“MI is vested in youth empowerment. This is because young people are catalysts for change. By investing in the youth through capacity building, it will lead the way to a better future.”

This was the strong message conveyed by Ms. Jian (Tina) Wang, Program Manager, Sustainable Energy and Environment Department, Mekong Institute (MI), in the ASEAN YOUTH CONFERENCE (AYC) 2022’s Panel Discussion on the topic of “Youth’s Role in ASEAN Development” on October 7, 2022, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

As one of the panelists, she talked about the paramount significance of youth empowerment through capacity building activities and provided an overview of projects, programs and initiatives which have been implemented by MI. Some examples are:

  • Young GMS Professional Program: To provide training and hands-on experience to young riparian professionals of MI’s national partners in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) in facilitating human resource development in the context of GMS Regional Development and Cooperation
  • GMS Youth Camp on Transnational Production Chains: To promote farming systems management and endeavors to create a knowledge-sharing network among agricultural universities in the GMS countries
  • Mekong Institute New Zealand Ambassador’s Scholarship: To provide thesis research grants to the master’s degree students as well as coaching
  • Mekong Institute Young Scholars (MIYS) Program: To offer professionals from Lancang-Mekong countries a structured learning opportunity and hands-on experience in regional development and cooperation work by serving as project staff at MI

By participating in these activities, the young generation can assume the roles of beneficiaries, knowledge holders, partners or even leaders in their own ways.

Joining the 60-minute panel discussion were Ms. Nurul Azwa Rodzi, Selangor Youth Community and Ms. Alouny Senduangdeth, Country Director of AYO Laos. Mr. Michael Nugraha Budiarto, Vice President of External Affairs, AYO, moderated the panel discussion. The session aimed to raise awareness of the trends, best practices, challenges and opportunities of meaningful youth participation and engagement in the development of the Southeast Asian region.

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