As the world celebrates the International Month of Peace, it is an opportune time that the National Association of UNESCO Clubs in the Philippines (NAUCP), with the support of the Philippines National Commission (PH NatCom) for UNESCO, recently concluded the 2015 International Assembly of Youth for UNESCO on September 21-23, 2015 hosted by the University of Santo Tomas, City of Manila. The assembly aims to be an avenue for youth mentoring, dialogue, and peer collaborations within the context of ASEAN Integration and Sustainable Development Goals. It hopes to strengthen the ties of the UNESCO Clubs with the grassroots as they envision to make significant changes in the society and empower them to localize their efforts anchored on regional, national and international declarations.
This year’s theme, “Gearing up for ASEAN Integration towards Sustainable Development”, focused on the milestones and challenges confronting the areas of Climate Change, Human Rights, and Post-2015 Education Agenda. EnP Lindsay Barrientos, PH NatCom Officer-in-Charge, Assistant Secretary Jesus Domingo, Director General of DFA-United Nations and International Organizations (DFA-UNIO), and Professor Giovanna Fontanilla, Director of the Office of Public Affairs (OPA) at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) opened the 3-day assembly with a challenge for the youth delegates to be active and reliable partners for change and to bring UNESCO’s ideals and principles closer to their respective communities. Key leaders/officials/focal persons from the public and private sectors were also invited to speak before 350 youth delegates, composed of high school, college students, mentors, and educators all over the country. The youth delegates participated in plenary sessions divided into the following: 1) The UNESCO Climate Change, Human Rights and Post-2015 Education Agenda 2) The ASEAN Integration, and the 3) UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The PH NatCom believes that the youth play significant roles in achieving UNESCO’s main thrusts of peace promotion, poverty eradication, sustainable development, and intercultural dialogue. As such, the youth delegates were given the chance to draft and pass resolutions on issues being highlighted in this year’s theme. Meanwhile, the youth delegates were able to showcase their ideas and talents through the simultaneous conduct of poster making, quiz bowl, essay writing and poem writing contests.
Another highlight and milestone of the 3-day assembly was the accreditation of more than 30 additional UNESCO Clubs from all over the country. NAUCP President Engr. Alein Navares, in his inspirational message, challenged these newly-accredited clubs to strengthen their collaboration with each and every UNESCO Clubs as they promote their common ideals and aspirations. The 3-day assembly was capped off with the recognition of Outstanding UNESCO Club organizations and individuals for their exemplary and significant contributions to the realization of PH NatCom and NAUCP’s goals and visions.
As the NAUCP Vice President and Conference Director, Mr. Virgilio Dolina Jr. said in his closing speech, the 3-day assembly is just a beginning to the many doors of opportunities awaiting these promising youth leaders of UNESCO Clubs.