‘Reimagine hope,’ JAZA urges youth

In what way can the youth continue to be a driving force in improving the lives of Filipino, even in the face of uncertainty and various calamities?

Delivering the keynote at an online conference organized by the alumni of the Ayala Young Leaders Congress (AYLC) on February 27, Ayala Corporation Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala urged young leaders all over the country to “reimagine hope,” as a way to power through the changes faced by communities and the rest of the country.

“I share the belief that hope indeed springs eternal, especially in challenging situations,” said Zobel de Ayala. “However, I believe that hope is not about being passive and just waiting for good fortune to come. Hope, I believe, requires determination, action, and inspiration.

The conference was one of several online events organized for the 1,685 members of the AYLC alumni network as well as their partners and supporters. Through this initiative, AYLC aims to open up opportunities for collaboration and collective action in the service of communities nationwide. Administered by Ayala Foundation, AYLC is the Ayala group’s
flagship youth development program.

Zobel recalled that in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, people and countries had to deal with a lot of ambiguity and fear, but over time “institutions and individuals slowly came together and bravely faced the unknown.”

Through initiatives like Project Ugnayan, the Ayala group and its partners from the business sector provided food aid for over 14 million individuals in the Greater Metro Manila Area during the early months of the pandemic. In addition, the Ayala group provided financial support for its employees, as well as the employees of partner organizations.

Said Zobel: ”Along with many others, determination amidst ambiguity and a bias toward action, rather than just standing still were among the driving factors to Ayala’s COVID-19 response. As an institution, we felt that we could meaningfully help in mitigating the pandemic’s impact, and we were fortunate to find partners who shared this belief and commitment.”

In his talk, Zobel also recognized the initiatives led by AYLC alumni, who transformed compassion into action in the face of various challenges.

These included the Malong for Marawi project, which gathered aid for people and communities displaced by the 2017 Battle for Marawi; the 20:20 project, where AYLC alumni raised funds for projects implemented by young leaders from Ayala Foundation’s Leadership Communities program; and the continuing support of AYLC alumni in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, in packing and delivering relief items for communities
devastated by typhoons and other natural calamities.

Zobel also challenged the AYLC community to “find inspiration and embrace greater collaboration among each other, between different alumni chapters, and perhaps even across AYLC generations.”

Aside from Zobel, the event also featured three AYLC alumni who shared their own takes on “reimagining hope,” and how this might be harnessed for the greater good. These were Ria Salvana (AYLC 1999), who spoke about her experience in the private and business sector; Elvin Uy (2003), who shared his story as an educator and active member of the not-for-profit sector; and Tobit Cruz (AYLC 2010), who spoke about hope as experienced in local government service.

Launched in 1998, AYLC is an annual student leadership summit designed to build confidence, hone leadership skills, nurture commitment, foster nationalism and idealism, and encourage faithful stewardship.

For its 23rd congress, AYLC is accepting applications from March 1 to April 4, 2021. Visit
the official Facebook page of the Ayala Young Leaders Congress for details.