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Ryan Alabado: Empowering the youth for a better tomorrow

Being an educator for the Voices of the Future (VOF) 2021 was an honor and a responsibility. It was with great pride being one of the delegates representing the Philippines during the gathering of young people among the APEC economies. Personally, it was also a once-in-a-lifetime experience guiding the youth delegates as they performed their tasks.

This year’s VOF’s Youth Declaration revolved around four themes: International Cooperation to Combat COVID-19, Digital Future, Greener Future, and Future for All. Overall, the themes spoke of inclusivity and sustainability, especially in these trying times of the pandemic. The youth delegates all did a great job crafting a youth declaration out of such themes. Kudos to you all.

The highlight of the VOF program was the handing over of the Youth Declaration to Prime Minister Jacinda Andern of New Zealand during the Summit. I had goosebumps witnessing this historic event. Because of this, I had high hopes that our APEC Leaders would give recognition and due attention to the issues and solutions voiced by the youth in the Declaration.

Educator Ryan Alabado during the virtual Voices of the Future Summit held last November 9-10

I believe that the recommendations presented by the youth were very critical and relevant to the Philippines and in APEC. Collaboration among APEC member economies would play a vital role in converting those recommendations into actions. With such concerted efforts, I have confidence this would produce brilliant exponential results for a better tomorrow for our world and humanity.

APEC must prioritize and address every single recommendation in the Youth Declaration. Now is the time to act. We need to have a sense of urgency to address these issues and act fast. To all the youths, remember that your actions and voices matter. Speak out and do your part. Who knows? Your words and simple acts of kindness are what it takes to bring back the smile on the faces of the generations to come and the reasons why our world would become a better and enjoyable place to live in once more. So, grab that chance and be the hero that the world direly needs today.

Download the Youth Declaration 2021