The Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) of the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) in collaboration with PUNLA, a people’s organization in Los Banos, held a Youth Leadership Capacity Building on 19 November 2022 at the UPOU CCDL-Sandbox, Los Baños, Laguna. With her presentation entitled “Building Leadership Habits”, Dr. Joane V. Serrano, FMDS Dean and Professor, gained the youth’s appreciation for self-reflection and relying on one’s competency. Dr. Serrano emphasized the importance of realizing the need for openness, accountability, and transparency to an extent in becoming an effective leader. Most essentially, she reminded the participants that leaders do not just become one simply because they refer to themselves as leaders nor is it a product of their circumstances. But instead, true and effective leaders are built through time who can balance optimism with hard truths.
Dr. Serrano, who has been an advocate of youth empowerment and edification, presents a framework for youth development designed for young aspiring leaders to seize it. She also introduced the term “Ikigai” – a Japanese concept that means one’s reason for being.
On the other hand, Ms. Erma S. Tidon, PUNLA’s representative, focused on the enhancement of listening skills. Through a participatory workshop filled with motivational lessons of becoming better individuals and colleagues, Ms. Tidon touched the hearts of the youth and helped them realize the critical importance of creating space for soft skills, which include communications skills, time management, and problem-solving skills, in the self-actualization of young leaders.
Nineteen (19) youth leaders of Los Baños participated in the said activity. This activity is part of UPOU’s public service to address one of the most pressing issues in youth leadership development. By providing free access to support and capacity building to youth leaders, FMDS-UPOU hopes to empower the youth in navigating positive change in society. Coaching and mentoring the youth is deemed fundamental to inspire a society that values good governance, leadership, and collective action. FMDS-UPOU believes that through this collaborative activity, it would encourage a culture of solidarity among different stakeholders in the community to play an important role in youth empowerment; characterized by efforts that help them be involved, whether in their education, community programs, and support services. UPOU, which calls itself the university of the future, believes that being agile and flexible without an effective leader at the helm of transformative change is beyond the bounds of possibility.