Over 300 Asian youth delegates arrive in Manila for a 4-day goodwill visit

By Filane Mikee Z. Cervantes

MANILA, Nov. 11 (PNA) — Around 360 youth delegates from Southeast Asia and Japan, boarding the 42nd Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program (SSEAYP), have arrived in Manila on Wednesday for a four-day visit aimed at fostering goodwill and cultural sharing.

Now in its 42nd year, SSEAYP is an annual diplomatic cultural exchange program for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Japanese youths, sailing together for 51 days aboard the Japanese luxury ship “MS Nippon Maru”.

“For 42 years, SSEAYP has remained faithful to its objective of fostering friendship and mutual understanding among the young people of Southeast Asia and Japan,” said National Youth Commission (NYC) Chairperson and Undersecretray Gio Tingson in a press briefing.

“As the program sets sail to new horizons, it leaves in its wake deeper and meaningful youth cooperation among the participating nations,” Tingson added.

This year’s voyage, slated Oct. 27 to Dec. 18, will take the delegates to Japan and five participating countries including Philippines, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Malaysia, respectively.

During their visits in the five host countries, the delegates are treated to a country-themed program that includes homestays, interaction with local youth leaders, visits to relevant institutions, and courtesy calls to state leaders.

Tingson remarked that the Philippine leg (Philippine Country Program) of the SSEAYP, from Nov. 11 to 14, is a fitting prelude to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum.

Highlights of the Philippine Country Program are the arrival ceremonies at Pier 15, South Harbor; welcome ceremonies at the Grand Ballroom, Diamond Hotel; interaction with the local youth; institutional visits to National Commission for Certifying Agencies, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Don Bosco Youth Center, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and other institutions; homestay program; and the send-off ceremonies.

This allows the delegates to “take down cultural barriers and get to know one another”, said Tingson.

Aside from the country programs, the delegates also have a wide range of engagements aboard the ship which include: volunteering activities, national presentations, and discussions on important youth situations such as the environment, disaster, risk reduction, intercultural understanding, food and nutrition, education, information and media, and health.

The Philippine delegation to the 42nd SSEAYP, named “Saligan”, is composed of 27 young Filipinos led by University of the Philippines-Iloilo professor Alfredo Diaz.

SSEAYP is sponsored by the Government of Japan, and is implemented in the Philippines through NYC.

Launched in January 1974 as the joint program among Japan and ASEAN countries, SSEAYP aims to promote friendship and mutual understanding among youths of Southeast Asian countries and Japan, to broaden their global perspectives, as well as strengthen their abilities in international cooperation.

Upon completion of this program it is expected that the participating youths will take leading positions in youth activities and other various sectors of their own countries.

The participating countries are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Japan. (PNA)