Nguyen Thai Anh is a 22-year-old freelancer in Yen Pong, Bac Ninh Province, Vietnam who has his sights set on starting his own business one day. In a resourceful pursuit towards this goal, he found the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) program which focuses on developing youth leadership and networking skills. Realizing that the workshop aligned with his aspirations to affect change, he was excited to participate, saying that “he did not hesitate to apply.” With his enthusiasm and passion for knowledge, it is no surprise that he became a delegate.
The workshop is part of a series that aims to build the leadership skills of young people and provide them with a comprehensive understanding of global citizenship needed in the 21st century. Being aware of the complexities of globalization and its importance to entrepreneurship, Anh immersed himself fully in the activities. The first day of the workshop focused on critical thinking skills, during which delegates participated in interactive games and applied critical thinking to address the effects of globalization. The next day, facilitators guided delegates in developing their own projects that deal with the four topics related to globalization: the environment, education, healthcare, and economic empowerment. Anh explained that this was his favorite part of the training: “it gives [the delegates] the opportunity and flexibility to freely develop projects, exchange ideas, and practice teamwork and critical thinking skills.” Anh felt supported throughout the process, from discussing ideas, to developing presentation skills, to tackling challenges the group faced in completing their project.
A training workshop that aims to harness the potential of youth to the fullest, it serves as an avenue for young people to explore their future plans and to develop skills that have long-term benefits. For Anh’s entrepreneurial goals, the workshop gave him a better understanding of how to approach business capital and optimize local resources to start his business. The delegates also met with inspiring guest speakers including Ms. Nguyen Thi Van and Mr. Nguyen Duy Ha. Ms. Van has greatly contributed to her handicraft community, she works to support handicraft workers and provides them with job opportunities in her own business. Mr. Ha is running a logistics business and leading an investment club in Bac Ninh. The speakers shared their own stories of personal development and initiating impactful social change. For Anh, both speakers are role models who embody the qualities of a leader he aspires to be. After the workshop, Anh has a clearer portrait of a young leader in his mind and is determined to develop the skills he needs to become an entrepreneur.
The workshop was delivered in a welcoming and energizing environment for the delegates to form their own community of like-minded people. Anh shared that the workshop left him with lasting feelings of belonging, more so than when he completed his three years of high school. Delegates were excited and nervous as they got to know each other, but everyone was swept up in the buzz of the event and the opportunity to create connections. So much so that Anh felt nostalgic when the workshop ended, even though everyone only spent two days together. This was the first time that Anh participated in a program to develop his skills—hopefully it will be the first of many more, as Anh continues on his journey and gains interesting experiences, building his knowledge to become a business leader and global citizen.
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