ARTICLE

Preparing future ASEAN Youth Leaders

On 15 June 2023, the seventh series of EU-ASEAN Youth Talk Show brought together almost 300 ASEAN youth to engage in a discourse about essential skills for the future and the strategies to attain them. The virtual stage featured ASEAN youth speakers, including a member of the EU Youth Sounding Board from the Philippines Benji Aquino, Erasmus plus alumnus Dr. Amin Farid and the project coordinator of the EU-funded Sustainability Issues Metaverse for Building Participatory Learning Environments (SIMPLE) project Jeanne Cottenceau.

Ambassador of the European Union to ASEAN, H.E. Igor Driesmans emphasised the important role of youth in shaping the future and the importance of having the right skills to navigate the fact-paced world. In his opening remarks, Ambassador Driesmans also highlighted several EU initiatives such as Erasmus Plus, EU SHARE, Youth Sounding Board, and the SIMPLE project, as platforms and opportunities for ASEAN youth to develop their skill sets.

As a member of the EU Youth Sounding Board, Benji Aquino shared how his involvement has honed his research, writing and speaking skills — critical tools in the policy making process. Meanwhile, Dr Amin Farid emphasised the value of nurturing critical thinking and observation skills, ‘It is important to have the ability to look what’s around you and what you can create or do or activate to provide better service or awareness’, he said.

The European Union has long recognised the  pivotal role of youth as drivers of growth and a agents of change. In ASEAN,  youth constitutes over half the region’s population with significant potential power and influence to be harnessed. The SIMPLE project was inaugurated in May 2023, offers ASEAN youth the opportunity to deepen their understanding of environmental challenges and collaboratively devise solutions using the metaverse.

The concept of the virtual metaverse as a learning platform sparked discussions on access, particularly for youth in remote areas and underscored the importance of digital skills in navigating the future.

Currently in its 7th iteration, the EU-ASEAN Youth Talk Show is designed to foster interactivity and facilitate dialogue between speakers and participants. Moreover, it grants participating youth a unique chance to connect with H.E. Igor Driesmans, Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to ASEAN

Through the EU-ASEAN Youth Talk Shows, youth participants gain insights into EU-funded development cooperation projects in ASEAN, priority areas, strategic plans, and directives, as well as annual thematic objectives. These sessions also empower them to contribute and make a difference. Overall, the talk show provides a platform for ASEAN youth to mutually inspire and be inspired by their peers, fostering networking opportunities for information exchange.

With over 2,000 young people in ASEAN having participated in the Talk Show series on diverse topics – including the role of youth during and post pandemic, green employment opportunities for youth, gender-related issues and the empowerment of women and girls, youth empowerment in the digital creative economy, and women’s contribution to the aviation sector – the initiative has garnered substantial momentum.

Aligned with the first-ever EU Youth Action Plan 2022-2027, the EU ASEAN Youth Talk Show will continue bringing forth pertinent discussion topics for ASEAN Youth. To stay informed about upcoming EU-ASEAN Youth Talk Show events, follow @euinasean on Instagram and Twitter, and register for the mailing list or sign up for notifications via email: eu-asean@landell-mills.com.

Playlist of EU-ASEAN Youth Talk Show Series is available in EUinASEAN Youtube.