Mohamad Desgia, AFMAM Alumni from Indonesia 

I participated in AFMAM 2019 & 2020.

I would love to describe my AFMAM experience as a rewarding and fulfilling experience. It provided me with an avenue to pursue my objectives, build a strong camaraderie in the region, partake in the movement of change amidst this fast-changing and complex situation, and encourage discourse on issues that are dear and near to my heart.

Besides practising my diplomacy and public speaking skills, my biggest motivation to join the AFMAM is to give my best contribution to 'our home' by opening up a meaningful conversation about the challenges and opportunities we are all confronted with. As home to 661.8 million individuals, it has been my driving force to use my creativity and ideas for the betterment of this region in every way possible.

Apart from winning several awards for my country, my biggest accomplishment during the programme is that I was able to create a very strong bond between ASEAN countries' delegates. Even during my second participation, I was still able to do so despite being physically apart as the programme was held virtually.

I would not perceive this as a challenge, but more like an opportunity to grow. In 2020, I needed to adapt to the virtual meeting setup and procedures. It was my first time participating in an online Model ASEAN Meeting. However, my fellow delegates and I still managed to exchange substantive matters, reach consensus, and find joy in this 'non-conventional' setting. My ability to shift my mindset and embrace the changes was the key to overcoming the challenges.

Seize any opportunities that make you grow as a person, as a lifetime learner. Be bold in what you stand for and discover platforms where you can voice out your ideas. The opportunities are endless. They are sometimes the beginning of great achievements.

Stephanie Christine Landicho of the Philippines

I recently joined the 7th AFMAM in 2022. AFMAM symbolises the aspirational goals of the ASEAN community to promote the positive and active participation of young people like me in the quest for continuous peace, solidarity, progress, and prosperity in the ASEAN region. I believe my experience prepared me to address the difficulties of globalisation in the 21st century while maintaining knowledge of sustainable and balanced development. Most significantly, this programme assists in educating the younger generation with fundamental competencies such as leadership, universal values, and life skills.

I applied for this programme because it has always been my goal to work with an organisation that helps young people become leaders. I believe that the programme will improve my knowledge and competencies, particularly in global awareness, cross-cultural skills, and critical thinking, transforming me into a life-long learner, innovator, and problem solver.

I am proud to represent my institution and country in a prestigious event like AFMAM. Finally, I am proud of myself for receiving the recognition of the Best Delegate for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC), Best Position Paper, and Best Strategy Paper. I am grateful and humbled. It is my proudest accomplishment, as I never thought I could get so far.

It is my first AFMAM, and being part of the Chairman country also means organising meetings to guarantee consensus on the relevant subject through diplomacy and tact. As chairman and representative of my country, I must balance the interests of the member state and the regional organisation. It takes me a tremendous amount of time and effort to research the country’s stance, foreign policy, and topics, and a thorough knowledge of ASEAN and its procedures is essential. I grew with the assistance of my ASEAN delegates, who guided me through the process, answered my numerous questions, and helped me achieve my potential as a delegate.

For aspiring youth, explore beyond your comfort zone as a constant learning journey. I believe only time will tell how far we can progress. We are the hope of our future. Together, we reaffirm an understanding to achieve solidarity targeted at discovering solutions to our issues by working on these solutions together as one ASEAN.

Sivutha S. Tan, AFMAM Alumni from Cambodia

The other five members of my team and I went to Bangkok, Thailand, in 2019 to take part in the fifth annual AFMAM competition. We were there to represent Cambodia. I have to be honest and say that my time spent at AFMAM was without a doubt "enriching," "stimulating," and "unforgettable."

It was enriching because AFMAM not only taught me a lot about ASEAN, thereby expanding my understanding of the history and progress of the grouping, but it also provided me with a platform for me to connect myself with youths from other disciplines from all of the ASEAN countries. This allowed me to broaden my understanding of the history and progress of ASEAN. In addition, I found it quite exciting to be given the opportunity to participate in a number of simulations, through which I was able to obtain an exceptional understanding of the way decisions are made in the ASEAN. This was also of great assistance to me and my teammates as we returned to our nation and were able to successfully host the first virtual model ASEAN summit in Cambodia, which was dubbed the "KHMER Model ASEAN Meeting." In conclusion, I can say without hesitation that my time spent in AFMAM will remain engraved in my memory for a very long time. My teammates and I were privileged to be placed with the Singaporean team. After the end of the simulation, we spent some time together and participated in some of the other exciting activities that Bangkok's nightlife has to offer.

I first became aware of AFMAM from a friend of mine who took part in the third iteration of AFMAM. After becoming intensely intrigued in the program, I made the decision to do some research on it via the website of the ASEAN Foundation. The following year, I had a conversation with my good friends, and we all came to the conclusion that we should form a group. We decided to participate in the 4th AFMAM because we believed that it would provide us with the opportunity to not only strengthen our knowledge of ASEAN by participating in ASEAN-related simulations and diplomacy, but also to hone our abilities in public speaking and debate. This led us to submit an application for the event. The unfortunate outcome was that my team did not make the cut. I did not experience any disappointment at all because I was able to recognize the areas of our applications that needed improvement and make a commitment to address them before the 5th AFMAM.

My teammates from Cambodia and Singapore, as well as myself, can take the most pride in the fact that we were able to maintain our cohesiveness as a group despite the fact that we came from distinct academic backgrounds and keep our attention fixed on a single objective throughout the entirety of our journey in AFMAM. Honestly speaking, it was not simple for a group of people who had just met each other to build an understanding among each other, but we were able to do exactly that.

I recall being extremely exhausted because I was assigned to do three duties including Head of Government, Minister of Defence, and Senior Minister of Economy all at the same time. I was responsible for all of these responsibilities. Nevertheless, in spite of the exhaustion I felt, it was not at all a burden because I had a lot of fun debating and negotiating on a variety of various policies in the capacity that I was assigned to.

I would advise prospective AFMAM applicants to begin the application process as soon as possible. It will take some time to process all of these necessary documents in accordance with the requirements of the program. In addition to this, they need to make sure that they talk to a diverse group of people and come together as soon as they can in order to form a group. I strongly encourage them to get in touch with their country's AFMAM alumni or with me if they have any questions or concerns regarding any aspect of the application.

 Phyu Syn Kyi, AFMAM Alumni from Myanmar

My AFMAM journey started when my team was selected to be one of the two teams representing Myanmar back in July 2019.

○ eye-opening

○ educational

○ diplomatic

I was willing to try new things that were outside of my studies and when I saw the program announcement, I was immediately interested to apply to it. However, I did not have friends that were willing to apply as a team at first. So I reached out to some like-minded youths that seemed to have an interest in the program through the comments of the announcement post. And eventually, a team was formed with complete strangers but who are now my closest friends/ colleagues.

During the programme, I am glad that I was able to increase not just my academic skills regarding ASEAN but also my interpersonal skills such as public speaking and negotiation. Upon the completion of the AFMAM 2019, my team and I wanted to deliver a similar experience that we have got to other youths in Myanmar. Back then, it was just a mere idea to create the program by a group of 7 youths with an aim to create a program but after 4 months of planning and organising, that mere idea became the very first national youth diplomacy program in Myanmar, raising awareness of ASEAN and its decision-making process to Burmese youths. I must say that I am proud of being able to utilise the skills and knowledge that we gained from the program to give back to the community.

Coming from an engineering background, I was unfamiliar with ASEAN and its decision-making process. International affairs was quite the topic that was out of reach from my daily student life.

Take a step! Don’t be afraid or be hesitant to take a step to try something new, something that would take you out of your comfort zone. As youths, we have the benefit of the chances of making mistakes and learning from those to be the better leaders of tomorrow. So just take a step!


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