Vietnam Youth Forum 2010 (July 18 – 22, 2010, Hanoi, Vietnam)- UYEN NGUYEN
After being a participant to Vietnam Youth Forum 2009 (VYF 2009) last year, I was chosen to be a member of the VYF 2010’s organizing committee. Had been working on it for 3 months before I joined in the Global Changemakers family through Global Youth Summit 2009, the organizing crew and I still had no idea how we were going to make the event different from the previous one.
But coming back from GYS 2009, I had a fresh, new approach to VYF 2010: the future participants to VYF 2010 would have the chance to feel how I felt and to learn what I learnt during GYS 2009, because experiences from GYS was the best that any activist in the world could ever have. So, besides adapting the core format of VYF - each day of the Forum revolves around one specific area in the following four: Vietnamese culture, education, environment and economy, VYF 2010 consists of activities that could provide its participants with crucial project building skills, and most importantly, empowers them to develop their own community projects during and after the Forum. While VYF 2009 emphasized on personal awareness and action changes, VYF 2010 expands its impact to the community by not only changing one particular person but also raising his/her commit to spread the changes to the community through their projects.
Inspired by my GYS experiences, VYF 2010 revolved around the theme of “Change”. Accordingly, the slogan for the forum was set to be: “Youth – Seeds of Changes”. By July 1st, 28 most outstanding applicants were chosen to participate in VYF 2010 from over 200 applications from all over Vietnam through application screenings and interviews. The chosen ones, if not by their track records, were chosen by their strong potential portrayed on their application form and performance during interview. One of the side stories: we organizing committee all took at look at our last year’s application forms and scored ourselves to see if we would be qualified for being this year’s participants – the results should be kept in secret, though.
VYF 2010 saw a huge difference from the previous two VYF, which were day events (participants arrived at the venue in the morning and left in the afternoon) taking place in central Hanoi, we took this year’s participants off the city centre to a suburb area called Dai Lai; participants shared their 5 days and 4 nights of the Forum together in a resort owned by Vietnamese Ministry of Culture and Information originally used for artists to relax and find their inspirations for art works! Now I couldn’t be more thankful to Global Changemakers, you guys not only inspired me to design the event but also granted me the money to provide the participants with ‘foods and shelter’!
While I and other three members of the organizing committee travelled to Dai Lai on July 17th to do set-up works and all, the rest of the committee and the participants arrived at Dai Lai in the morning of July 18th – all was unaware of the difficulties about to come and the great changes we were about to experience and to make.
The Forum followed the projected agenda quite well – all mistiming were fixed and bent to fit in. As planned, the 5 days of forum were named according to the theme of the days: Opening & Culture Day, Education Day, Environmental Day, Economy Day and Action Day. Because of the great deal of more available time than the last two VYF, we could provide the participants with more activities and networking. Besides the day activities that include roundtable and group discussions, debates and guest-speakers’ lectures, we provided activities similar to GYS Sketch and Skills Marketplace after dinners. We also took participants to a traditional pottery village for participants to learn about the traditional culture and experience a way of informal education (as it was the link between Culture Day and Education Day).
During the Forum, 5 group projects by participants were built and all was highly committed to realize their projects namely:
• Tay Nguyen Youth Forum 2011
• Improving public WC and proper education on using WC for elementary students
• Improving education quality at School for homeless children 19-5, Hanoi
• Classes of traditional art and culture for children
There is this coincidence during VYF 2010: our opening and ending were held as tropical storms approaching the place. While the storms caused us some worries (but fortunately, it didn’t cause us any troubles), we organizing committee are hopeful that the changes that we inspired in the participants and the people that we reached would evolve into a storm of positive changes to the community.
Please look forward to news from the Vietnam Youth Projects!
Now I’ve got some packing to do and some stories to prepare for the LAYS in Rio!