‘Invest in our youth,’ Sara urges ASEAN

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Z. Duterte on Monday urged Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders to “seriously invest in our youth” to continually pursue development in the region.

“I believe that for ASEAN to be able to successfully pursue its regional agenda, for ASEAN to be able to maintain its strong presence in the world, we should seriously invest in our youth,” Duterte said to state leaders and country representatives during the celebration of ASEAN’s 55th founding year.

Founded on 8 August 1967, ASEAN was primarily created to advance the regional agenda of the 10-member countries in Southeast Asia towards inclusive and sustainable development.

Duterte underscored the importance of youth participation in nation-building especially that majority of the population in the ASEAN countries belong to the youth sector.

“As we endeavor to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, our challenge is to figure out how to ensure that all of ASEAN will reach its potential by 2030. Your excellencies, I believe that we should focus on the ASEAN youth,” she said.

She emphasized her support to cultural exchanges between ASEAN member-states to “develop the skills that our youth may capitalize on in the future” and “forge meaningful friendships and relationships with ASEAN neighbors.”

“By strengthening intraregional scholarships and cultural exchanges between our countries, we will be able to increase the free flow of ideas, innovations and skills,” she said.

“ASEAN languages may be offered in our schools and universities. While the Philippines has been sending English-language teachers to our Southeast Asian neighbors for years, I believe it is high time we encourage our youth to learn each other’s national languages,” she added.

Duterte expressed hope that through the celebration of the ASEAN anniversary would strengthen the ties among member countries.

“As we celebrate this milestone, may we strengthen the ASEAN regional cooperation even more through unity in diversity — guided by the vision and will to allow the youth to be at the forefront of our undertakings as individual countries and as a regional bloc,” she said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *