ASEAN student leaders hold Philippine congress

The University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, and De La Salle University–all members of the ASEAN University Network (AUN)–hosted more than a hundred student leaders from the region for the 5th annual ASEAN Student Leaders Forum (ASLF) from October 24 to 26, 2016.

With the theme, “ASEAN, Our Home: Youth Engagement Toward a Shared Future,” students from the 30 AUN members discussed the concept of country and home, social involvement, and other common concerns. With student affairs administrators, they enumerated ways of institutionalizing action on what had been discussed.

Student leaders and student affairs administrators from the ASEAN University Network with UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan at the National Institute of Physics, National Science Complex, UP Diliman, Quezon City, October 26, 2016. Photo by Bong Arboleda.
Student leaders and student affairs administrators from the ASEAN University Network with UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan at the National Institute of Physics, National Science Complex, UP Diliman, Quezon City, October 26, 2016. Photo by Bong Arboleda.

During the first day at the Ateneo de Manila University, they held plenary and breakout sessions revolving around the theme. On the second day, they experienced community immersion at Manila sites that showcase university, student, and community cooperation projects, before transferring to De La Salle University.

In UP Diliman on the third day, the participants heard an inspirational talk from Chancellor Michael Tan, whose expertise as an anthropologist enabled him to point out interesting commonalities in ASEAN histories, language, and values, which the students could use as a springboard to promote ASEAN integration in their sector.

They also engaged with two youth leaders from UP: Percival Cendaña of the Philippine National Youth Commission and former president of the UP Student Council and pioneer advocate of the student LGBT movement; and Arizza Nocum, an Industrial Engineering graduate who leads KRIS Libraries and Scholarship, a peace and multicultural advocacy initiative.

14884606_1594667880556100_6788920616343575735_o-1024x575
Student leaders contextualize country and ASEAN during a breakout session at the Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, October 24, 2016. Photo by Bong Arboleda

Parallel to the student activities, workshops were held for heads of student affairs units of the AUN universities to strengthen theAUN-Student Affairs Network (SAN), support the ASLF, and address the concerns of students.

“This parallel cooperation is deliberately designed to ensure effective communication and cooperation among student leaders in ASEAN with collective support from university executives,” AUN Executive Director Nantana Gajaseni said in her message.

UP Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Richard Philip Gonzalo served as one of the country’s coordinators for ASLF and AUN-SAN. Helping the country coordinators were a group of student volunteers from the three Philippine AUN universities.

The ASLF aims to facilitate a networking of the ASEAN youth leaders to promote student leadership in the region, help it contribute collectively to regional affairs, and enhance ASEAN awareness and integration.

The next ASLF and AUN-Student Affairs Network (AUN-SAN) meeting will be hosted by Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh and Can Tho University, Vietnam.

See more photos from the event here: