The 5th ASEF Young Leaders Summit took place from 12-16 September 2023 in Salamanca and brought together 94 participants from 51 countries at the University of Salamanca with a focus on the topic of Society 5.0. This event marks the second phase of the programme, where prior to this week, the first Knowledge Building phase took place to prepare the participants for the work in Salamanca. Following this week, the participants enter the third Leadership in Action phase where they will put their knew knowledge into action by tackling different challenges we encounter in Society 5.0. You can access the full programme here and read more about our speakers here. You can also find photos from the event here.
Over the 4-day Summit, panels, keynote speeches, and discussion sessions were held, and the participants had the opportunity to get insights from speakers and panellists from across the world and from a diverse scope of professional backgrounds. On the first day of sessions, the participants were welcomed by Prof Raúl SANCHEZ PRIETO, Vice-Rector for International Relations, University of Salamanca; Mr Javier PARRONDO, Director General of Casa Asia, ASEF Governor for Spain; Ambassador Toru MORIKAWA (online), ASEF’s Executive Director; and Ambassador Stefano SANNINO, Secretary General, European External Action Service (video message). Following the Welcome address, a Keynote message was delivered via video by Prof Yuko HARAYAMA, Prof Emeritus at Tohoku University, and the first session on Leadership Dilemmas in Society 5.0 was held which welcomed Prof Kiron RAVINDRAN, Prof of Information Systems, IE Business School; Ms Liana TANG, Second Director, Ministry of Communications and Information, Singapore; and Ms Iris KIMIZOGLU, Vice-President of the European Students’ Union.
The participants also got to learn more about Self, Team, and Societal Leadership in their session with Ms Freya CHOW-PAUL, Youth Project Lead, Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF). Themes such as self-identity, diversity and inclusion, values, and stereotypes and bias were explored to prepare them for working in diverse and intercultural teams.
In the afternoon, ASEFYLS5 also had the honour of welcoming ambassadors HE Sophia ROSS MCINTYRE (Ambassador of Australia to Spain); HE Takahiro NAKAMAE (Ambassador of Japan to Spain); HE Emilio de MIGUEL CALABIA (Ambassador on Special Mission for the Indo-Pacific); and HE Dato’ Akmal CHE MUSTAFA (Ambassador of Malaysia to Spain) to present their perspectives on Society 5.0 with the participants, specifically relating to how young leaders can make a positive impact in different leadership roles in the future.
The first day concluded with a session on the balance between societal and technological development, focusing on the environmental and societal challenges we face in the implementation of Society 5.0. The session included Dr Pedro Diego Jordano BARBUDO, Research Professor at the Doñana Biological Station, Spanish Scientific Council; Dr José Abel Flores VILLAREJO, Director of the Hispanic Japanese Cultural Center USAL, Professor at the Institute for Science and Technology, Faculty of Biological Sciences and Environmental Sciences, USAL; and Ms Carolin JONCZYK, Deputy Project Lead, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network – Youth.
On 14 September, we welcomed Dr Lampros STERGIOULAS, UNESCO Chair on Artificial Intelligence and Data Science for Society for an opening Keynote on Society 5.0: Future of Human-Centered Technology, followed by the launch and presentation of the ASEF Youth Perception Report on Societal Challenges and Role of Technology 2023 by Dr Christopher McCARTHY, Associate Professor, Fulbright, Institute of International Education via video message. Thereafter, Dr Lampros STERGIOULAS; Mr Abhishek VATS, Director of Research Development, ASEAN Youth Organization (AYO); Ms Kirsten BROEKEMA, President, AEGEE (European Students Forum); and Ms Katrina SPRONGE, Steering Committee Member, Global Students’ Forum (GSF) gave their input on Societal Challenges and the Role of Technology in Asia and Europe.
A second panel on Imagining the Future of Digital Society and Humanity, was conducted by Mr Mayank SHARMA, Associate National Project Officer, UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development, India; Mr Joses WONG, Secretary General, ASEANCham EU, Chamber of Commerce & Industry; and Dr Long PHAM, Senior Research Coordinator, Insight Centre for Data Analytics, School or CS & IT, University College Cork. The second panel of the day, Mr Alexis ROIG, CEO at SciTech DiploHub, Barcelona, Spain; Mr Maxim VANDEKERCKHOVE, Coordinator Technology Diplomacy at Brussels Diplomatic Academy, Attaché and Policy Advisor at the Belgian Federal Ministry of Social Security; and online participant Prof Carole MUNDELL, Director of Science, Head of European Space Astronomy Centre, European Space Agency, discussed the Role of Technology Transfer and Science Diplomacy in Society 5.0. Finally, the definition and use of Citizen 5.0 was broken down by Mr Antonio BONET MADURGA, President of the Spanish Exporters and Investors Club; Mr Román ÁLVAREZ RODRIGUEZ, Director of Alumni Salamanca; and Ms Miriam GONZALEZ DURANTEZ, Founder of España Mejor.
The day concluded with a Cultural Evening where the participants were invited to share their culture and experiences with each other. They shared food, music, national dances and more whilst getting to know each other better.
On 15 September, the participants got the first chance to work in their groups on the challenges they had chosen for the Leadership in Action phase. In the coming 10 weeks, they will work in Teams on 10 different challenges which tackle different problems that individuals and groups face in Society 5.0. More information about the challenges can be found in the programme, but here you can find a brief summary of them:
- Embracing Failure: Creating a Safe Place to Fail, Learn and Innovate, Presented by Mr Shuvro SEN, Head – Innovation Programs (Intrapreneurship), DBS Bank, Singapore
- Socio-Emotional Health in the Age of Generative AI, Presented by Mr Mayank SHARMA, Associate National Project Officer, UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development, India
- Recruiting for the New Equation, Presented by Ms Cathy FRIDERES, Director, Government and Public Sector Consulting, Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) Luxembourg
- Addressing the Issues of Misinformation and Disinformation in
Polarized Situations, Presented by Mr Francesco PANGALANGAN, Misinformation & Disinformation Adviser, International Committee of the Red Cross, Switzerland
- Encouraging Satellite Data Use, Presented by Mr Michal BRICHTA, Director, Slovak Space Office, Slovakia
- Expanding Leadership Opportunities for Rural Youth in Laos, Presented by Ms Keopanya SENGSOULIVONG, Project Coordinator, Pakse Youth’s Power, Laos
- Facing Digital Anxiety & Ensuring Digital Wellbeing, Presented by Mr Claudiu SULEA, Vice-President, Group of the European Youth for Change, Romania
- Creating A Sustainable Hybrid Leadership Development Course, Presented by Mr Anban Ashlan RAJ, Founder and President, World Youth Leaders Organisation, Australia
- Designing a World-Class Leadership Fellowship Program for Future
Leaders in Indonesia, Presented by Mr Yosea KURNIANTO, Leadership Development and Scholarship Lead, Tanoto Foundation, Indonesia
- Nutrition Challenge: Revolutionizing Nutrition in Developing Countries, Presented by Mr Tergel ODGEREL, Chief Executive Officer, Phronesis. Mongolia
Read more about our participants here.
Additionally, ASEF organised a session together with the European Parliament in ASEAN, Directorate of Regions, Directorate-General for External Policies of the Union on the topic of Policy & Decision-making for the Future of Society & Technology. After a video message by an opening statement by Dr Victor NEGRESCU, MEP, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education, Member of the Delegation for relations with Australia and New Zealand; Mr Antoine RIPOLL, Director – Parliamentary Relations with South East Asia, European Parliament; and Mr Antonio LÓPEZ-ISTÚRIZ WHITE, MEP, Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (who participated online), tackled Europe’s pursuit of setting it owns standards in data sovereignty, and strengthening tech infrastructure to empower individuals.
The sessions were moderated by Ms Réka TOZSA, Director of the Education Department at the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF); as well as ASEFYLS5 participants and navigators Mr Tony LUO, Australia; Mr Tomas AKYNOV, Kazakhstan; Mr Yusril NURHIDAYAT, Indonesia; Ms Sandra WOHLAUF, Austria; Mr Pirun CHAN, Cambodia; and Ms Klara SOMMEROVA, Czech Republic.
A farewell address was given by Vice-Rector for Research of the University of Salamanca, Mr José Miguel MATEOS ROCO; HE Emilio de MIGUEL CALABIA, Director of Casa Asia; Mr David DONCEL ABAD, Head of the Master’s Degree in East Asian Studies of the University of Salamanca; Ms Teresa I. TEJEDA MARTÍN, Assistant Professor at the University of Salamanca; Ms Réka TOZSA, Director, Education Department, Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF); and Ms Freya CHOW- PAUL, Youth Project Lead, Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF). Saturday, 16 September finished with a guided tour of Salamanca for the participants.
The 5th ASEF Young Leaders Summit was organised by the Asia-Europe Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Spain, the University of Salamanca, and Casa Asia; with the financial support of the European Union; and with support from ASEAN Youth Organization, Erasmus Student Network (ESN), Student Think Tank for Europe Asia Relations (STEAR), All-China Youth Federation, European Students’ Forum (AEGEE-Europe), and the European Law Students’ Organisation (ELSA).