2 GenSan youth leaders to visit Asean states, Japan as ‘ambassadors of goodwill’

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/14 August) – Two youth leaders from this city were chosen by the National Youth Commission (NYP) as among the country’s 28 “youth ambassadors of goodwill” who will join this year’s Ship for Southeast Asia Youth Program (SSEAYP).

Avelmar Manansala, city media affairs officer, said young professionals Meikko Jay Forones and Mae Ballena made it to the final list of the annual SSEAYP based on a competitive selection process conducted by NYC.

Forones, who is a resident of Barangay Calumpang, is currently a teacher at the Mindanao Polytechnic College here.

He was among the city’s “junior officials” in 2004 and topped the young professionals’ category in the 2011 General Santos City Youth Achievers Awards.

Ballena, who hails from Barangay Bula, presently works as technical staff at the provincial government of Sarangani.

“Forones and Ballena successfully passed through a series of competitive selection process and received orientation and training in diplomatic affairs, youth leadership and culture and the arts, among others, so that they may embody the best of the Philippines’ values, culture and vision during the SSEAYP program,” Manansala said in a statement.

He said they will also join the SSEAYP, which is slated on October 22 to December 14, as the country’s representatives from Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Citing a program briefer, Manansala said the two youth leaders will have the rare opportunity to interact with fellow international youth ambassadors from member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“They will have the opportunity to discuss relevant issues affecting the youth in the regional association and the world.  They will join courtesy calls with dignitaries, help showcase the country’s traditional culture and arts, and immerse with other cultures,” he noted.

SSEAYP, which is now on its 39th year, is mainly an initiative of the government of Japan and supported by ASEAN member-states.

As part of the program, the country’s 28 participants will join around 300 other representatives from other ASEAN countries in a cruise around the region aboard Japanese liner Fuji Maru.

They will specifically visit Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei and Japan as part of an exchange program aimed at fostering diplomacy, cultural understanding and cooperation between and among youth leaders in the ASEAN and Japan. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)