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YSEALI-Bicol Hub hosts Bicolano YOUth Conference 2023

By Pearly A. Esperida

IN honor of the 10th anniversary of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), the YSEALI-Bicol Hub, in collaboration with the University of Nueva Caceres orchestrated the Bicolano YOUth Conference 2023 on December 4, 2023.

The conference, attended by over 70 Bicolano youth leaders, featured enlightening sessions on networking, mentoring, and engaging panel discussions with YSEALI alumni. The first session, titled “Youth in Heritage,” spotlighted the vital role of youth in preserving heritage, led by Juan Paolo Suzara, curator at UNC Museum.

Following this, the opening program welcomed representatives from the US Embassy, further enhancing the event’s significance. Dr. Fay Patria Lauraya, UNC President, expressed gratitude to guests, speakers, and youth leaders, acknowledging the organizers for fostering regional partnerships.

NEVER TOO YOUNG TO LEAD. Participants, guests, speakers, and partners flash the youth sign, sending the message that it’s never too young to lead after the Bicolano YOUth Conference 2023 was held on December 4, 2023. Photo courtesy of the University of Nueva Caceres.

Naga City councilor, Atty. Ghiel Rosales, conveyed the city government’s support for the conference, praising the unity demonstrated by the youth in pursuing common goals. Ms. Jennifer Goldstein, a US Embassy representative, delivered an inspiring message, emphasizing the youth’s power to amplify their voices and create lasting impacts.

A compelling panel discussion ensued, featuring Senior Youth Development Officer Emil Tapnio, Executive Director Ray-an Cedrick Rentoy, Development Consultant Ms. Kimberly Ante, and Naga City SK Federation President Jefson Felix. They shared experiences and advocated for joining YSEALI programs, encouraging participants to contribute meaningfully to their communities.

The event concluded with a museum tour and an awarding ceremony recognizing contributors. The YSEALI Bicol Hub acknowledged the support of various entities, including the University of Nueva Caceres, UNC Office of Student Affairs, The Democrat, iKliventure Gift and Souvenir, Squarefoot Graphics & Ads, and Kabutehan para sa Kabuhayan at Kalusugan.

A gallery walk exhibit showcased the impactful work of local organizations, illustrating how Bicolano youth actively contribute to their communities. Following the conference, US Embassy representatives engaged in discussions with Sangguniang Kabataan members of Naga City and community leaders, fostering further collaboration and inspiration.

LEAD TO SHARE. Luis Magdamit, SK Federation chairperson from Brgy. Dalupaon in Pasacao town (Camarines Sur) asks the panelists for some advice that they can share when applying to any YSEALI programs during the question-and-answer portion conducted after the panel discussion. Photo courtesy of the Democrat.

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