Asean youth organization forum cultivates leadership for Southeast Asia’s sustainable future

JAKARTA, INDONESIA—With the aim of promoting further international understanding and leadership among the region’s young individuals, the Asean Youth Organization—a leading nonprofit and nongovernmental organization—recently organized the Asean Youth Leader Forum 2022 virtually via Zoom video conference and Facebook/YouTube livestream platforms.

The event took on the theme of “Youth Leadership Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow” to celebrate acts of courage and determination by aspiring young Asean leaders who have played extraordinary roles in advocating for inclusivity, mental health, and women empowerment in the region.

The theme was also aligned with that of the United Nations’ observance of International Women’s Day: “Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow.”

The event was attended by 500 participants aged 15 to 35 from various professional and academic backgrounds who have made life-changing contributions to their respective societies within the region.

Participants were given the opportunity to brainstorm ideas, develop connections, and gain deeper understanding of current challenges and issues facing three areas consisting of inclusivity, mental health, and women empowerment.

Prior to the event, the Asean Youth Organization also selected six young speakers to spark discussions during the event: two from Indonesia, and one each from Vietnam, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Soe Tjen Marching, senior lecturer at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) University of London, expressed: “What inspired me to be a writer was meeting survivors of violence whose stories were really touching and full of struggle…Even after the traumatic events, they remained brave and incredible.”

Adding to the conversation on the topic of women’s movement, producer of Asia TV Studios Regine Guevara explained: “The women’s movement is a constant reminder for all of us, regardless of the generation, [that] the struggle for equality is real, [and it’s doable. We are] able to do it.”

Further, Michael Nugraha Budiarto, Asean Youth Organization’s vice president for External Affairs, added: “In the workplace, we still don’t have gender equality, because of our history and common mindset, that we see women…[are still] somehow lower than men. As young people, we should create movements and campaigns to change this mindset for…future generations.”

The forum serves as a platform for aspiring young changemakers of Asean to build networks, brainstorm ideas, and develop connections between individuals and communities to deepen their passion in creating meaningful change in the region. It was supported by Asia TV, in partnership with, Seri Begawan Religious Teachers University College, and MentalHealthPH.


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