THIRTY-ONE top university student leaders from eight countries—Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan—gathered in Manila to address pressing transportation issues from July 27 to 30 during the 13th Hitachi Young Leaders Initiative (HYLI).
Tsunehiro Takahashi, founding member and general manager of Hitachi Asia Ltd. Myanmar branch, said the main objective of Hitachi as a global (Asean) corporate citizen in creating the program is to contribute to society. “Developing the next generation of leaders was one of the options. To identify the best and brightest across the region and to develop better understanding and relationships among them is a process for a better world.
I am proud to say that we are contributing to that process in our own way,” Takahashi told the media during the opening of the four-day event at New World Hotel in Makati City.
He cited successful alumni Dr. Agung Wicaksono, now the special assistant to Indonesian president; and Devianti Faridz, Indonesian political commentator. Here in the Philippines, he said, Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV is a successful alumni of HYLI. He said Wicaksono, Faridz and Aquino “are all active contributors to society and distinguished professionals in their own fields.”
Aquino is the third HYLI alumni who graced the event on the second day. The student leaders, including Marc Wendolf Duque from Ateneo de Manila University; Danielle Marie Cang, De La Salle University; Raphael Justin Jambalos, University of the Philippines Diliman; and Joseph Ariel Nipas, University of Santo Tomas held meaningful discussions with high-profile regional opinion leaders on pressing transportation challenges facing the Asean region.
Under the theme “Asean Perspectives on the Social and Environmental Challenges of Designing and Implementing Public Transportation Systems,” the first two days of forum discussion centered on the following three subthemes: a) A snapshot of the current state of urbanization and sustainability in Asean; b) An overview of the infrastructural options for people-centric and environment-friendly transportation systems; and c) Shaping a culture of sharing: Lifestyle changes for efficient transportation.
“For almost two decades, it has been extremely encouraging and heartening for us to be supported by many of the most respected and prominent leaders in the region. Their passion and enthusiasm in grooming the future generation has allowed HYLI to cultivate a strong community of leaders in Asean with a sound understanding of the region’s challenges. Our HYLI alumni will prove to be an important asset to bring about a brighter future for the region,” said Hirohiko Morisaki, managing director of Hitachi Asia Ltd.
The 31 students were selected from over 230 applications from 51 universities in the region. All student applicants were put through a rigorous selection process based on their academic results, participation in extra-curricular activities, leadership capabilities, fluency in the English language and knowledge of current regional issues.
Apart from various forums and workshops designed to ensure students develop networking and learning opportunities, the students also visited Gawad Kalinga Village and Bonifacio Global City on the third day of the program.
These visits sought to provide students with the opportunity to experience firsthand the various types of transportation systems used in different parts of the country, and to understand how transportation and urban development affect the lives of residents.
Finally, students shared what they learned over the course of HYLI at the student presentation. Their recommendations would subsequently be published in a white paper, and shared with the business, the government and academic sectors for their consideration. Ichiro Iino, chief executive for Asia, Hitachi Ltd. said, “HYLI provides a unique platform to broaden the regional and global outlooks of students through interactive discussions with regional subject experts. In addition, it also allows Hitachi to understand real issues faced in the world, which is crucial in ensuring that Hitachi develops solutions that answer society’s challenges.”
Providing significant insights on Southeast Asia’s transportation issues to the HYLI delegates during the event were: Arnel Paciano Casanova, President and CEO of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority from the Philippines; Nana Soetantri, Transport Specialist, Regional and Sustainable Development Department, Asian Development Bank; Dr. Danang Parikesit, President of the Indonesia Transportation Society; Dr. Somprasong Suttayamully, Director of Business Development, Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand;
Nobukazu Nagai, Director, International Policy and Project Division, Railway Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan; Jiro Yasuda, Division Director, International Business Development and Sales Division, Hitachi Ltd., Rail Systems Co.; Mohinder Singh, Advisor, LTA Academy, Singapore; Laurence Cua, General Manager, Uber Manila; and Ma. Pham Thanh Tung, General Director of International Cooperation Department, Ministry of Transportation Vietnam.
The HYLI is a community-relations program that aims to identify and nurture potential Asian leaders by bringing them together to discuss regional issues with influential government officials, prominent business leaders, academics and NGO representatives.
Since its inauguration in Singapore in 1996, the HYLI has been successful in bringing the best and brightest students in Asia together.
From 2015, Myanmar will join existing participating countries Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan in the program.
The initiative offers student participants a unique platform to broaden their outlook on regional and global issues while promoting Asian values and cross-cultural understanding.