Nur Aidil Bin Nordin, a student of the University of Asia and the Pacific, and a 5th WYAAP ELC delegate.