Last March 3, 2017 the Global Youth Summit #GlobalYouthSummit4SDGs, organized by the Global Peace Foundation and SM Cares, celebrated its 5th year at the Mall of Asia Arena. Over 10,000 delegates from different organizations and schools from the Philippines and abroad attended the annual summit.
It had a series of inspiring talks that tackled various global issues that the youth are now facing. Dr. Hyun Jin P. Moon, Founder and Chairman of the Global Peace Foundation, talked about passion and said “Be the dreamers that will define what the century will be”. He also said that the Philippines has a lot of unique opportunities in the years ahead and believes in its future potential in the agricultural, economical, and political aspect.
The delegates from different countries were also given a chance to share their advocacies in relation to obtaining global sustainable development growth.
Marco Roncarati, Social Affairs Officer of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific, was one of the speakers who talked about how one can increase awareness and possibly reduce poverty. Here are some of his inspiring words during the talk that struck me: “Do not specialize too much, have multiple skills and know a little about everything; it’s the way to move forward”.
Local personalities and influencers were also invited to talk including award-winning broadcaster, Karen Davila, who shared some of her experiences on social media and how the youth can be responsible when using the Internet. She further urged everyone to always think before they click especially in this digital age where the Internet has the capability to make or break almost anyone or anything.
KC Concepcion shared her experiences as the National Ambassador Against Hunger of the World Food Program. She started working as the WFP ambassador when she was 22 years old. She said it took her 6 months to apply and everything was worth it. Seeing her going to places and helping other people inspired me as a youth to help even in my little ways. She elaborated that hunger is the world’s greatest solvable problem and tells the youth that through helping, also comes teaching people to generate food for sustainability.
Aiza Seguerra, a multi-awarded recording artist first prior to being appointed as the Chairperson of the National Youth Commission, performed a song for the audience. She also talked about employment and gave advice to the young people to guard their heart and principles. Decent Job and Economic Growth are among the focus of this year’s summit being identified as relevant issues by the youth.
Climate Change Commissioner Vernice Victorio, also had the chance to share her knowledge despite her jitters. She was able to address the audience with her personal testimony in taking action through small ways to help with the conservation of Mother Nature. She urged everyone to document their own efforts in protecting the environment and share it online using the hashtag #ClimateAction.
Lastly, UNICEF Celebrity Advocate for Children, Anne Curtis-Smith, elaborated on how education is fundamental, especially during the preschool stage because it is the period where children are very receptive to anything they see and experience. As an advocate, she focuses on promoting Early Childhood Care and Development, a subject aligned with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals under Quality Education. According to her, the event is the first opportunity on her official UNICEF function to address such a huge crowd. Her positivity and enthusiasm radiated from the stage to the back of the Mall of Asia Arena.
Global Youth Summit 2017 also launched the #GlobalYouth4SDGs competition which aims to showcase leadership potentials and innovative efforts in developing programs that contribute in addressing the top five most relevant issues identified by the youth. These are Quality Education (78%); Climate Action (49%); Poverty (54%); Zero Hunger (43%); and Decent Job and Economic Growth (51%). Top 25 teams from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and even as far as Japan and Indonesia were chosen to present their proposals before a panel.
Here are the winners:
5EBig Project is a community program which intends to employ an innovative methodology and integrate an online platform that will help increase TESDA employment rate while encouraging out-of-school youth to enroll in a TVET course in a TESDA-accredited institution;
Community Poultry and Garden for a Healthy Future is a proposed community vegetable garden and poultry farm that aims to eliminate the malnutrition cases and sustain good health of the children from indigent families in Rizal, Alicia, Isabela;
SakunAPP is an Android-based mobile application that is able to monitor the safety status of the members of the community. The application provides protocols and guidelines on what to do on certain disasters such as storm, flood, earthquakes, and the like. It also includes a push notification feature informing members of the community who are safe and sound;
Taytayan, a Cebuano-word for bridge, aims to contribute in bridging the gap and the gender disparity of primary grade pupils in Mabolo Elementary School in Cebu; and,
Ropes for Hope is a social enterprise that employs mothers of a community in producing rice straws. This provides both an alternative income stream and utilization of waste products.
Winners will receive a total of Php 1 Million seed grant to fuel their creative and benefitting proposals.
To sum up, the Global Youth Summit 2017 was a one-of-a-kind experience not only to me, but to those who took part in a meaningful gathering such as this. Silent Sanctuary concluded the event and I am definitely looking forward to Global Youth Summit 2018!