Youths The Key To ASEAN’s Future – VC
By Saiful Bahri Kamaruddin
Pix Abd Ra’ai Osman
BANGI, 6 Oct 2015 – The key to ASEAN’s future of closer cooperation lies with the youths of today.
UKM Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Noor Azlan Ghazali said if the young people of ASEAN can work together, then the regional grouping will be able to realise its goals in the near future.
He said one such platform where youths can discover their shared regional identity and work with communities to develop innovative solutions to their pressing social, cultural, environmental and economic problems, is the ASEAN Youth Volunteers’ Programme (AYVP).
The opportunity the students got from helping the local community brings with it great responsibility, he said at the close of the 2015 AYVP Programme for The Development of Asean Youth Eco Leaders Through Volunteerism and Community Engagement, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on August 28.
He stated that when they return home, they are expected to continue carrying out their own community projects that will contribute to the conservation of ASEAN’s environment.
“The impact of this progress does not end here. All of you have carried the mandate that the tasks of leadership capabilities are in your sphere of influence.
“The challenge is that of the integration of ASEAN,” he declared.
For one month, 50 volunteers were tested for their leadership competencies through workshops and hands-on activities as they work with each other and local communities to discover the ASEAN identity and the role that youths can play in the community, with a specific focus on the environment.
Julie Chung, Deputy Head of the US Embassy in Phnom Penh said the volunteers needed to experience for themselves the hardship of the less fortunate in order for them to want to make changes.’
She stated that the AYVP, which is mostly funded by American donor USAID, should help provide solutions to ASEAN’s problems, such as basic sanitation and lack of clean water.
“You have already made a difference. I’m sure that your networks and friendship will last a lifetime,” Chung explained.
She thanked UKM for its initiative in establishing AYVP two years earlier but added that many other agencies in the ten-member ASEAN group also played important roles.
Dr Romny Om, Director-General of the Royal Institute of Technology of Cambodia, which hosted the Eco leaders volunteerism programme, also thanked UKM for launching the first activity of AYVP in 2014.
He announced that the Indonesian Eco leaders won the best video documentary for the 2015 AYVP programme.
He said the Krakor floating village, which is about 160 km from Phnom Penh, was chosen for the home-stay of the eco leaders because of its uniqueness.
“I was sure that none of the volunteers from outside Cambodia have experienced anything like it,” he said.
The 2016 AYVP Eco leaders volunteerism programme will be held in the Philippines.
The 2015 programme was a joint partnership between UKM and Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), with USAID, ASEAN Secretariat, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Malaysia, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Cambodia, and UN Volunteers.