The YSEALI Academy will hold its special Information Session Webinar for the 2022 Technology and Innovation Seminar on Digitization of Trust.  

In the information session, participants will get to know about the Seminar’s curriculum and activities, as well as a live Q&A session with our YSEALI Academy’s team.  

The Information Session Webinar will be taken place on Friday, April 1st from 7PM to 8PM (Hanoi/Bangkok, GMT +7) via Zoom.  

Panelists:

Vladimir Mariano, PhD, YSEALI Academy, YSEALI Academy Lead Faculty for Technology and Innovation 
Huyen T. Tran, MA, YSEALI Academy Program Officer 
・Lai Cheng Wong, Manager at SEAMEO RESCAM, YSEALI Academy Alumni of 2021 Technology and Innovation Seminar  

Register to join us: https://bit.ly/YAinfowebinar  

To apply: https://yseali.fulbright.edu.vn/apply/ 

Seminar schedule: 

  • Enrollment: March 7 – April 7, 2022 
  • Announcement of Result: 29 April, 2022 
  • Seminar dates: May 30 – June 10, 2022 (two weeks, ten working days) 

In the two-week-long seminar on Digitization of Trust, the fellows will learn about A.I. technologies that redefine our concept of “trust” and how they are changing our society both beneficially and negatively.  The fellows will acquire skills to critique and carefully adopt current A.I. technologies as well as the ones they will encounter in the future. The major topics include: 

  • Understanding the Bias of A.I. and Its Influence on Decision Making 
  • The Rise of Synthetic and Manipulated Media 
  • Blockchain and the Automation of Trust 
  • Legal Implications of A.I. Decisions 

The seminar will be opened to 35 YSEALI Academy fellows who are young professionals between the ages of 25-40, highly qualified and motivated, from all 10 ASEAN member countries and Timor-Leste. Once selected, all participants will be fully funded by the U.S. Department of State to attend the seminar. The lectures, panels and teamwork sessions of the seminar will be mainly conducted in the afternoon and evening (GMT +7) with the expected participating time of 48 hours. 

Find out more about the seminar program HERE.

Lead Faculty for Technology and Innovation of the YSEALI Academy at Fulbright University Vietnam on the upcoming seminar for young leaders from Southeast Asia, the exponential progress of technology, and its implications for the future of the region.  

Vietnam has been home to Dr. Vladimir Mariano, a computer scientist, educator and entrepreneur, for seven years. The country is part of a journey spanning 34 years of efforts dedicated to technology, which began when he first learned how to code in a summer camp as a 14-year-old boy growing up in the Philippines. After completing his Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Mariano has held official posts at universities, startups and tech companies in the U.S., the Philippines and Vietnam. And now, with his recent appointment as Lead Faculty for Technology and Innovation of the YSEALI Academy at Fulbright University Vietnam, according Dr. Mariano, it is nothing short of a dream come true. 

“I dreamed of coming to Fulbright when it was first announced by [the then] U.S. President Barack Obama in 2016,” he said over our Zoom conversation. “I was excited. This is not just a new university. It is part of the history of the relationship between the two nations. To be part of this unfolding history is like a dream come true. I’m also very happy because it reconnects me back to the United States, where I got my Ph.D., where my family and I embraced and were welcomed by America.” 

1988 in Dr. Mariano’s home in the Philippines: “That’s me (left), my dad (center) and my brother (right). It was around this time that I discovered the wonder of computers and how to code them.”

But in fact, Dr. Mariano’s hope and vision for the future of education actually goes back to the year 1995, when the internet was first introduced in the Philippines. “[At that moment], we imagined it was going to revolutionize teaching and democratize knowledge,” he told us. “Unfortunately, higher education is not evolving and innovating at the pace of technological progress. It is still desperately trying to hold on to its old ways, emphasizing degrees, grades and courses.” And with the pandemic, he lamented, the inequality has been laid bare, and exacerbated, meaning students who don’t have computers, laptops, or internet access won’t be able to engage with schools.

“When I heard about Fulbright, and especially the YSEALI Academy, I thought maybe this is the place that will innovate, and affect change, in the way we learn,” he said. How can we overhaul the education system, in a way that prepares the next generations to face incredible challenges in uncertain times – is the question he kept coming back to in our conversation.

“As future leaders of Southeast Asia, young professionals need to be critical of technology’

Technology has made exponential progress since Dr. Mariano’s days in the Philippines. “[In 1988], watching how a computer can process so much information in so little time was like magic, and we were magicians who commanded this new machine,” he shared. “I decided there and then that it was going to be my career, being with this very interesting machine.” Yet he admitted, even with his decades-old experience, technology is developing so fast that one can’t possibly predict what’s going to happen next. “In 2030, my son will be at the age of 26. Still I can’t tell what jobs are going to be in demand, what skills will be needed in the workforce in the future,” he said. “A lot of that is dictated by technology. Considering how fast the world is changing, we have to understand how these powerful tools are influencing us.” 

Built on his observations and concerns in the field of AI, in particular machine learning and computer vision – his research expertise since doctoral years and later on, his ventures with tech companies, Dr. Mariano has chosen the theme of the upcoming YSEALI seminar to be “The Digitization of Trust”. 

Internship at the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute, Pittsburgh 2002. This was where Dr. Mariano saw university ideas and expertise get turned into products.

“What is trust?” in the digital age is one of the critical components he would like Southeast Asian fellows to discuss and explore in this seminal get-together between international scholars, industry experts, and future leaders of the region. “As young leaders, you’re going to lead yourself, and you’re going to lead other people,” he explained. “In order to lead, you have to make decisions. And those decisions have to be based on truth, and facts.”

You may recall the 2020 Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, which exposes viewers to how social media manipulate and distort our perception of reality through calculated design features, aggravate our most staunchly, deep-seated beliefs, to the point of spreading conspiracy theories and disinformation. “A lot of people believe that AI is neutral, that it’s not biased,” Dr. Mariano said. “But it’s actually behaving in a biased way. Biased to whom? What are the goals of AI? It is the same goal as the company behind them, who writes the algorithms to collect data and maximize profits.”

He continued: “We all know the internet has been beneficial to the democratization of information. But now AI has put that on steroids, in terms of its ability to propagate good information, as well as misinformation and disinformation.” Citing the fact that most people are now experiencing life through screens and smart devices, and the fact that online transactions make up a considerable portion of business worldwide, Dr. Mariano hopes the upcoming YSEALI seminar will shed light on AI as a substantial entity that is trying to “sway your opinion, or put your opinion in a certain place”.

“As a leader in Southeast Asia, what should you do? How do you swim in this ocean of information and  misinformation overload, in order to make a good decision for you and your people? I think it’s one of the biggest concerns now with artificial intelligence.”

Dr. Mariano: “There is this kid inside of me that doesn’t want to grow up. I love making and teaching robotics for kids” – 2021 in Vietnam.

The future of education through technology

While Dr. Mariano has had years of experience in the industry as co-founder and CTO of tech companies in the Philippines and Vietnam, education remains his true calling. “The idea that you can make a tech product out of what you’ve learnt in school, something that can be of use to people and also, you can make an earning out of that, was quite foreign to the students I was teaching in the Philippines many years back,” he shared. “What I learned from my work in the industry, I shared with them. I told my students, ‘This particular formula, or this algorithm, is important not just because you’re going to take a test, but I actually applied it to a company to solve a problem.’ Because of that, they do not forget it, regardless of their score in the test.” 

His ultimate goal is to inspire new generations with the beauty and creativity of technology. Alongside his work at the YSEALI Academy, Dr. Mariano is running MakerSpace Kids, an initiative where children can come together to learn how to design games and build robots. He believes these activities will help them master math, physics, coding and digital art from an early age – through the very things they love to play with and intuitively understand – and empower these children with the possibilities of ideas for the future. 

Dr. Mariano: “I enjoy watching kids discover the joy of coding. This 8-year-old kid learned Python by himself.” – 2020.

Otherwise, Dr. Mariano is also collaborating with the research team of the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management – lending his expertise in A.I. and digital image processing to a project that will analyze satellite images – to unveil changing landscapes and piece together stories on the ground about agriculture, forestry, and environment developments in Vietnam. “Technology has always been a two-edged sword; it has lots of benefits, but also risks,” he said. “It is a powerful tool for good. Now, when I say for good, one guide for it is the U.N. 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“Southeast Asia is particularly vulnerable to climate change, overpopulation in urban areas, and many, many other issues on our path towards economic development. At YSEALI Academy, we hope to empower fellows. Instead of being distracted by the latest cool apps on our phone, we should think about how technology can actually help solve the biggest problems in the region right now. That we should think regional, and together as a people.” he said. “To do that, we need to take control of technology. We have to be aware of its influences and adapt fast to changing tides, and know that regardless of your background, you don’t have to be just a consumer of technology, but you can make technology.”

Bao Quyen

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam—The YSEALI Academy at Fulbright University Vietnam (hereinafter the YSEALI Academy) officially announced the launch of its Technology and Innovation Seminar titled “The Digitization of Trust”. This seminar is now open for applications until April 7, 2022.

Launched in 2020, the YSEALI Academy’s main mission is to build capacity and enhance leadership skills for young professionals ages 25-40 from across Southeast Asia and Timor-Leste. Each year, the YSEALI Academy offers four seminars on Public Policy, Technology & Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The 2022 Technology and Innovation Seminar on Digitization of Trust is geared towards young leaders who are interested in learning how their decisions are affected by A.I. technologies that facilitate trust between people and machines.

Over the course of two weeks, the fellows will learn about A.I. technologies that redefine our concept of “trust” and how they are changing our society both beneficially and negatively.  The fellows will acquire skills to critique and carefully adopt current A.I. technologies as well as the ones they will encounter in the future. The YSEALI Academy will be inviting high-profile speakers and panelists who are shaping these A.I. technologies or are in the frontlines of the societal disruptions caused by technologies.  Besides lectures, leadership skill workshops will provide the fellows useful knowledge and sharpen up their abilities in making decisions and solving dilemmas as new A.I. technologies present incredible benefits but start to disrupt their organization.  The seminar will culminate in an awards ceremony followed by the graduation of the YSEALI Academy fellows. The major topics include:

  • Understanding the Bias of A.I. and Its Influence on Decision Making
  • The Rise of Synthetic and Manipulated Media
  • Blockchain and the Automation of Trust
  • Legal Implications of A.I. Decisions

The Technology and Innovation Seminar on “The Digitization of Trust” will be opened to 35 YSEALI Academy fellows who are young professionals between the ages of 25-40, highly qualified and motivated, from all 10 ASEAN member countries and Timor-Leste. Once selected, all participants will be fully funded by the U.S. Department of State to attend the seminar. The lectures, panels and teamwork sessions of the seminar will be mainly conducted in the afternoon and evening (GMT +7) with the expected participating time of 48 hours.

Due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, this seminar will be conducted online.

Seminar schedule:

  • Enrollment: March 7 – April 7, 2022
  • Announcement of Result: 29 April, 2022
  • Seminar dates: May 30 – June 10, 2022 (two weeks, ten working days)

To find out more about the seminar program: https://yseali.fulbright.edu.vn/en/seminars/technology-and-innovation/

To apply: https://yseali.fulbright.edu.vn/apply/

“New technologies, particularly those related to A.I., have the incredible ability to affect our decisions.  As the youth of Southeast Asia rapidly embrace new technologies, the young leaders need to be at the forefront of critiquing these new tools, maximizing their benefits for their organizations while mitigating the risks.” Vladimir Y. Mariano, PhD – Lead Faculty for Technology and Innovation at the YSEALI Academy.

The Public Policy Seminar, the first of four seminars organized by the YSEALI Academy at Fulbright in 2022, will take place virtually from March 14 to March 25. YSEALI Academy is still receiving applications until January 09, 2022.

Environment issues and the role of policy in Southeast Asia: A quick overview

Historically endowed with landscapes of wildlife diversity, beguiling beaches, and luxuriant forests; home to some of the most populated yet culturally vibrant and economically exciting cities in the world; Southeast Asia stands, however, as one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change. According to the Global Climate Risk Index, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Thailand are among the top 10 countries most affected by impacts of weather-related loss events from 2000 to 2019. Devastating typhoons and floods, unpredictable rain patterns and dry spells, rising sea levels and warmer temperatures  – these are the critical threats that imminently (or already) turn the lives of the region’s population of more than 640 million upside down, whose dwellings are heavily established on the countries’ elongated coastal lines. 

While carbon emissions in Southeast Asia are comparatively lower than that of developed countries in Asia, the acceleration of economic development and urbanization – which entails rising energy demands of coal and oil-fired power plants, deforestation, air pollution, water and food wastes  – has put the region under contentious strains between temporal prosperity and generational sustainability.

The importance of policy – in favor of solving national and regional environmental challenges, while securing and advancing the livelihoods of our people, and at the same time, preserving our precious natural resources and ensuring the future of our next generations – in this case, is not simply restricted to the court of public opinion or solely ascribed to the few hands of elected government officials. An effective environmental policy can be analyzed, drafted, implemented, and committed from members within any organization – not only public agencies  – but also from private international corporations to local businesses and nonprofit institutions, in order to spark positive change from the ground up. 

What are the critical steps to implement a deliverable policy within your organization? What are the most pressing environmental issues that the countries of Southeast Asia are facing at the moment? How will these issues affect us all? How can we hone our leadership skills in order to speak, communicate, and effectively convince stakeholders of the problems and the plans we aim to solve these issues? It is at the YSEALI Academy’s Public Policy seminar that we hope you’ll be informed, inspired, and endeavor to change the world.    

The Public Policy Seminar on Regional Environment and Resilient Development: A deep dive into the curriculum

The aim of the two-week Public Policy seminar on “Regional Environment and Resilient Development” is to provide young professionals and future leaders from Southeast Asia with an overview of environmental challenges to Southeast Asia and how to cope with them by (and for) resilient development. 

With interactive lectures, panel discussions and leadership workshops, the seminar will be academically rigorous yet experientially practical to the Fellow’s future endeavors. The seminar’s curriculum – developed and delivered by faculty from Fulbright, international and regional academic scholars from leading universities, and industry experts from MNCs with diverse experiences of the region – will provide Fellows with once-in-a-lifetime, intensive discussion with the most prominent names in the field. In 2021, the YSEALI Academy was honored to have distinguished speakers such as Nobel Laureate, Professor Muhammad Yunus; world-renowned computational psychologist Sandra Matz; and Stephanie Davis, Vice President of Google Southeast Asia; among many others, to deliver inspiring and insightful talks during the course of our seminars. 

At the upcoming seminar on “Regional Environment and Resilient Development”, critical environmental issues facing Southeast Asia will be explored through economic and policymaking perspectives. Prominent speakers will include Dr. David Dapice and Professor Edward Cunningham of Harvard Kennedy School;  Professor Edmund Malesky of Duke University; Professor Wil Burns of  Northwestern University; and Brian Eyler, Energy, Water, Sustainability Program Director, Southeast Asia Program Director, The Stimson Center; among many others. At such, the seminar will be divided into four topics:

– Introduction, macroeconomic frameworks, and policy tools for environmental management and resilient development. This section introduces frameworks and policy tools to examine and analyze environmental issues in Southeast Asia. It will also address the approaches to cope with environmental challenges through resilient development e.g. carbon intensity in exports, carbon tax, nature conservation and biodiversity, sustainable cities or agriculture.

– Environmental trends, issues, and resilient development. This part provides an overview of the Southeast Asian environmental landscape, including emerging trends, issues, and policies for resilient development.

– Air, soil, and water environment: from the Lower Mekong Region to the South China Sea. This section deep dive into various environmental problems extending from the Lower Mekong Region to the South China Sea. It will analyze pertinent challenges to the air, soil and water environment, including impacts of coal-power plants, waste management, upstream hydropower projects, water security, water governance, coastal environment, marine ecology.

– Climate change in the 21st century: Past observation, future projection, and potential impacts. This part focuses on climate change and related themes such as emission, global warming, sea level rise as well as their impacts on Southeast Asia, particularly the coastal cities and regions. It will also address Southeast Asian/ASEAN cooperation on environment and the COP 26 meeting.

The YSEALI Academy at Fulbright: A platform for future leaders of Southeast Asia to connect and build a better future together

Launched in 2013, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is the U.S. government’s signature program to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. YSEALI seeks to build the leadership capabilities of youth in the region, strengthen ties between the United States and Southeast Asia, and nurture an ASEAN community. 

Over the next 5 years, the YSEALI Academy at Fulbright aims to deliver 16-20 high-quality seminars to rising leaders (Fellows) across Southeast Asia. Centered on the main themes of technology & innovation, public policy, and entrepreneurship, these seminars will address challenging issues facing the region, while creating lasting professional relationships between Fellows of different nationalities and fostering skills which can be applied in their careers.

From Nuzulia Fajriningrum, a YSEALI alumni from Indonesia who participated in 2021’s seminar on Energy Economics and Policy: “The seminar exposed me to a brand-new perspective and enriched my capacity on energy, economics, and policy. Not only did the lecturers share knowledge as leading experts in the energy sector, but they also gave clear explanations and practical approaches for us to thoroughly comprehend the topics.”

Dr. Sheena Ramazanu, a YSEALI fellow from Singapore, remarked: “One thing that I will always keep in my heart is the network of people who we meet in our life, how essential they are. In other words, your network is your net worth. To solve a particular world problem, it will not be possible if we work in silos. When we come together from Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar or the Philippines, we’re not only representing our countries. Beyond that, we’re sharing an ASEAN identity.”

Lai Cheng Wong from Malaysia, said: “I’m thankful that YSEALI Academy at Fulbright University Vietnam put me in a team with a group of  people with different backgrounds and interests. They were right. A team with diverse interests and different cultural values offers a wide range of thought processes and perspectives. So don’t fear conflict, welcome it for its innovative power. There is a very powerful source for learning and innovation that comes into play when different people come together.”

Key information for the YSEALI Academy’s Public Policy Seminar on Regional Environment and Resilient Development 

The Public Policy seminar on Regional Environment and Resilient Development will be open to 35 YSEALI fellows who are young professionals with interests in environmental development, environmental science and sustainability. Once selected, all participants will be fully funded by the U.S. Department of State. 

Joining this seminar, Fellows are expected to commit at least 36 hours for online activities and approximately 12 additional hours for individual and group assignments over a period of 2 weeks. Therefore, participants are recommended to take two working weeks off their ordinary work duties or other commitments to participate efficiently in and achieve the most from the Seminar.

Seminar schedule:

  • Enrollment: December 13, 2021 – January 9, 2022 
  • Participant selection announced: February 8, 2022 
  • Seminar dates: March 14 – 25, 2022 (two weeks, ten working days, Monday – Friday) 

To find out more about the seminar program: https://yseali.fulbright.edu.vn/en/seminars/seminars-2022/public-policy-march-2022/

 To apply: https://yseali.fulbright.edu.vn/apply/ 

Lai Cheng Wong was a Fellow of the Technology and Innovation seminar, held virtually by the YSEALI Academy at Fulbright in September 2021. As a manager at SEAMEO RECSAM (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization – Regional Centre for Education in Science and Mathematics) with over 12-year pursuit in education, she brought to the seminar a passion to transform the future workforce from digital users to producers for a safe, beneficial and respectful digital environment.

Lai Cheng Wong was born in Penang, Malaysia, and was influenced by her parents’ hard work and faith in education. “My parents once said education is a gift of a lifetime for every child. My effort to pursue higher education is the gift that I give back to my parents,” Wong shares. She obtained her master’s degree in Corporate Social Responsibility from Universiti Sains Malaysia. However, she has to delay her Ph.D. because currently, she is wearing too many hats –  a wife, a mother, a guest lecturer, a manager at SEAMEO RECSAM, and a co-founder of Media Information Literacy for ASEAN Network (MIL for ASEAN Network).  

Her career in education started in 2007 at a renowned private university college in Malaysia where she served as a Communications executive and later, a guest lecturer. Yet it was not until she joined the YSEALI Professional Fellowship in 2015 in the United States that she felt empowered to be a part of a solution to solve her community’s issues related to education. Thanks to the experiences and connections from that fellowship, she established the MIL for ASEAN Network with the funding support from the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and Penang Institute aiming to raise media and information literacy skills and counter media misinformation & disinformation and cyber safety issues in classrooms.  Various initiatives have been run to boost teachers’ confidence in dealing with the fast-evolving media so that our future generation can participate meaningfully in the growing digital society and economy. 

Wong joined the YSEALI Professional Fellowship Program in the U.S, Fall 2015

“Scams are becoming more sophisticated and many people fall victim to them. A friend of mine was a victim of an online scam receiving fake messages via a social media platform from a person who claimed to be an official agent from a famous airline loyalty programme. He lost an amount of money. But the critical point here is why a young tech-savvy person can easily fall for a wrong call. Our resources are focusing on changing technology but not investing enough in the online safety of our next generation. To keep ourselves safe from cybercrime and knowing how criminals are using information obtained, we need to teach our future generations about what they’re sharing online and what good cyber hygiene looks like – that is why digital citizenship and media & information literacy in schools is vital, so they can keep themselves, and their identities safe,” Wong shares. This story motivated her to participate in the Technology and Information seminar, to discuss not only the advantages but also the challenges we may confront in the era of digital transformation. 

Promoting teachers as the agents of change

The pandemic has deeply changed the world’s ecosystem and interactions, and education is not an exception to this trend. Being an educator, Wong realized how crucial it is to create well-informed and safe virtual classrooms for students. She believes that teachers are the agents of change who have transformed classrooms through technology, nurture students’ capabilities to adopt new technology, expose them to differentiate falsehoods from facts, and give them a safe space in the fast-moving digital ecosystem.

Everything was overwhelming at the beginning,” Wong reflects about her first time participating in a technology-focused seminar with the latest in-depth knowledge about Big Data, the Internet of Things, Machine Learning, and Data Science. As the seminar progressed, she found the topics getting closer to her current works and personal advocacy, especially the lecture: Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence of Things for Smarter Communities shared by Johan Barthelemy, University of Wollongong Australia. It helped her realize the importance of promoting citizen acceptability and their involvement in the projects designed for their communities. 

The Media and Information Literacy workshop for teachers across the Malaysia and Philippines, a funded alumni project from Techcamp Malaysia, March 2021

Having worked with a diverse network of teachers in the ASEAN region, she has faced the challenge of how to design her training contents relevant to their local context and suitable to their capabilities. “Most of them are not ready for the digital transformation and lack of knowledge and experience regarding cyberspace and the importance of digital citizenship in order to promote responsible online behavior,” Wong says. Her ultimate goal is to raise teachers’ awareness and understanding of media literacy and digital citizenship, thus the teachers can become the agents of change in their communities to better protect their students against cyber-risks and be ready for the future of digitalization. 

A memorable interdisciplinary collaboration – “YSEALI Academy and Fulbright are right!”

I had known interdisciplinary approaches before but when I was put in the team with [people from] different backgrounds, I was surprised since I expected to be paired with a team that shares common interest in education,”  Wong shares. However, in the midst of doubts, she remembered a powerful quote in the leadership workshop within this seminar: “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower” and decided to approach the problem differently – fixing the way they collaborated to optimize one another’s potentials. 

Since each of her teammates has an individual interest varied from finance, business, data science to healthcare and hers being education, they had made a surprising decision on their topic: E-Wallet – an everyday life application, a contemporary cross-national innovation, and most importantly, the one and only area that they have shared-knowledge. 

From my side, instead of focusing on cyber safety in education, I shifted it to the safety concern of E-Wallet. It is also aligned with my principle to view ‘cyber safety’ as a life lesson which transcends the limitations of the schooling system,” Wong recalls. 

Her team won the Best Project Award at Technology and Innovation seminar, September 2021

According to the findings from her team’s research, 40% of respondents have been the victims of classical scam methods via SMS or email. Therefore, one of the recommendations given in their presentation was: Government and E-Wallet providers should offer digital security literacy workshops and campaigns to educate users and merchants about fraud attempts and scams and encourage trust and adoption of technology.

I’m thankful that YSEALI Academy at Fulbright University Vietnam put me in a team with a group of  people with different backgrounds and interests. They were right. A team with diverse interests and different cultural values offers a wide range of thought processes and perspectives. So don’t fear conflict, welcome it for its innovative power. There is a very powerful source for learning and innovation that comes into play when different people come together,”  Wong stresses.

Her team eventually won the Best Project Award and was encouraged by Dr. Le Vu Quan to further develop it on a bigger scale since only a limited amount of research about E-Wallet has been conducted in the regional context. The experience also changed her way of approaching her current and future projects: “Diverse mindsets being involved to solve challenges in education is what I aim for. I would love to understand new perspectives from the stakeholders in other fields.” 

A passion fired by trust and support

It has made me unstoppable since the day I joined the YSEALI Professional Fellowship. My commitment to my community grew even stronger during and after the Technology and Innovation Seminar. Not only did the seminar offer knowledge, but also the following opportunities,” Wong affirms. After the Seminar,  Wong will be running a webinar on Digital Citizenship  and Internet Safety for teachers across the SEAMEO region. The project requires her to work with Google APAC and DQ Institute in Singapore to define the challenges of online learning experiences in schools, cultivate digital citizens and construct safe and responsible learning environments.

Wong participated in President Obama’s Town Hall, YSEALI Summit 2015

Although the Technology and Innovation seminar lasted only two weeks and was held virtually, it established a strong bond among Fellows, which became a foundation for ongoing networking until today. “Being part of the YSEALI Academy’s Fellows community is so great because I became more confident to face and surpass all challenges I may encounter in the future. It was life-changing to meet all my mentors and lecturers who trained me to acquire knowledge in digital transformation. YSEALI Academy gave us so much courage and strength to pursue our dreams through the power of collaborations. By sharing information, resources and capabilities, we can achieve great things together that we could never achieve alone,” Wong shares.  

Wong and other Malaysian fellows at YSEALI-ICMA Professional Fellowship, Fall 2015

She hopes that YSEALI Academy and Fulbright University Vietnam will continue to provide more and better opportunities for Southeast Asian young leaders to be part of its programs and activities. Sharing of ideas and experiences among Fellows from different backgrounds, contexts, and countries, enhance the learning experiences and serve as great motivators to encourage visions of change in Southeast Asia. 

An Binh