Mapúa Malayan Colleges Mindanao

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Mapúa MCM Student participates in the Young ASEAN Leaders Policy Initiatives (YALPI) 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand

YALPI 2023

Rex Michael Ugpay, a 4th-year Chemical Engineering student represented Mapúa Malayan Colleges Mindanao at the Young ASEAN Leaders Policy Initiatives (YALPI) 2023 held in Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, last February 6 – 9, 2023.

Under the theme of “Rethinking a Post-COVID-19 ASEAN: An Equitable and Resilient Socio-Economic Recovery”, YALPI aims to address ASEAN’s socioeconomic disparities, which must get immediate attention while the region is recovering. During the event, there were policy recommendations presentations from delegates. The core topics of the event revolved around Food Security and Digital Inclusion. 

Rex Ugpay at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand

“I have learned a lot from the esteemed panelists and guest speakers who were professors, veteran journalists, lawmakers, businessmen, start-up founders, and youth leaders from different backgrounds in Thailand,” Mr. Ugpay shared.

This year, there were 59 ASEAN and non-ASEAN students from YALPI network universities in each ASEAN member country, and online applications applied to the program. Mr. Ugpay was lucky enough to be among the 10 selected delegates from the Philippines. He became a participant when he came across the YALPI advertisement through a social media page he follows that promotes program opportunities for students across the globe. 

“Fortunately, MMCM has been very supportive. So through the help of the Center for International Programs (CIP) headed by Sir Poli Aquino and Ma’am Kara Braga, I was given support in terms of my plane ticket expenses,” he stated.

Rex at YALPI 2023 with the other participants.

When asked about his most memorable experience during his trip, Mr. Ugpay answered that, “The best was being able to grow my network through meeting new people from different countries and connecting with them for future programs and partnerships.” 

As a graduating student of Chemical Engineering, Mr. Ugpay remarked that being equipped with skills in policymaking is necessary for him as a future Chemical engineer — with a heart for agriculture, in order to make use of his profession to help solve the existing food insecurity issues in the Philippines and the world. 

Rex (bottom left) with his fellow YALPI 2023 representatives.

“My YALPI experience was the commencement of more opportunities for me, and I treasure it as a stepping stone to discover more of my potential and what more can I offer beyond expectations.” Mr. Ugpay concluded. 

Rex attending a forum at YALPI with the other representatives.

YALPI is an international forum that gathers and empowers youths to initiate solutions. Recognizing the important role young people play in the  ASEAN community, youth-led initiatives for the improvement of the region have been driven for years by YALPI. They aim to empower young leaders and provide them with a platform to collaborate and recommend policies on social issues.