• Breaking News

    Monday, January 22, 2018

    2018 will be the year to strengthen friendship and collaboration among young people involved in Asia and Pacific Administration

    Gilang Ardana, IYF Regional Director, Asia & Pacific

    Interview with Gilang Ardana, IYF Regional Director, Asia & Pacific

    Why did you decide to commit your time and energy to the IYF? Describe your passion for the IYF mission.
    I am an activist working for greater youth participation in development and social sector. For the last five years, I’ve been working to strengthen the capacity of youth and youth organizations to advancing their impact and also providing avenue so that youth can have discussions with policymakers to discuss the changes they want to see in their society. Bottom line is, I have much faith in youth collective action and will be consistently ensuring their participation is welcomed.

    That is why, when the IYF offered me to be the Regional Director for Asia and Pacific, I took it right away as I know IYF and I shared the same vision. Knowing the region accounted for more than 60% of youth global population, I know that this will be that one position that enables me to reach out to more young people and mobilize action that can actually lead to a global movement. I also have a passion for learning so this will help me a lot to gain knowledge from many remarkable young leaders in the region.

    When did your love for NGOs blossom and why? 
    The love for social activities and youth activism blossomed during my time as a university student. I was joining a volunteer teacher program organized by a student community to teach underprivileged teenagers in my university surrounding. I go there once every two weeks in the evening and I’m greeted by more than a dozen students who are patiently waiting with a book and a pencil in their hands.  What we did may be a simple thing to do –giving up bits of our free time to teach simple math. But the impact is that powerful as the teenagers regained their confidence in learning and commitment to making their lives better. 

    It is like an eye-opening experience for me to witness how small things done by youth can have such a powerful impact on others. The passion to mobilize greater youth action continued to grow when I was elected later to lead the Student Union in my university.

    When I graduated to pursue my passion, I decided to found an NGO focused on youth participation in the social sector. For the last three years, the NGO has helped many young leaders in Indonesia through series of incubation and volunteering programs. We also provide capacity building sessions for youth organizations and youth social movements so they can grow their organization to further their impact.

    What are the characteristics of a great Regional Director?
    I believe a great Regional Director should be the one who is accountable and always willing to learn. Accountable because the job requires a high-level of commitment. A regional director needs to ensure every young person joining the Federation that having the best learning experience will help them develop their skills. 

    A regional director should be also the one that is willing to learn and listen to others. We need to be accommodative to encourage young people to make a change. In the Asia Pacific region, there will be 50+ country representatives. This means 50+ different issues and 50+ different solutions to solve the issue. Being a good listener will help the team to focus on the right problem and advance positive impact.  

    What are you doing to inspire the region that you lead?
    By holding firm to the principle that it is not about me or us (the regional team), but about them. I consistently make sure the young people in the region have a platform to make their voice heard. I always explore any means of advancing communication with youth in the region, to hear their inputs and priorities so IYF can help create an intervention to address their concerns. Our recruitment process also emphasizes that we are going the extra mile to ensure we reach out to minorities and the underrepresented. By providing that, I know that it will be their motivation to not lose hope but to speak up. No matter what, IYF Asia Pacific is committed to being the one that listens and is willing to create a change together with them.

    If you were to choose one SDG that inspires you the most, what would that be and why?
    I choose Goal 17 as it introduces the spirit of collaboration in the SDGs. The way the goal inspires me as youth is to be a reminder that our works in the SDGs should not be done alone. Collaboration matters. That’s what we should aim for. The spirit of Goal 17 also pushes me to go beyond my comfort zone and to continue to explore any possible collaboration with other youths. 

    Are you dedicated to helping country members grow during your tenure? How?
    100% yes. That is actually a commitment I made whenever I recruit someone to be a country representative.

    It is like a mantra for us in the Asia Pacific that our work-plan is actually “our country representatives”. As an organization works on youth empowerment, IYF’s vision to empower young people should start from within. That’s a principle we hold dear as a team as we believe an empowered youth will create another empowered youth.

    In every interview I have with country representative candidates, I always ask them “What issues are you passionate to work on” or “What is a change you want to create in your society?” It is simply because I want to empower them to make that change a reality while also enabling them to learn a lot from the process. The regional team will try its best to be their partner by providing the right resources and advice and equipping them with a solid ground to make a change.  

    What does performance mean to you?
    Performance means working smarter, not harder. That’s what I believe. This is essentially important for a leader as they need to believe that good performance is not about you achieving your goal as an individual, rather it is when you can achieve collective goals by empowering others to work together on a shared vision. As a leader, you need to trust your followers so you can maximize delegating tasks and responsibilities to achieve greater performance.

    What are your plans for 2018? 
    As we grow as an organization, I would like to make sure 2018 will be the year to strengthen friendship and collaboration among young people involved in Asia and Pacific Administration. One of the things myself and my regional team would like to achieve this year is to facilitate knowledge exchange across countries and to continue to spread awareness of the SDGs at grass root level. We would like to provide a sharing session between our country representatives and also encourage IYF national teams to provide mentorship for young people in their country. Series of campaigns on SDGs also planned for this year.

    To make sure we continue to further our impact, we aim to have more country representatives joining us in the network and will be searching many young figures to join the regional teams. For sure, 2018 will be an interesting year for Asia Pacific team! Looking forward to meeting many great young leaders joining us

    Where do you see the IYF in five years?
    A home where young people’s voices are being heard.
    A home where young people take meaningful action to shape the world they want.

    That is what I envisioned IYF is going to be in the next five years. We start small, but with a big dream. I myself saw how IYF expanded in the last few years and I know that this organization has a big potential to make a change that matters in the world.  Of course, it is my hope that we will reach full countries representation in our Federation and make sure we leave no one behind. I really wish, in the next five years, that I will be reading these answers with a big smile on my face –knowing that we achieved what we wanted to achieve and made meaningful changes in our society.  

    Why should young people keep an eye on the IYF?
    Because IYF does not belong to us (the IYF team), but to them. I’d rather introduce IYF as a global movement of young people and that’s why their participation is important for us to move forward.  It’s just the right time for us young people to shape the world we really want. 

    IYF will always strive to be that platform for you so you can collaborate with other young change-makers across the globe to make change happen! 

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