Working for development in Asia-Pacific

10358573_10152380819711069_50411280029468616_nChesara, a young journalist from Sri Lanka, was one of the youth participants at the Asian Youth Forum and ADB Annual Meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan. We asked Chesara to pen a blog for us about what he’d learnt at the forum, and he wrote this piece about ADB and development in Asia Pacific.

In the world there are many kinds of financial institutions. When we look at Asia we can say the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is one of the most significant banks among these institutions. It is playing a major role in Asia-Pacific. Today ADB has a good reputation in the world. But some people still don’t know about ADB.

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As a financial institution, earning money and profit isn’t enough. We must work with society. We must work with the people. This concept is highly understood by ADB. Now ADB do many services for society. One of their main tasks is to fight poverty in Asian-Pacific. ADB always like to give a helping hand to Asian countries. As we know, our continent is behind the European countries. ADB is trying to make a difference here. We live in a competitive world and ADB wants to take us forward.

But we have many obstacles to overcome, such as poverty and a lack of education. Asia is still developing. Today ADB have opened their doors to all the Asian countries. With 47 years experience they give their support to all Asian countries. Because ADB has identified many issues in many countries and because they have their opened eyes over Asia, they know what are the necessities of each country.

For an example, they know this country needs a good education system and that country needs a proper road system. Every country has its own dreams and aspirations and goals. To achieve these goals, ADB is a partner in progress. Asian countries can borrow money from ADB at a low rate of interest. Because its main task is to develop Asian countries, not to earn more money, we can see that ADB has given money to make roads, bridges and buildings in Asian countries.

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It has close connections with many Asian countries. And ADB helps develop primary and secondary education. ADB has understood the importance of the education. Education is a knife to cut down the tree of poverty. So that is why ADB always facilitates educational aids to Asian countries, and also ADB has identified that development is insufficient.

But with economic growth of a country, sometimes it harms the environment. ADB has encouraged people to use green energy, solar power and renewable resources. As an example we see they have started some projects in India focussed on solar power. ADB has many connections with governments. They give money to governments and they expect there to be success in each and every country.

Some people may say ADB’s priority is to make money, but I’d like to mention here that ADB is not such an institution. As a participant of the Asian Youth Forum and ADB Annual Meeting I came to know the critical role of ADB. Papua New Guinea, for example, is a country that faces so many difficulties, but ADB supports the development of infrastructure in this country.

And ADB works with civil society. They have good connections with many civil society organisations, such as Plan, OISCA and more. ADB wants to promote society. At the Annual Meeting, we had a discussion with the ADB president. With his speech I understood that ADB really wants to reduce poverty in Asian countries. It is true that they need to achieve their financial goals. But they are not only for that.

They have identified that youth are very capable people. As youth particiapnts, we presented our ideas about water security, governance, environment, and education by creating roadmaps. So finally I would like to mention here that before I participated in this meeting, I did not know what the functions of ADB are. But I now know ADB is a vital institution that helps our countries and I would like to say that ADB is a genuine institution that can help each and every one of us.

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New opportunities at Asian Youth Forum

sajidIn this post, youth participant Sajid Arghandaiwall from Afghanistan blogs about his experience at the 2nd Asian Youth Forum and the Asian Development Bank’s Annual Meeting. Sajid is a journalist, writer, peacemaker and photographer. You can follow him on Twitter here and find out more about him here.

Many people worldwide constantly struggle to find an opportunity to participate in a conference, forum or any other exchange programme through which they can share their views, exchange ideas, build skills and learn more about different cultures.

As an active member of my society I have always tried to find opportunities through which I can learn new skills and apply that knowledge to help my people, to build communities and advance peace in Afghanistan. The Asian Youth forum gave me the opportunity to gain lots of productive things.

In total we were about 60 participants at the forum. I was the only Afghan participant as part of VSO (Volunteer Service Overseas). Split into four separate groups we were given four different issues for discussion. They included water security, Environment, Education, building skills and unemployment. Ideas were workshopped in an attempt to find suitable solutions. This helped participants to advance their team work and planning abilities. We also had other skills building activities. They included social media, communications, debating and advocacy. Members of YAF gave functional presentations about each topic.

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Despite the forum lasting for only two days (April 30 to May 1) the participants gained an experience and more knowledge that will help them in every field of their lives.

The forum was just the start of our experience in gaining knowledge and skills building. We had the 47th Annual Meeting of ADB ahead of us from May 2 to May 5. Around 3,800 international delegates from many different fields participated, including ministers, members of ADB, social activists.

As members of civil society organisations we attended the Annual Meeting. Every group gave their own presentation concerning the different issues that we had workshopped. Many high-level personalities participated including country directors, bankers and journalists to share their suggestions about our presentations. Additionally many civil society organisations had seminars and panels in which the participants of the Asian Youth Forum took part in. This opened doors for the participants to start new projects on returning to their communities.

Meeting and listening to the views of new people from various organisations was one of the benefits of attending the annual meeting. I am really happy by being a part of AYF. It gave me the opportunity to make new friends, learn about other cultures, gain more knowledge and build skills, which is something I have always strived to achieve.

And the winners of the #DearYouth Video Blog Competition are…

First, we would like to thank everyone who joined. All your entries have left the selection team inspired by the skills and insights of the youth. We look forward to sharing your videos in all our social media channels and in our events — these great pieces of work deserve to be seen and heard!

Now, we are most pleased to announce the winners of the #DearYouth Video Blog Competition. (Drumroll, please)

Kathleen Largo from the Philippines

 

and Josephine Blomdahl from Sweden

 

Congratulations, Kathleen and Josephine! We look forward to having you both as part of our Social Media Team for the 2nd Asian Youth Forum and the Civil Society Program at the 47th Annual Meeting of Governors of the ADB in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Bart W. Édes opens the championship dinner of the Philippine Inter-collegiate Debating Championship

Bart Edes Photo

Isang maalab at maligayang pagbati sa inyong lahat! Ikinalulugod namin kayong makasama ngayong gabi.

Welcome to the Championship Dinner of the Philippine Inter-Collegiate Debating Championship!

“Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.” So said Mahatma Ghandi, the face of India’s struggle for self-rule in British colonial times. Employing well-chosen words – and nonviolent civil disobedience – Ghandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. Ghandhi was a debater who challenged injustice and the status quo.

Debate provides significant benefits for individuals and for societies. It teaches the principles of tolerance, nonviolence, and respect for different points of view. In doing so, it can help close the gap between minority and majority cultures, and other groups divided by animosities of one kind or another.

Debate demands critical thinking, effective communication, and independent research and teamwork. It teaches skills that serve students well in school, and later in the workplace. Debate also enables people to fulfill their responsibilities as citizens of democratic societies.

As you have certainly recognized, students who debate are better able to critically examine the statements of their leaders, and to make carefully formed judgments about crucial public policy issues.

While Ghandi is most closely associated with his native India, he first employed nonviolent civil disobedience as an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, in the resident Indian community’s struggle for civil rights. Many years later, another champion of social justice in South Africa, the Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu, once stated: “Don’t raise your voice. Improve your argument.”

And improving your argument is something that you all have been doing in the period leading up to this Championship.

The Asian Development Bank is thrilled to be hosting this event, and delighted to welcome the 60 participating debate teams and 300 debaters.

I would like to thank the University of the Philippines Debate Society for organizing another exciting edition of this annual event, and to recognize the president of the UP Debate club, Weston Lee.

This Championship provides a dynamic forum within which Filipino youth can explore and analyze various issues relevant on a national and global scale.

If you have not already done so, please serve yourself a plate of food, and get a seat for the main event – the final debate between the Blue Eagles of Ateneo de Manila University, and the Fighting Maroons of UP-Diliman. I am eager to see which side aligns more closely with the old English proverb: “Use soft words and hard arguments.”

I wish both sides the best of luck. And for everyone: Mabuhay kayong lahat at magandang gabi muli.

For more details on the social media buzz created by the event, follow us on Twitter and search #PIDCxADB.

ADB Youth Debates in Tajikistan

Over 40 Tajik young people joined the youth debates “New Silk Roads – Connecting Asia with the Changing World” organized in Dushanbe on 29-30 March. Winners will go to Astana to participate in the 2nd Asian Youth Forum and 47th Annual Meeting.

Winners: Team ‘We Will Rock You’ – Firuza Kulaeva (Russian-Tajik Slavonic University), Bonu Hafizova (Tajik Branch of the Moscow State University), Firuza Rakhmatbekova (Tajik National University).

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PIDC

Hello, hello, lovely ones! How are you?

The past few weeks have been quite busy in preparation for a number of events that are all oh-so-exciting us to no end. Just thought we’d check in to share with you one of activities that we’ll be having:

Philippine Inter-Collegiate Debating Championship
07 April 2014, ADB Headquarters
http://pidc-online.com/pidc-2014-official-invitation/

To join virtually, just follow us on Twitter (@ADBYouth) and the hashtag #PIDC2014. We’ll be livetweeting throughout so stay tuned!

Well, that’s it for now. A longer post to share what exactly we’ve been up to — soon!