Young dynamism of the APEC future

Update: 11:04 | 15/11/2017
APEC 2017 Voices of the Future (VOF), which takes place during the APEC Economic Leader’s Week in Da Nang, is an opportunity for delegates of youth from the APEC member economies to share experience and contribute their voices to the development and shared prosperity of each economy and the region in the future.
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According to the experts, organizers of VOF 2017, the world has been facing various global issues, which requires everyone to give hands and work together. In addition, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is having tremendous impacts on a global scale, creating remarkable growth opportunities as well as challenges that require drastic changes in mindset and creativity. In that context, it can be said that the future of the world strongly depends on the younger generations - who possess knowledge, vibrant energy and unlimited creativity.

Voices of the youth to the future

young dynamism of the apec future
This year's VOF program attracted more than 120 participants from the APEC member economies. (Photo: APEC)

This year's VOF program attracted more than 120 participants from the APEC member economies. In general, young delegates believed this is an opportunity to express themselves and raise the voices of youth to the economy’s future amid extensive international integration.

Maurice Lennon Ondoy, a Filipino youth delegate, shared with The World & Vietnam Report that he is very interested in the policies of trade promotion and market development for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as he is working in the field of business consultancy.

"Attending this event, I would like to study how other economies support MSMEs, thereby collecting the most valuable lessons for the Philippines",  Maurice said. From his point of view, the highlight from VOF this year is that youth delegates will have the chance to discuss with APEC senior experts about policy making as well as solutions to many regional and global issues.

Meanwhile, delegate Le Huy Tung from Viet Nam’s delegation expresses his pride and honor to be one of 10 young people selected by the Ho Chi Minh Youth Union to attend VOF 2017. He conveys that VOF is a basis for young people, creating a momentum to boost their development in the future. The delegate also expressed his interest in start-ups as he believes this will be a promising career path for young people in Viet Nam nowadays.

VOF Forum was first held in Malaysia in 1998. Since 2004, this event has been included in APEC Economic Leaders' Week, hosted by Singapore-based International Secretariat VOF, in coordination with APEC hosts.

VOF 2017 focuses on two priorities: (i) Promoting sustainable, creative and inclusive growth; (ii) Young people actively contributing to creating new initiatives and together shaping the future of Asia-Pacific region.

Participants discussed in four groups: (i) Youth’s contribution to APEC vision towards 2020 and the future; (ii) Economic, financial and social integration; (iii) Human resources development in the digital age; (iv) Policies to support start-ups, innovation, and small and medium enterprises.

With a bold idea, 26-year-old delegate Nguyen Phu Quy, founder of QDigital Start-up Company, said the Vietnamese delegation would discuss and propose the establishment of a joint portal connecting all youth in the Asia-Pacific region. Through this portal, young people could exchange their ideas from start-up to economic development.

To create genuine bonds

James Soh, co-chair of VOF's Board of Directors, believes that young people’s creativity and energy will be the driving force for the future of each economy. As the world becomes more and more connected, the future of the APEC member economies will be intertwined.

According to Soh, VOF 2017 is an opportunity for youth delegates to better understand APEC's activities via the interaction and engagement activities of APEC’s economic Leaders, ministers and heads of enterprises. Moreover, VOF is a chance for young people to broaden social and professional network. "After all, the world is connected by the power of friendship and the genuine bond of man", Mr. Soh shared.

VOF organizers note that, apart from the development opportunities, the economies and the regions are facing tangled and multi-aspect challenges, especially since the global financial crisis. Geopolitical competition, terrorism, transnational crime, cybersecurity, inequality, poverty, disease and climate change… all cause negative impacts on economic growth as well as on sustainable and inclusive prosperity.

Therefore, Nguyen Long Hai, Secretary of the Party Central Executive Committee, Vice Chairman of the National Youth Committee, states at VOF this time that the youth delegates have actively participated in the discussion about the content, programs, action plans, and proposed initiatives and solutions to promote APEC youth cooperation.

Furthermore, Noeleen Heyzer, former United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), also gave young people a steer. "Young people need to be equipped with technological skills to take advantage of the current world situation. In addition, they need a start-up spirit, contributing to the benefits for not only themselves but the entire society".

Creating student exchange mechanism in the region

Universities in the Asia-Pacific region are focusing on addressing challenges in the region; promoting employment opportunities in the era of digital economy and artificial intelligence.

Within the framework of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in Da Nang, the Ministry of Education and Training, in collaboration with the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) and the Subcommittees of the APEC National Committee 2017, has hosted the APEC University Leaders’ Forum.

This Forum is a sideline activity of the APEC CEO Summit with the theme of “Industrial Revolution 4.0”. This topic is selected as the development of quality human resources is one of the APEC Year 2017 priorities and of interest to all APEC member economies in general.

More than 60 principals of the leading universities in the APEC economies have participated in the Forum, including five leading Vietnamese universities, namely: Ha Noi National University, Ho Chi Minh City National University, Da Nang University, Hanoi University of Technology and National Economics University. Many policy makers and some business leaders also have attended the event.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Deputy Minister of Education and Training of Viet Nam Nguyen Van Phuc reaffirmed that this is a platform for all universities to discuss cooperation opportunities, establish connection with businesses, build exchange mechanism for students, lecturers and researchers, and to review the role of universities in human resources training in the digital era.

Being hosted the first time in Viet Nam, the Forum has gathered policy makers, managers in education and training sector to seek consultation from experts, researchers, and business leaders. This will provide timely guidelines and policies on human resource training to meet the new requirements of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and the development process of Viet Nam, and to catch up with the global trend.

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