On September 22nd 2013, the 7th annual Hwa Chong-Asia Pacific Young Leaders Summit, or HC-APYLS for short, was held in Hwa Chong Institution, Singapore. Pritta Wibisono (12D) and myself, Karina Sarah K (12G), were selected to attend along with two other students from Binus International School Simprug, Jonathan Hartojo and Gita Septiani Ekaputri.
HC-APYLS is an annual summit which aspires to provide a platform for the best young minds of the Asia-Pacific region to discuss issues pertinent to the region today. But in the last few years, HC-APYLS have also expanded by inviting participants from countries outside of Asia such as the US, UK, and France.
A day in the life of an APYLS delegate is an incredibly hectic one, with summit dialogues– featuring guests like Singapore’s Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; visits to organizations– such as A*STAR, Singapore’s leading research institution; and other excursions. Although often tiring, each day brings fresh experiences, and you just can’t help feeling excited waking up every morning. We even got to go to the Istana, the official residence and office of the President of Singapore, and met President Tony Tan Keng Yam himself.
One of my favorite programs in APYLS is the Student Dialogues. Here, in accordance with United Nation’s Millennium Project, each delegation was assigned to present a pressing issue which is most relevant to their respective countries. Afterwards, participants were divided into small groups to discuss these topics and came up with possible solutions. This unique experience allows participants to listen and understand different perspectives from various countries and individuals on the matter, and propose different approaches to solve them.
But mind you, fun was never second priority. We the delegates bonded over various activities like paintballing, kayaking, and dragon boating to name a few. We also got the chance to learn about each other’s cultures during the cultural exhibition and cultural performances.
The exceptionally friendly and open environment of APYLS was also very invigorating. Everyone had their own opinions regarding different topics, yet were always super interested in what you have to say. You can always come up to anyone and just strike a conversation, and it definitely made me less shy than I was before.
Looking back, those 10 days were unforgettable. I truly feel that HC-APYLS had let me grow more into the person I wish to be. It was amazing to be surrounded by peers who are incredibly talented and intelligent, who I have learned so much from.
The talks had also reemphasized the need to make change in this world– and if anything, I am more than certain that this bright bunch of young people will. (Karina Sarah Kusumadewi-12G)
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