09 December, 2019 2:03 PM Publications

Joining the ASEAN Foundation programmes as a key opening many doors and opportunities

Joseph Quyen (Jos) was the first winner of the 2nd ASEAN Youth Video Contest (AYVC) 2016. Since then, he participated in the ASEAN Foundation Model ASEAN Meeting and was selected to attend the Obama Foundation Roundtable Discussion 2018 to discuss youth engagement in AESAN Community. Currently, he is developing ‘Ethnicity Vietnam’, a cultural preservation project that preserves, promote, develop the brocade’s motifs by digital art and social media platforms.

Jos first encountered ASEAN Foundation when he saw the call for applications for AYVC 2016 on ASEAN Foundation Facebook page. There he learnt that AYVC is an annual competition that provides a platform for youth to creatively speak their voice using the power of digital tools. Each year a topic is selected as the theme for the competition, and this contest is a way to increase awareness of the respective issue and to encourage youth to be more enthusiastic towards ASEAN.

With his passion for film making and ‘volunteering’ as that year’s theme, Jos was motivated to apply to the contest. Jos shares “I wanted to challenge myself at the international contest in purpose to make friends across the region, expand the connection for future cooperation in making changes in the community.” In fact, Jos claims that even after 3 years, he is still connected to ASEAN fellows, whom he met during the competition. 

Ultimately, Jos won first prize for his video titled, “Real Actions, Real Volunteering” where he tells the story of how he started a volunteer group to help the disadvantaged KOHO people in Lam Dong Province. As the first prize winner, Jos recalls “I was immensely happy and thankful for the opportunity. The prize has motivated me to continue working on the creative field coming up with projects in using multimedia and social platforms to the betterment of the community. 

Besides pursuing creative projects, Jos was also involved in ASEAN Foundation Model ASEAN Meeting, a programme that targets ASEAN youth to understand diplomacy and how decision-makers of ASEAN Member States address regional issues.  From his time there, he had the opportunity to act as a diplomat and learn about the decision-making process, “this programme was very important to me to understand that the youth are not the leader of the future but they are today’s leader, which means we have to be ready to take challenges and actions towards current regional issues.”

In 2018, Jos was honored to be selected as a representative at the Obama Foundation Roundtable Discussion where the youth had the chance to talk with the Former President Barack Obama to discuss youth engagement in ASEAN Community. After the encounter, Jos was inspired to continue to contribute to the community because as Mr President said, “the only one who can make a change is you.”

After winning AYVC in 2016, Jos has come a long way. Now, Jos is focused on his cultural preservation project, ‘Ethnicity Vietnam’. Jos explains “Our project aims to build a web and digital library of motifs and their stories, which can be accessed by everyone, anywhere and anytime for cultural learning and creative design purposes.” When asked about how Jos managed to transform an idea into reality, he shares “It started from the belief that “cultural mutual understanding is fundamental for future cooperation and sustainable development”, 'preserving culture is preserving ourself' is also a reason why Ethnicity was born.”

In 2019, Jos was nominated by ASEAN Foundation to the Social Innovation Warehouse (SIW) Capacity Building. Through this programme, Jos received mentoring, training from SIW to scale up and develop his ‘Ethnicity’ project “SIW and ASEAN Foundation helped us to identify our goals and vision as well as equipped the skills in leadership, team management, finance and they showcased our project to the public for funding and project awareness.”

Overall, Jos feels very thankful to ASEAN Foundation for opening many doors and opportunities for him. Because of this, he highly encourages youth to join ASEAN Foundation programmes, “I would highly recommend youth to join the ASEAN Foundation programmes because it is like a key opening many doors and opportunities for your future. Do not hesitate to apply for any events that suit you because if you want to make a change in the community, it starts from knowing how it works.” Besides the opportunities, ASEAN Foundation allowed him to meet very active and talented youth network across the region “This is very important to me because I could not do things without learning from my fellow ASEAN friends, as well as mentoring, motivation and inspiration, from them.”

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