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PHNOM PENH – Tann Channarath, Chansambath Bong and Bora Kem are three Cambodian fellows among 45 aspired youth leaders who attended the ASEAN Youth Fellowship (AYF) recently in both Singapore and Indonesia.
The regional platform is designed to build a strong network between emerging young leaders from ASEAN member states and bring positive long-term impacts to their collective future.
From Oct. 29 to Nov. 4, the fellows from different ASEAN member states gathered in Singapore for the AYF’s fourth edition before flying to Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, from Nov. 2 to 4 for the second part of the meet-up. The gathering aimed to boost exchanges and opportunities for cross-border collaboration among the participants.
AYF 2022 was inspired by the theme of Cambodia’s ASEAN Chairmanship “ASEAN Addressing Challenges Together” and focused on joint ASEAN actions to overcome regional problems and uncertainties.
“In just a week, I have gained valuable insights into the pressing issues the region faces today: from food security to social inclusion. It was also inspiring to meet changemakers and organizations who are working hard to address various social issues,” said Tann Channarath, one of the three Cambodian fellows, who is a lecturer at the Institute for International Studies and Public Policy (IISPP) at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.
She added that the activities and learning journeys throughout the program allowed the attendees to build friendships and pushed them to think outside of the box on what they can do together to weather new challenges as one united region in this fast-changing world.
Another fellow, Chansambath Bong, deputy director at the Centre for Inclusive Digital Economy at the Asian Vision Institute said he is honored to represent his country for the 2022 AYF, as Cambodia is the ASEAN’s Chair this year.
“Despite our different backgrounds, we have a shared responsibility to build a socially resilient and future-ready ASEAN,” he said, adding that he’s looking forward to engaging in cross-border collaborations.
Likewise, Bora Kem, senior partner and director at Mekong Strategic Partners, said the AYF is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He enjoyed meeting with senior policymakers and industry experts in Singapore and Indonesia, who are making waves and creating positive social impact in their fields.
“It inspires me to reflect on what I can do to contribute to a better and more inclusive Cambodia and ASEAN in the years to come,” he said.
Jean Tan, the executive director of the Singapore International Foundation (SIF), said that AYF 2022 seeks to initiate conversations and explore solutions around some pressing issues faced today, from mental health and social resilience to food security, waste management, and diversity and inclusion.
From Oct. 29 to Nov. 4, the fellows from different ASEAN member states gathered in Singapore for the AYF’s fourth edition before flying to Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, from Nov. 2 to 4 for the second part of the meet-up. Photo provided
As outstanding leaders in their respective fields of work across the public, private, and people sectors, the fellows are well-placed and resourced to investigate these challenges and work together to make a difference, she said.
“The SIF, which focuses on international cooperation for development, stands ready to work with any AYF alumni to build a more sustainable ASEAN through community projects in education, healthcare, social entrepreneurship, and the arts,” she said.
Along with their fellow counterparts, the three Cambodians participated in a series of seminars, dialogues, and fireside chats that explored trends and innovations in the areas of social resilience, technology for good, mental health and wellbeing, and the role ASEAN youths can play in addressing challenges together to bring positive, long-term impact to their collective future.
During the long-week program, they had the opportunity to dialogue with senior policy-makers and prominent thought leaders from Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries.