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The 3rd Asian Youth Forum 2015
Posted By Ponce Ernest Samaniego, November 4, 2015

The 3rd Asian Youth Forum served as the most ambitious youth-related event led by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) with more than 200 youth from over 20 countries in Asia and the Pacific. More than 40 of ADB’s project officers and operations staff together with 32 sector experts from other organizations collaborated with all 200 youth participants. Both youth and experts worked together to develop concrete and actionable ways to increase and systematize youth participation in the Bank’s projects and operations in ADB’s priority areas such as health, education, disaster risk management, agriculture and environment and citizenship and governance.

In celebration of the International Youth Day 2015, ADB organized the 3rd Asian Youth Forum focused on the theme, “Investing in Youth: Engagement, Education, Employment, and Entrepreneurship” from 12 – 14 August 2015 in the ADB Headquarters, Philippines.

The 3rd Asian Youth Forum was held in parallel to this year’s International Youth Day. Under the theme, “Investing in Youth: Engagement, Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship”, the 3rd Asian Youth Forum launched a series of panel discussions, workshops and presentations from various internal and external resource speakers as well as leaders of development organizations and social enterprises.

Some of the key highlights of the 3rd Asian Youth Forum include Mr. Bambang Susantono’s (ADB’s Vice President for Knowledge Management) welcoming speech during the opening plenary; the launch of the condensed version of Youth Engagement Guide (YEG) which is the ADB Youth Initiative’s formal toolkit for strengthening ADB partnerships with youth organizations and civil society. The Voice of Youth debate manual was also launched during the forum’s Youth Debates Session. The 3rd Asian Youth Forum also held six plenary panel sessions which focused on topics in support of the forum’s overall theme. These panels include high-level discussions on the State of Youth in Asia, Entrepreneurship, and Education.

Apart from the panel discussions, the forum also featured the two keynote speeches from the UN Millennium Campaign and UN Habitat. The forum also held “The Voice of Youth Debates” on youth employment as well as series of presentations by three youth led social enterprises. A panel on entrepreneurship capped the first half of the afternoon session. The evening part of the forum featured an intercultural exchange and networking dinner sponsored by UN Habitat in celebration of this year’s International Youth Day.

Other key events during the forum include the awarding of ADB’s 3rd Youth4ASIA Solutions Search finalists on Education and Jobs competition. Ten of the finalists were recognized and awarded for their innovative and youth-led solutions which focused on addressing key employment and education gaps in their respective communities. The top three Youth4ASIA Solution Search winners were given the opportunity to share their innovative projects during the second day of the forum to encourage other youth participants to do the same in their own communities and to showcase to ADB operations staff the significant opportunities working with youth.

During the second day of the forum, all youth participants were given the opportunity to work with ADB operations staff and other external experts from various organizations. This was facilitated through a series of thematic breakout sessions on health, education, disaster risk management, agriculture and environment and citizenship and governance.

The outputs from each breakout session were shared during the closing session on the second day of the forum. The breakout presentations were moderated by Mr. Juan Miranda, ADB’s Managing Director General. Mr. Miranda also provided each presentation with his own feedback and input. Mr. Stephen Groff, ADB’s Vice President of Operations (2) formally closed the forum by summing up all that that took place during the two day event. Mr. Stephen Groff also shared with the plenary some of the key prospects and opportunities where ADB can further expand and strengthen its engagement with youth.

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