International Youth Online Conference #Philippines

“The Role of Youth: Moving Through and Beyond COVID-19 Crisis” International Youth Online Conference was organized by IAYSP Philippines.

The world is in shock by reason of the unprecedented outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Worldwide events were canceled due to social distancing and mass gathering prohibitive policies, to prevent the spreading of the virus. Initiatives are ensuring the safety and solidarity of humanity despite diversities. Online platforms are taking action through different organizations to continue their activities.

Questions are emerging on how the youth can contribute towards alleviating issues caused by the COVID-19 virus. On May 22, 2020, the International Association of Youth and Students for Peace (IAYSP) Philippines organized an International Youth Online Conference with a theme, “The Role of Youth: Moving Through and Beyond COVID-19 Crisis” – participated by twenty-two countries such as: America, Czech Republic, Brazil, Congo, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Pakistan, Ghana, Bolivia, Nepal, Indonesia, Malaysia, Ghana, Hong Kong, and Japan.

The event was participated by three hundred thirteen participants who are eager to adopt new ideas and concepts on how youth can overcome the challenges caused by the pandemic. Panelist coming from abroad and speakers of the host nation all brought their unique and exceptional insights. The moderator, Mr. Ronnie Sodusta – Director of HJ Youth Leadership Training International – gave an energetic speech. President of International Association of Youth and Students for Peace, Mr. Koji Matsuda delivered a welcome message and affirmed that, “We have to empower the youth to become global leaders and we should not let the youth stop the service because of the pandemic”, and explained the four core values of IAYSP.

In addition, Ms. Lynrose Jane D. Genon, Member, Executive Committee of Young Women and Leadership Program Philippines, shared on the types of questions youth should be asking and finding answers towards in this time of crisis: What does our community needs, what do we have in terms of resources, and who do we have.” Along with the panelists included Ms. Jhayee Ilao, Secretary-General of Millennial’s PH., and Community Development Student at University of the Philippines Diliman. She said, As a community development student, I am confident that each community has the capability to sustain and recover in this pandemic. They need to see their potentials”. Ms. Ilao is an advocate of mental health and advised that depression is not an abnormality. Therefore, youth must feel confident in validating what and how they feel and regulate their situation.

On the other hand, Mr. Mirus Ponon, Founder and President of Youth Advocates for the Philippines, is a nineteen year-old advocate who exerts his passion for empowering young people towards sustainability. “No one is left behind” he said. Mr. Ponon shared his organization activities; webinar for mental health, online social hub, online fundraising, and community outreach activities.

Moreover, a panelist from Singapore, Mr. Lucas Nghi Luc Tran – a Tech and Lifestyle Vlogger, Marketing Specialist – shared his personal experiences on how to cope with the pandemic. He ascerted, “We need to use our time wisely”. Mr. Lucas expressed his advice that the youth of today must identify what brings them happiness.

Participants asked questions to the panelists on effective ideas and practices they can assume during the pandemic. The panelists expressed their ideas with a focus on social media: finding online courses and support groups, and creating videos as an expression of passion.

The International President of IAYSP gave a final message, “We should develop our character by practicing the four core values of IAYSP: “RISE” which stands for Responsibility, Integrity, Service, and Empathy; as we seek true happiness and preparation in creating a happy and loving family. Youth and students must have a dream and vision in order for youth to succeed”.