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Youth leaders tackle climate change at Model ASEAN

ASEAN student delegates meet at the 3rd ASEAN Foundation Model ASEAN Meeting (AFMAM). [ASEAN Foundation]

MANIL Head of Aide Stephen Weaver explains how the ASEAN Foundation Model ASEAN Meeting (AFMAM) aligns with the Government of Canada’s priority to tackle climate change. [ASEAN Foundation]

Team members from the University of Indonesia, winners of the best delegation award pose with Canada’s Mission to ASEAN FPDS team.

The impacts of climate change are becoming a reality for many Southeast Asians, as the region is highly vulnerable to rising sea levels, severe storms, and droughts.   

This year’s third Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foundation Model ASEAN Meeting (AFMAM) focused on the migration of people caused by climate change and natural disasters. The recent Rohingya refugee crisis has put issues of migration into the forefront of minds across the region.

Over 80 student delegates from across Southeast Asia came together to find solutions for the displacement of their communities due to global climate change.  

Student delegates from ten ASEAN member states gathered at De La Salle University in Manila to learn from other delegates, engage in dialogue on pressing issues, and share experiences. 

Canada was proud to empower the passionate youth at this conference. At the opening ceremonies, Head of Cooperation, Stephen Weaver, from the Embassy of Canada to the Philippines, shared the recently launched Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development (SEED) project.

Future Leaders

Through a competitive selection process, student delegates were chosen to participate in an intense six-day conference. The delegates had the opportunity to role-play as diplomats in a multilateral setting as they learned about ASEAN diplomacy and raised awareness on the effects of climate change.

“This program is useful not only for me but to other fellow delegates. It gave me an opportunity to broaden our knowledge and understanding on how ASEAN meetings are conducted. We were also able to meet delegates from the other nine ASEAN countries where we shared and exchanged our cultures and similarities about our countries.”

Jessica Zureen Tuah, 23, University of Technology Brunei, Brunei Darussalam

AFMAM encourages young people’s interest in Southeast Asian diplomacy and understanding of negotiation, public speaking, problem-solving, research, and communication through teamwork and leadership.

Building connections

During the simulation and role-playing exercises, student delegates represented different countries in order to experience and appreciate diverse perspectives from across the region.

Students bonded with delegates from other countries both during and outside of the conference. The Indonesian team members received the award for best delegation because of their ability to build connections with their fellow ASEAN members.

“I aim to improve the awareness of ASEAN and my new knowledge of ASEAN’s vision, objectives, structure and processes, in my country.”

Dechkum Chhay, 19, Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia, Cambodia

The full program consisted of a two-day Coaching Workshop on ASEAN, a one-day field trip to the League of Corporate Foundations, and a three-day Simulation of ASEAN Meetings.

Canada supported the conference through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, which funds small projects developed and implemented by local organizations in developing countries around the world.

The Mission of Canada to the ASEAN will continue to support local efforts that empower youth to build connections, tackle regional challenges, and become leaders in their communities.

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