The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) successfully hosted the 2nd Virtual Youth Leaders in the Diaspora Program (YouLeaD) 2022 on September 24, 2022, 1:00 – 4:00 pm, Manila (GMT +8) via Zoom, drawing 160 youth participants from all over the world. The three-hour virtual event was simultaneously live streamed via CFO YouLeaD Facebook page and was attended by participants from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, US, Korea, Greece, Bahrain, China, Italy, Japan, Vietnam, Brunei, and the Philippines.

Usec. Macatoman delivering his welcoming remarks for the participants of the program

CFO Undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman formally commenced the event with opening remarks stressing YouLeaD’s commitment to creating an enabling environment where young people can confidently and independently voice their views and opinions in the decision-making processes. “We hope to equip you with the abilities necessary to make influential, meaningful, and substantial contributions to the world, empower you in working closely with various stakeholders, enable you in articulating your needs, and support you in developing modern strategies and interventions to improve your collective well-being as a youth,” said Usec. Macatoman. 

Project Officer Mayumi Peralta presenting the program’s history

Following Usec. Macatoman, Ms. Princess Mayumi Kaye Peralta, project officer of YouLeaD from the Project Management Division (PMD), provided a brief presentation on the program’s history and previous implementations to help participants become familiar with the program.

With a focus on Good Governance and Leadership, this quarter’s session featured resource persons with in-depth knowledge and proficiency in taking the lead in their respective organizations and explored the ways in which today’s youth may do the same in their own capacity.

Lord Pomperada giving a lecture on integrating contemporary leadership styles in decision-making processes

The first resource person, Mr. Lord Leomer Pomperada, Executive Director of the World Youth Alliance and one of the youngest recipients of the prestigious Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas (PAFIOO), delivered a lecture entitled “Calling the Right Shot: Integrating Contemporary Styles Of Leadership In Decision Making. In his segment, Mr. Lord graciously shared his lived experiences as a youth leader and the lessons he had learned from them. He began by tracing back his own path to becoming a student leader, which was paved by one peer who saw potential in him and encouraged him to run for a position in their school’s student council a testament that peers believing in you and their words of encouragement can make a difference and could awaken the leader in an individual. He then moved on to contextualize what was currently happening in the world by citing statistics on the most pressing issues—poverty, mental health, displacement, environmental issues, cybersecurity, nutrition and hunger, health, and literacy, then proceeded to discuss how the youth can be part of the solution that will alleviate these challenges. Three major points were discussed by Mr. Pomperada in integrating contemporary leadership styles in decision making: 1) Discover and commit to your why 2) Develop a growth mindset and embrace your failures, and 3) Friends are key to happiness. Shortly after his talk, a lively round of questions from the participants came; to which Mr. Pomperada enthusiastically responded. 

Joie Cruz defining social innovation

Miss Mary Joie Cruz, CEO of Limitless Lab, then introduced the design thinking process, a method for creating and innovating products, business models, and services that can be articulated in five steps: 1) Empathize, 2) Define, 3)  Ideate, 4) Prototype, and 5) Test. Ms. Cruz also underscored the need for this approach to constantly be people-centered in order to generate creative solutions that will favor social progress and address the needs of the people. 

Participants answering Ms. Joie’s question, “”How might we inspire Filipino Youth Overseas to contribute to Philippine nation building?”

Ms. Joie engaged the participants by posing the question, “How might we inspire Filipino Youth Overseas to contribute to Philippine nation building?,” to which the participants eloquently and empathetically answered via an interactive platform.

Some of the participants wrote,

 “By empowering the youth. Although we are still young and supple, by encouraging them that they, too, have the power like adults to instigate change, we, as a whole, will have the braveness to step out of our comfort zone.” 

“One way we could encourage the Filipino youth overseas is definitely through constant advertising, igniting the idea in their minds that they are able to make a change no matter [how] small.”

“Show them tools that [are] easily accessible to them so that they are likely to make more steps for their own aspirations.”

Carlson Casenas recollecting his previous experience as former YouLeaD participant

Finally, Mr. Carlson Casenas, YouLeaD-PSO alumni, then recalled his experience as a former participant and a youth who grew up in a multicultural society. He also imparted relatable lessons from his experiences as a student, particularly his struggles with procrastination 

PMD Director Marita closing the event with a hopeful and motivational message for the participants

Director Marita Del Rosario-Apattad of PMD formally concluded the event by expressing her hope that the lessons learned will result in meaningful actions. “We pray that you use this new knowledge in threading unfamiliar paths you will take, and take the cudgels for making positive changes in your schools, organizations and communities,” said Director Marita.