Last April 24-25, 2012 I was privileged to be part of the Generation Change Project held in Davao City, Philippines where 50 brilliant minds and upcoming leaders from all over the Philippines were assembled through the efforts of the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines and in partnership with the Ateneo de Davao University. It is a two-day workshop on community leadership and social media best practices. You may view more photos of the said conference here.
Generation Change is a youth-led global network dedicated to empowering the next generation of innovators and leaders. It provides a platform for the free exchange of ideas across borders and cultures, and a community of peers and mentors who use their collective resources to positively impact communities locally and globally.
Speakers Wajahat Ali and Humera Khan (left to right)
Humera Khan (khanserai), the Executive Director of Muflehun, talked about, “Viral Peace: Social Media Strategies for Building Communities” to the social media practitioners. My favorite part of her talk weas about how community managers and community builders could respond to messages and other challenges that may arise as we try to work on our advocacy.
Wajahat Ali (@wajahatali), journalist and contributor at Washington Post, The Guardian, Salon, Slate, Wall Street Journal, CNN.com, and Huffington Post (and if I may add, a humorist) shared his strategies on how he was able to accomplish his goals in raising funds through social media, challenged the participants to speak before a crowd as guided by our personal missions .
Wajahat Ali giving the participants pointers on the Basic Elements of Strategy and Storytelling
What Has Changed?
The conference has opened my eyes to the true issues that Mindanao is facing. For someone who was born in the Visayas, I am like most Filipinos who do not really have any direct experiences and perhaps awareness of what truly is happening in Mindanao area. I grew up believing that the place is dangerous and has to be avoided at all costs. Little did I know that there are bright minds and peace-loving people in the area too. Even the place where the conference was held, Davao, I had preconceived biases of the place and its people – only to prove myself wrong. (You may read separate accounts of the best places I’ve been in Davao through this blog. And I feel that I left half of my heart there).
Below is a video which aims to provide us the true accounts of what’s truly happening in Mindanao (as opposed to mostly sensationalized reports we often see in the media).
At the end of the day, along with the new insights and strategies, what matters most is the challenge to create a change in our own communities by applying the principles taught during the conference.
More insights about the conference:
Dulce Rose Lada (@dulcelada), President of the Davao Bloggers, shared her insights about the conference here and an excellent blow-by-blow account of what transpired during the conference may be viewed on her Storify.
United States Virtual Presence Post – Mindanao post about the conference could be read here.
US Embassy in Manila‘s post about the event could be read here.