Fellows of the FBLP Community 2020
Twenty-four (24) fellows of the Future Bridging Leaders Program’s (FBLP) third cohort graduated through an Online Public Recital held last November 25 via Zoom Conferencing. The FBLP is the country's premier youth leadership development program, which for the past six years has convened young leaders from all over the country to spark meaningful innovations in their communities. It is a joint initiative of the AIM TeaM Energy Center for Bridging Leadership (TEC-BL) and TeaM Energy Foundation, Inc. (TEFI).
The Online Public Recital is an event where fellows share with the public the work of Bridging Leadership as demonstrated by the social innovations called “Change Projects” that they co-created with their respective sectors and communities. This year’s cohort is a diverse group of leaders coming from the government, the business sector, and civil society organizations. Starting their fellowship in 2019, they have encountered various iterations in their change project implementation, especially with the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms. Maria Teresa Lopez, Vice President of TEFI, expressed her admiration over the accomplishment of the youth fellows throughout the program. “I am very hopeful of what you will continue to do, whether individually or collaboratively, because what you have is, really, a special fellowship. You provide a bright light in the darkness of this pandemic and of the recent calamities,” she said in her opening remarks.
|FBLP 3 Fellows Ms. Kezia Jungco (L) and Atty. Ernesto Neri (R) pitching their change projects, together with Ms. Joi Villareal, a sign language interpreter|
A panel of judges was invited to select the FBLP 3 Top Change Project, to be granted a seed funding of P100,000. This was composed of distinguished experts, namely: Dr. Ricardo Lim, former Dean of AIM and now Professor at the NUCB Business School, Japan and at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan; Mr. Prim Paypon, Executive Director of AIM Dado Banatao Incubator; Mr. Edwin To, President and Chairman of Pricewise Marketing Corporation and AIM Mindanao Bridging Leaders Program Fellow; and Mr. Earwin Belen, Founder of Urban Agriculture PH and FBLP 2 Top Change Project awardee.
The Change Projects for this year were grouped into the following clusters: Social Enterprise, Environment, Health, Education, and Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs). The Fellows were given five (5) minutes each to present their change projects, then engaged guests in virtual booths to answer questions and discuss opportunities for collaboration.
“The young people have such a really direct stake in the future. Therefore, they seem to be the most logical people to drive the changes that need to be happening… The young are much better agents of change and of bridging the gaps in our society, [since] you are relatively uncorrupted by the system still,” said Dr. Cielito Habito, Chairman of the Board of Advisers of AIM TEC-BL, in an inspiring message he delivered to the plenary session after the virtual booths closed.
Dr. Cielito Habito, Chairman of the Board Advisers of AIM TEC-BL, addressing the fellows
Prof. Manuel De Vera, Executive Director of AIM TEC-BL, praised how the Fellows persevered despite the current circumstances. “We celebrate how these Fellows have braved the new normal to implement their change projects. This is the hallmark of ownership, that, as Bridging Leaders, our personal response to address social divides drives the very essence of who we are and on how we can contribute positively to our communities and even to our country,” he said.
Prof. De Vera then proceeded to announce the FBLP 3 Top Change Project winner, Libertas, a change project by Atty. Ernesto Neri, Director of the Xavier University Center for Legal Assistance. Libertas promotes better access to justice for pre-conviction PDLs in Cagayan De Oro City Jail by connecting them to volunteer paralegal aides who can assist them in case processing, and by integrating a rights education module in the Alternative Learning System (ALS) for jail inmates.
Also elected by the Fellows to give the class’ response, Atty. Neri remarked, “In Bridging Leadership, we were confronted by this new system of thinking that tries to question our old assumptions… And in the process, we have rearranged the relationships in our community to one that would sustain itself and empower itself without us in the picture.”
Get to know all change projects by the fellows by visiting go.aim.edu/fblp3changeprojects. For inquiries about the FBLP and other programs of AIM TEC-BL, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.