The Southeast Asia-South Asia-Taiwan (SEASAT) Youth Camp, a signature summer program of the Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation (TAEF), kicks off its 5th edition today at the Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs. It features a 3-day intensive agenda of lectures, workshops, and field trips from July 26 to July 28.
Co-organized by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Japan, National Democratic Institute (NDI), and American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), this year’s SEASAT Youth Camp welcomed 43 young representatives from the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Australia, Japan, the US, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, with more than 33 overseas participants flying in to join the Camp physically. To broaden the discussion, a line-up of experts from government, NGOs, and academia has been invited to offer perspectives from Taiwan, India, Myanmar, Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, Cambodia, and the region at large.
The 2023 SEASAT Youth Camp was commenced this morning by Chairman Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao of the TAEF, Director General Peter Sha-li Lan of the Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Director Rabea Brauer of Economic Programme Asia (SOPAS) of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, and Program Manager Penghsuan Lee of National Democratic Institute Taiwan Office.
In his welcome remarks, Chairman Hsiao expressed that this is one of the most diverse group from different Southeast Asia and South Asia countries. Hopefully when all participants become the leaders one day, they will be equipped with the knowledge and a sense of empathy from the Camp to make wise decisions for the society. It is also the time for the youth to address pressing challenges in the world. This youth participation echoes with main goals of TAEF’s Young Leader program. He expected all camp members can bring back home useful expertise and to make their society better.
Director General Sha remarked that through this camp, “probably you will have new partnership with other members from different countries”, and wishes this partnership will evolve in the future into more regional collaboration. These collaboration echoes with President Tsai’s NSP policy which focuses on “people-oriented,” a topic will be covered comprehensively in the Camp.
Director Brauer stressed that this youth camp is really needed now more than ever. Political uncertainty is going on around the globe. No other places changes as fast as Asia, but tension is also growing in this region. That is why youth engagement is important at this time for Asia growth. She was also looking forward to the Future of Work (FOW) for Asian Youth conference to be hosted as a special session of the Camp’s program on Friday (July 28). This would mark the first physical conference of the FOW series that has been worked on jointly by KAS-Japan and TAEF since 2020.
Ms. Lee said that Asia Pacific is a rather young region and contains most young people around the world. However, a lot of struggles and challenges are also faced by this same group of youth. She expressed the expectation that this Camp can realize the essential goal of the well-established generation supporting the younger generation to step out and speak for the society.
As a highlight, the Camp was honored by Mr. Steven Muncy, a 2021 Magsaysay awardee, showing his support via a pre-recorded video keynote on youth leadership. Mr. Muncy received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Humanitarian and Peacebuilding Efforts in Southeast Asia, an honor coined as the Asian version of the Nobel Prize. In his speech, he encouraged the young participants with several lessons from his life experience. “Age is not a legitimate reason for lack of action.” “Engage with others from different community and hearing what they have to say.” “Commitment to learn is prerequisite to success.” He also hopes the Camp can be a platform for global conversation.
This year, the Camp is themed “Bridging Boundaries: Harnessing Collaboration, Inclusion, and Innovation for Next Leadership.” In the following three days, these young representatives will come together to brainstorm how the inclusion of diverse cultures, opinions, and identities in the Indo-Pacific can help shape them into the leaders of tomorrow, who will be able to address pressing global challenges with innovative solutions.
About the SEASAT Youth Camp
Organized every year since the TAEF’s establishment, the SEASAT Youth Camp recruits 40 outstanding young people, especially those in Asia, through a competitive selection process every year. It has the objective to enrich these young people in their familiarity with their Southeast Asian, South Asian, and Taiwanese neighbors with the hopes of promoting their synergy in addressing globally pressing issues, including democracy, gender, culture, environment, and innovation.
Caption: All participants of the opening ceremony for SEASAT Camp
Caption: TAEF’s Chairman Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao
Caption: Director General Peter Sha-li Lan of the Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Caption: Director Rabea Brauer of Economic Programme Asia (SOPAS) of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung
Caption: Program Manager Penghsuan Lee of National Democratic Institute Taiwan Office.
Caption: The 2021 Magsaysay awardee, Mr. Steven Muncy