The COVID-19 has shifted us into a period where meetings and other in-person gatherings had to be converted into a virtual setting. 2020 was undoubtedly a year of disappointments but some young people managed to find the silver lining and achieved something they would never have thought of!
"Change may not be something that we enjoy but if we embrace it with an open mind, pour in our dedication and motivation, we can achieve great things. AFMAM 2020 was different, but it was different in a much better way!" said Matthew Ooi, a delegate from Malaysia who participated at AFMAM (ASEAN Foundation Model ASEAN Meeting) 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AFMAM 2020 had to be held virtually, much different than the usual face-to-face conference.
"I fondly remember excitedly rounding up some friends to apply for AFMAM 2020. That excitement was replaced with a certain extent of disappointment when we found out AFMAM will be conducted virtually. That being said, I guess every cloud has a silver lining. Yes, AFMAM was different, but it was different in a much better way! I was honoured to have been given the opportunity to chair the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community on behalf of Vietnam. Chairing an online conference was enlightening, the importance of patience, empathy and understanding were strongly ingrained in me throughout the process!" Matthew added.
Even though the meetings were held virtually, Matthew managed to make friends with many aspiring youths from other countries of ASEAN. "Working with my wonderful partner, Difa Farzani from Indonesia was super fun. I remember stressing out over our performances as a chair while also worrying about our position paper. Thankfully, we unexpectedly won the Best Position Paper much to both our delight!" he concluded.