After nine months of preparation by the World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific (WYAAP) team and volunteers, the 2nd Emerging Leaders Conference was successfully held at the Bayleaf Hotel, Intramuros, Manila on September 19- 21, 2013. The conference gathered over a hundred twenty young individuals from all over Asia Pacific who are ready to make change and present solutions. With this year’s theme, “The Development Paradigm: A World Beyond 2015”, WYAAP aimed to impart a better understanding of contemporary development issues on health, education and sustainable societies in relation to the Millennium Development Goals and the United Nations Post-2015 Agenda.
Ms. Renelyn Tan, the WYA Foundation Programs Manager, commenced the conference with a discussion on Sustainable Development (SD) Policy after 2015. She discussed two schools of thoughts in relation to SD. One views the people as burdens while other as vehicles of human creativity and innovation. Ms. Tan emphasized that in order to achieve sustainable development, people have to develop seven forms of capitals and invest heavily on education and culture.
The participants were graced with knowledge and expertise from various excellent speakers during the plenary sessions. Dr. Didoy Lubaton and Ms. Anna Cosio tackled the issues of communicable and non-communicable diseases and the role it plays in the development agenda. For both, health must take into consideration the totality of the person, including the psychological and spiritual aspects. They recommended that the best way to be healthy is to make responsible choices.
On Strengthening Human Capital through Education, Director Luz Almeda, representative from the Department of Education, asserted the need to improve the education system and discussed the present “10-point Basic Education Agenda”. Ms. Margarita Delgado, CEO of Teach for the Philippines, further discussed the importance of excellence and leadership in our public education system.
For the final plenary sessions, the discussions focused on Building a Sustainable Future and Best Practices on Person-Centered Development. Ms. Meryl Grace Agudelo, founder of I CAN Make a Difference, talked about the endeavors of the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation that are geared away from instigating dependency but towards catalyzing empowerment. The participants also learned about social entrepreneurship from Mr. Matthew Lapid of Ashoka Philippines as he shared his experiences of being a young social entrepreneur. Dr. Phua Kai Hong of Lee Kuan Yew School also shared his simple message: All emerging leaders should strive to be people-centered leaders. The plenary also opened discussions on Building a Sustainable Future. Ms. Catherine Maceda talked about environmental sustainability in terms of energy production and consumption and how it is imperative to see the reality and act on its urgency. While Dr. Emmanuel Lallana banked on the Internet Revolution in changing paradigms in the areas of education and government services especially in disaster risk management.
Breakout Sessions were also conducted so that participants would have more conducive environment to discuss issues of health, education and sustainable societies. Ms. Janice Lopez from International Organization for Migration shared the importance of Health in migration, emphasizing that diseases do not choose a particular race or culture. As student from Mahidol University, Ms. Nicha Kongsomboon, encouraged the participants to work with their communities for self-sufficiency and empowerment. Ms. Shaina Tantuico imparts her creative ideas on mobile education, stressing that education need not to happen only in traditional classrooms. On the last day of break out sessions, Ms. Jecel Censero from Checkmyschool put emphasis on the need for social accountability and transparency in the education system. Ms. Marian Theresa Valera from the London school of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine shared that knowing what your community needs will help you make better solutions. While Ms. Marinella Andrea C. Mina, Associate Manager for the Collections of the Ayala Museum, discussed the value of culture preservation in development.
The final keynote speaker was Congressman Karlo Alexie Nograles, a friend of WYA from Davao City. He put emphasis on the role of youth today in presenting solutions stating that "The youth have a capacity to serve as the conscience of the population."
One of the highlights of the Conference was when the participants showcased their creativity and talents during the Solidarity Night. There were creative presentations from songs, dances, impersonation and various performances. This became an avenue for the ELC Participants to prove that the greatest resource they posses is their own human creativity.
Given all that has happened, we can say with certainty that the 2nd WYAAP Emerging Leaders Conference successfully delivered the message: Human Dignity is an important factor to consider in the post-2015 development Paradigm. We must see humanity by putting the individual at the center of policy-making and social transformation. Through leadership, an individual has the power to empower the collective and it only takes one brave person to make a difference.
We wish to thank our sponsors who have helped make this event a reality.
We could not have done it without your support!