The experience of the writer during one of the international programs of the National Youth Commission with other ASEAN and Japanese delegates in Tokyo (JENESYS 2017 Batch 2)

Would you be interested in joining a youth government or going abroad as a delegate? Well, the National Youth Commission (NYC) offers various exciting opportunities for the Filipino youth. On the local level, you could directly participate in local governance in a council filled with young people in barangays or participate in a convention filled with young leaders from around the Philippines. On the other hand, you could also be given the opportunity to be sent to international programs in Asia and even in Europe and South America, as well. The National Youth Commission believes in empowering the Filipino youth through leadership and service. In these opportunities and programs, you could meet interesting people from different backgrounds, do different fun activities, and be of service to your country as well. In fact, joining such programs would be a good addition to your resume. Let’s check out what the NYC has to offer?

Local Programs

Participating in local programs and activities

There are various local programs and activities that would allow one to volunteer and learn valuable skills in leadership. For instance, there is the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), along with the Katipunan ng Kabataan (KK), which allows members of the youth aged 15-17 to join a council that helps in local politics and youth programs. In this program, one can learn about governance and youth empowerment in the local barangay level. On the other hand, there is also the annual National Youth Parliament convention, wherein delegates from all over the Philippines are given the opportunity to voice their national and youth concerns. These delegates, representing different localities, give recommendations for government policy formation and program development. In such, programs, members of the youth are encouraged to actively participate in programs, projects and activities that will benefit the youth and raise awareness on certain issues. Aside from these programs, one can also join other youth organizations affiliated with the National Youth Commission (found on their website) and volunteer in nation-building, charity, relief and awareness activities and campaigns. These projects include #NowPH – Youth in Climate Action, Task Force Bangon Marawi, etc. For more information about these programs, you can check out the Facebook page or Twitter account of the National Youth Commission or their website.

International Programs

Volunteer program in Kitakyushu (JENESYS 2017 Batch 2 Japan-ASEAN Student Conference)

There are even international programs, in which one can participate in, with free accommodation and travel provided by the National Youth Commission. Such international opportunities give students the opportunity to become student leaders and delegates representing the Philippines. In such forums and volunteer programs, one can meet other delegates from different backgrounds and form multicultural exchanges and friendships. They also get to be immersed in the culture of the host country in a week-long or a two-week-long program. In some cases, they may even spend almost half a year in an international program. There are various programs that one can participate in.

Southeast Asian Programs

There are international engagements that take place in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, which you can apply for and take part in. There are various types of conferences and forums based on different fields, topics and subjects. These include: the ASEAN Conference on Social Entrepreneurship, the ASEAN + 3 Eco – Tourism Event on Youth, the ASEAN Youth Workshop on Social Entrepreneurs, the ASEAN Youth Forum on Social Innovation for Sustainable Development Goals, ASEAN Youth Representatives in Experiencing the Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy in Thailand, International Youth Educational and Cultural Festival in Cambodia, ASEAN Youth Expo, ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation Regional Youth Conference on Peace and Tolerance: Building Unity and Common Understanding in Countering Intolerance and Violent Extremism, and the ASEAN Youth Interfaith Camp. In such forums, you get to meet various participants from different Southeast Asian countries and discuss advocacies and plans that will be in line with ASEAN goals and the objectives.

East Asian Programs

There are international programs that take place in the East Asian countries of China (along with Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan), Japan and South Korea. These aim on building international cooperation, mutual trust, understanding and exchanges between Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other Asian delegates and participants in several exchange programs. These programs encourage an understanding of the host countries’ economics, society, history, diverse culture, politics and diplomatic relations. There are various types of conferences and forums based on different fields, topics and subjects. These include the Ship for Southeast Asian and Japanese Youth Program, the Japan East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youth, the Asian Youth Development Program in Okinawa, the Asian International Children’s Film Festival in Japan, the ASEAN – Korea Future Oriented Youth Exchange Program, the ASEAN – Korea Frontier Forum, the Youth Camp Asia’s Future Korea, the Philippine – Korea Bilateral Youth Exchange, the Program Development and Operation Enhancement for Teenager Policies and Activities in South Korea, the K-Beauty Vocational Training for ASEAN Young Women, the ASEAN – China Youth Exchange, the ASEAN – China Youth Summer Camp, and the ASEAN Youth Leaders Training Program in China.

South Asian Programs

There are international programs that take place in the South Asian countries of India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Bhutan. These aim on building international cooperation, mutual trust, understanding and exchanges between South Asian and other Asian delegates and participants in several exchange programs. These programs encourage an understanding of the host countries’ economics, society, history, diverse culture, politics and diplomatic relations. Such programs include the ASEAN – India Student Exchange Program, the International Summer School New Delhi, the ASEAN – INDIA Students Exchange Program, The Leadership Program of Young Leaders for the ASEAN Countries and India, and the “Yowun Pura – City of Youth” Leadership and Outward Bound National Programme in Sri Lanka.

Outside Asia

You can even go outside Asia in certain programs (to Europe or South America). However, such programs are rare and can be very competitive (only one delegate may be chosen to represent the Philippines). In Europe, an example of one of the programs is the EU – ASEAN Young Leaders Forum, which aims to discuss further relations and understanding between the EU and ASEAN. Such programs and forums focus on political and security issues, economy, trade, business exchanges, etc. In South America, such programs include the Visit of Filipino Leaders in Cambodia program.

Application Tips, Eligibility and Process

The youth are the future leaders who can make a change

Whenever the National Youth Commission posts an announcement and a call for applications, read the instructions properly. You need to be a Philippine citizen and you need to also check if you are eligible (age-wise) for the program (e.g. 18-34 years old). Furthermore, you should be a Philippine passport holder, mentally and physically fit to travel, be able to communicate fluently in English, and in terms of educational background, currently in vocational school, senior high school, undergraduate, graduate or postgraduate studies. You must have a relevant background for certain programs (e.g. BA Journalism background for a JENESYS conference on journalism). In relation to the submission of requirements, it is preferred that you submit online requirements: accomplished application forms, an essay about why you chose that program, a copy certifying that you are a student, and a copy of a valid passport.

Here in AHEAD, we believe that students can reach for various opportunities that can allow them to hone their leadership skills and what they have learned in their studies. Such opportunities and programs would greatly help in students’ learning and, at the same time, help them broaden their view of the world. With the initiatives of the National Youth Commission, students can help in nation-building, volunteerism and promote multicultural exchanges. We wish the best of luck to interested students who will engage in such wonderful opportunities.

You may check the National Youth Commission for announcements regarding these programs. You can check their Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/nationalyouthcommission), Twitter page (http://twitter.com/NYCPilipinas) or their website (http://nyc.gov.ph/) for inquiries and more information.