By Loren De Guzman
Now that we are battling a global pandemic that hinders mobility and access to various places, Global Peace Foundation Philippines alongside Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation hosted its very first webinar last July via Zoom and streamed live on Facebook.
The program tackled the importance of societal and institutional cooperation with the help of distinguished speakers from different sectors of society.
GPF Asia-Pacific Regional Director Jinsoo Kim opened up the program by highlighting the importance of moral and innovative leadership. He mentioned the need for leaders who are proactive and selfless especially in times like this.
Rina Lopez-Bautista, co-founder, president, and executive director of Knowledge Channel Foundation believed that the shift in the education system is inevitable, however, with the help of online and offline educational materials, youth can cope and can still continue learning despite the challenges we are currently facing.
It is important, especially for younger kids, to focus on learning with their family and friends, encouraging them to do that. Teachers and adults have the responsibility to make our youth interested in learning so they can engage themselves in educational content.
Aside from unity within our circle, local and international partnerships are vital. Bautista emphasized that we should work together, pulling in the same direction with no hidden agenda and rather with only the common good in mind.
One of the seed grant’s 2019 winners represented the group on the forum. A student leader from Mindanao State University-Marawi, Nairah M. Tambie shared her conviction that the youth have a responsibility in peacebuilding and that we can do something about our situation right now. She also mentioned that the youth can propose projects and programs for development as contributions to society. If not, utilizing virtual training online and actively inviting youth leaders to keep joining webinars and trainings online are other ways to be involved. Youth can also engage in digital volunteerism like having online donation drives and coordinating with LGUs and NGOs around the area.
Richard Heydarian, a well-known political analyst, writer, and columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and host for GMA News mentioned that, right now, we are facing uncertainty. It is important for youth to focus on mental health and mental resilience. We need to create a strong institution forged by unity and equity.
He added during the question and answer portion that the youth are not mobilized and still a non-dominant majority—a silent majority. We have to get rid ourselves of the idea that youth is incompetent since they’re inexperienced. We need dynamic leaders who are willing to delegate tasks and make use of the available big data. He believes that the future is now and the youth should take charge.
As a closing message, Emma Ignacio, communications and advocacy manager of Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation, shared their foundation’s vision which is to ignite hope for people, especially the youth. She emphasized the need of giving other people the most out of all their opportunities and finding solutions to pressing issues with the help of local and international benchmarking.
Furthermore, she mentioned that if we want to live in a world of peace and full of love, we need safe space heroes who will advocate this.
Tristan Nodalo, news correspondent of CNN Philippines served as the moderator for this webinar.
Most of the attendees are between 18-24 years old and are currently residing on the island of Luzon.