schoolscolleges2020 hed news

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The SEA LEP delegates and organizers with Her Excellency, UK Ambassador Laure Beaufils.

Three delegates from Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan immersed themselves in a rich cultural and political experience, engaging in the Southeast Asian Learning Exchange Program (SEA LEP) held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 15 to 19 March 2024. Additionally, they attended a Reception with the Ambassador of the United Kingdom (UK) to the Philippines on 20 March 2024, in Metro Manila, Philippines.

Representing Xavier Ateneo, Ms Allaysah Jannah Azis-Dalidig (SBM 3rd Year), Mr Lorenzo Joseph S Sierra (XUSHS Grade 12), and Ms Keziah Loucille P Mallorca (XU SIAP) not only participated in the exchange, but also served as ambassadors for their respective organizations and offices. This learning exchange, organized by Hirayang Kabataan now, Hiraya and Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB),  received invaluable support from the UK Government.

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XU Representatives for SEA LEP [L-R]: Keziah Loucille Mallorca (XU SIAP), Lorenzo Joseph
Sierra (XUSHS Grade 12), and Allaysah Jannah Azis-Dalidig (XU SBM 3rd Year)

The Southeast Asian Learning Exchange Program

The learning exchange in Malaysia was the third phase in Hirayang Kabataan’s training program for collective political action, aptly named “Balangay.” Within the context of the Southeast Asian Learning Exchange Program (SEA LEP), young political organizations and movements seize the opportunity to glean insights from Malaysia's diverse political landscape. They acquire vital skills essential for transitioning from youth organizations to fully-fledged political entities.

Hirayang Kabataan's invitation extends to 11 youth organizations and movements across the Philippines, fostering a dynamic exchange of ideas and strategies.

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan further enriches the discourse by inviting their Kuwentuhang Bayan (KB) Partners from Ateneo universities nationwide. This inclusive approach amplifies the depth of discussions within the KB framework, shedding light on how political parties can effectively address pertinent issues and foster democracy in the Philippines. The presence of Ateneo representatives enhances the breadth of perspectives and underscores the significance of collaborative efforts in advancing political discourse and action.

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Malaysian Senator Dominic Lau and Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (GERAKAN) Members
with the SEA LEP delegates and organizers.

During the five-day learning exchange, the participants engaged in various workshops and learning sessions with two political parties in Malaysia: Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA) and Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (GERAKAN). After the exchange program, a dinner reception with the UK Ambassador to the Philippines was conducted in the Ambassador’s residence, where the participants had a chance to converse with the current Ambassador of the United Kingdom, Laure Beaufils.

“The exchange program was instrumental in refining my leadership approach, reinforcing the importance of staying grounded and humble. I have always believed in being a leader who is accessible and not swayed by power. The program not only supported my ongoing efforts but also reminded me to remain open to learning from others… Listening to diverse perspectives, experiences, and challenges shared by others, particularly during our interactions with political parties and their representatives, has enriched my understanding of leadership in the context of governance and social change.” Ms Allaysah Jannah Azis-Dalidig, a 3rd Year SBM Student and a representative from XU-CSG, DASIG, and Balangay shared her takeaways from the trip.

“Honestly, political parties were intimidating at first. They undeniably carried a stigma. However, I now understand that Filipino youth today shouldn't be afraid of politics. While it can have negative connotations, politics, when used correctly, can be incredibly beautiful.” Lorenzo Joseph S Sierra, an XUSHS student, DASIG, and Balangay representative expressed his insights. “I realized that just as my community of student leaders and I can create progressive changes within our school, nothing prevents us from doing the same for the outside community,” Sierra added.

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SEA LEP delegates and organizers with the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA).

The Southeast Asian Learning Exchange Program served as a vital platform for Filipino young leaders to delve into the socio-political landscape of Southeast Asia. Through immersive experiences and collaborative learning with their Malaysian counterparts, the participants have gained valuable insights and learnings about the diverse cultures, rich histories, as well as the systematic challenges faced. As they return to their communities and are empowered with new knowledge and experiences, they possess the potential to become catalysts of change not just in the Philippines, but even the world.