Asia Society and the ASEAN Astronaut
by: Harvey S. Keh
The Manila Times
TWO months ago, I was appointed as acting Executive Director of the Asia Society here in the Philippines.
The Asia Society is based in New York and has been one of the world’s leading international organizations that helps promote understanding between the leaders and peoples of the United States of America and Asia. It was at the Asia Society where US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered the Obama administration’s foreign policy with regard to dealing with countries in Asia. Closer to home, it was at the Asia Society where the late Senator Ninoy Aquino said the famous line, “The Filipino is worth dying for.”
Here in the Philippines, the Asia Society is led by well-known business leaders and philanthropists such as Washington Sycip and Doris Magsaysay-Ho. One of the main programs of the Asia Society is its Asia 21 Young Leaders initiative which gathers the top 200 young leaders aged between 25-40 years old from different sectors across Asia for an annual leadership summit that allows them to interact and establish important networks with each other. Through this event, the Asia Society hopes that when the time comes for these young leaders to become the main prime movers of their countries they will have an easier time to establish stronger relationship between their countries given that they had met each other early in their leadership careers.
Asia 21-Philippines Young Leaders Initiative
As part of the Asia 21 initiative, the Asia Society here in the Philippines is now in the process of selecting 10 young Filipino leaders who will represent our country at the upcoming Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit in New Delhi, India, this coming November. Prior to going to India, the chosen 10 will undergo a two-day leadership forum here in Manila so that they can have the chance to meet their fellow delegates and at the same time get to know what each other’s advocacies are. Some of the young leaders that have recently represented our nation include Mark Ruiz of Hapinoy, Ching Jorge of Bato Balani Foundation, Major Dennis Eclarin of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Ariel Hernandez of Balay Mindanao Foundation, Enrique Gonzalez of IPVG, Martin Lopez of Far Eastern University and Mayor Jeng Reyes of Alicia, Isabela.
First Asean Astronaut visits Manila
Aside from promoting understanding between young leaders across the Asia-Pacific region, one of the main programs of the Asia Society here in the Philippines is also the development of a stronger relationship between Asian nations. Last month, as part of my duties as Executive Director, I paid a courtesy call to the Ambassador of Malaysia here in the Philippines, Dato Seri Dr. Ibrahim Saad. During the meeting, the Ambassador said that he was very interested in helping the Asia Society and that he would like to be our partner when the embassy brings the first and only astronaut from the Asean region, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, here.
The astronaut or should I say, the cosmonaut (since he went to space through the Russian space program in October 2007 aboard the space shuttle Soyuz TMA-11) will be visiting and talking to students at Far Eastern University and Ateneo de Manila University. Aside from this, he will also visit the Science Discovery Center at the SM Mall of Asia and the Quezon City Science Interactive Center. This is one of the projects that the Asia Society has launched to help Filipinos to better understand our Asean neighbors. It is a pity that many of us actually know more about the United States of America even if it is several thousand miles away compared with our Asean neighbors such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia. If you would like to learn more about the Asia Society and its other programs, you can contact Nashey Cordero at (02) 752-4374.
Little Amadeus on Studio 23
On another topic altogether, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Studio 23 is airing a very educational animated series entitled, Little Amadeus. The series tells of the fictional story of a young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his adventures revolving around his family, friends and performances.
The stories usually involve the intrigues of his rival, Devilius, who along with a talking rat, Monti, attempts to discredit or upstage the Mozarts in the eyes of various nobles. I hope parents would encourage their children to watch more programs like this instead of our many other TV programs these days that actually teach wrong values to our youth.
Teachers can also use this program to encourage their students to play music actively and to also learn about the inspiring life of Mozart. Little Amadeus airs every Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
Comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Asia Society is the leading global and pan-Asian organization working to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders, and institutions of the United States and Asia. We seek to increase knowledge and enhance dialogue, encourage creative expression, and generate new ideas across the fields of arts and culture, policy and business, and education.
As part of its effort to build relationships among leaders across the Asia-Pacific region, the Asia Society has organized the Asia 21-Philippines Young Leaders Initiative on its sixth year. The Initiative has a goal to build a community of young, dynamic Filipino leaders from a cross section of our society. Nominated and selected yearly by a Board of Advisors, these eight to ten young leaders from various sectors – business, politics, civil society, military, government, media, arts & culture, and the academe – join a larger community selected from the Asia Pacific Region, under a program called the Asia 21 Young Leaders Initiative. Asia 21 gathers about 220 young leaders from the Asia-Pacific to meet, educate, and inspire each other; collaborate and share ideas on public service and other meaningful initiatives, and build relationships of trust and understanding, that will guide the peaceful and optimal unfolding of this Asia Pacific century.
Over the corner of 10 years, from 2006 to 2015, the Philippines 21 Young Leaders Initiative aims to identify 100 of the country’s top young leaders between the ages of 25 and 40 to represent the country to the annual Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit. This year’s Summit will be held in New Delhi, India sometime in November.
Nomination forms can be downloaded at
Deadline for nominations is on May 31, 2011.
Please send your nominations via fax to (632) 7524374 or via email to email@example.com
Asia Society’s Philippines 21 Young Leaders Initiative Class of 2010
The Asia Society is based in New York and is the world’s leading international organization in fostering understanding between the peoples and leaders of the United States of America and Asia. For more information about their programs, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . The Philippines 21 Young Leaders initiative is an annual program that aims to select the most promising young leaders of the Philippines to become representatives of the Philippines in the annual Asia 21 Young Leaders Forum which gathers the most promising leaders of Asia. Here are the members of the Philippines 21 Class of 2010:
Regina Irene Gaza (NCR)Managing Director, Business Fair Trade Consulting
Business, Fair Trade
Regina provides business development and fair trade consulting for small enterprises, institutions, and organizations. Her own business enterprise, Atiseret Haus of Bakery Products, served as a resource for the entrepreneurship module of Hands On Manila’s Galing Mo Kid Program. Regina is concurrently president of Kabahaginan Foundation, a volunteer organization for returned volunteer-members of VSO Bahaginan; she spent two years as a volunteer-consultant to vocational schools in Kenya.
Therese Clarence Fernandez (NCR)
President, Rags2Riches, Inc.
Business, Social Entrepreneurship
As President of the eco-ethical accessories brand Rags2Riches, Reese was responsible for the 300% increase in sales from 2007-2008 and the establishment of innovative partnerships with local designers and institutions. She previously worked with Ashoka Youth Venture and Ateneo School of Government’s Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship program. Reese was a YouthActionNet Global Fellow for 2008, Paragon 100 Fellow for 2009 and was recently selected as part of the inaugural batch of the Rolex Young Laureates.
Maria Concepcion Hernandez
Councilor, Lipa City
Recently re-elected for her second term as councilor of Lipa City, Concon chairs the city council’s Committee on Women and Family and Committee on Information Technology. She remains active with local civic organizations JCI and Rotary Club, and is a director of the National Movement of Young Legislators. An accomplished youth leader, she is an alumni of the Ayala Young Leaders, Bayer Young Environmental Envoy, and Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines programs.
Dr. Bryan Albert Lim (NCR)
Medical Doctor (Internal Medicine), UP-Philippine General Hospital
Bryan’s healthcare advocacy goes beyond his duties as a doctor. He heads the Department of Internal Medicine’s study group on Universal Healthcare, which aims to develop a website database for patient education, continuing medical education, and medical case profiles. He spearheaded the Quisumbing-Escandor Film Festival for Health, a nationwide film competition that seeks to highlight the impact of social, cultural and political factors on the current state of healthcare; winning films are screened in communities and schools as part of a health awareness campaign. He also co-organized the Health Young Leaders’ Congress, which brings together upcoming leaders in the health sector.
John Piermont Montilla (Iloilo)
President and CEO, Kabataang Gabay sa Positibong Pamumuhay
Non-Profit/Civil Society, Reproductive Health
Johnpierre is known for his reproductive health and rights advocacy, particularly his work on HIV/AIDS and highly exploitative risk environments. His organization’s HEART art therapy program of children with HIV/AIDS has been recognized by the National Youth Commission (TAYO Awards), Coca Cola Foundation (Coke Barkada Award) and Starbucks (International Entrepreneur Fund). Johnpierre’s prominent regional engagements include serving as YouthActionNet Ambassador of the International Youth Foundation, Peace Ambassador of the World Youth Peace Summit, and a Young Leaders in Governance Fellow of the UN Democracy Fund.
Jed Christian Sayre (Misamis Oriental)
Councilor, Municipality of Libertad
Prior to assuming his post as municipal councilor of Libertad, 22-year old Jed served as president of the Association of Locally Empowered Youth-Northern Mindanao, which counts among its projects the development of two “living museums” and the promotion of ecological sanitation, home gardening and local livelhoods. He also served as executive director of Tuburan Para Libertad Foundation, Inc., a micro-financing outfit for local ventures. His projects have received grants from Idea Wild, USA and the Japan Fund for Water. He was recognized as a 2009 Paragon 100 Fellow by the Foundation for Youth Social Entrepreneurship.
Jason Roy Sibug (NCR)
National President, Tuklas Katutubo
Non-Profit/Civil Society, Human Rights-Indigenous Peoples (IP)
A member of the Manobo tribe, Jason heads the first ever national organization of young tribal leaders in the Philippines. He has organized various IP Youth Summits and facilitated the Balik Tribo program, which provides skills training and capacity building for IP Youth. He also trains IP teachers in indigenizing the curriculum of day care centers and elementary schools. During his presidency, Tuklas Katutubo was named one of the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO Awards). Jason was featured in the ASEAN publication, Young Southeast Asia.
Cecilia Claire Reyes (Isabela)
Mayor, Municipality of Alicia
Jeng is the youngest person and first woman to be elected mayor of Alicia, Isabela. She previously served one term as Board Member of the 3rd District of Isabela, and 2 terms as municipal councilor of Alicia (garnering the highest number of votes for both elections). Her legislative agenda focuses on women and children. Since 2008, Jeng has served as national president of the National Movement of Young Legislators. She has also represented the country in the Ship for Southeast Asia Youth Program and Pan-Pacific Youth Exchange Program.
Erika Tatad (NCR)
Director of Operations, Microventures, Inc.
Business, Social Enterprise
As Director of Operations for Microventures, Erika oversees operations of the Hapinoy Sari-Sari Store Program, comprised of 152 stores in Southern Luzon. She was previously founding Director of Asia Pacific of the World Youth Alliance, a global youth organization accredited by the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Other civic activities include serving as partnership coordinator of Gawad Kalinga and founding director of Saranggola Foundation, an NGO that supports literacy programs and scholarships in selected public schools.
Mark Anthony Yu (NCR)
Chief Financial Officer, Seaoil Philippines, Inc.
As CFO of Seaoil Philippines, Mark has spearheaded the company’s cumulative annual growth rate of 63% He is currently president-elect of the Entrepreneurs Organization and serves on the advisory board of the Ateneo and La Salle business and management schools. He also recently chaired the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines’ Voter Education and Transformation Committee, and launched the Empower 8,000,000 voter education program. Mark is founder and chair of Enspire Foundation, a Canadian non-profit organization whose main project is the relocation of squatter communities from Navotas to Bulacan; for this, he was recognized by the Canadian Embassy with the inaugural Spirit of Canada Award.