Empowering young leaders in Thailand

Ploytip Wanitmaniboot is the Thailand Coordinating Ambasssador for One Young World. She was instrumental in the design and delivery of the Thai Young Leaders Programme - a centrepiece of One Young World's legacy in Thailand. Ploy works for the Future Innovative Thailand Institute, an organisation that facilitates development in the Thai public and private sectors.

Bringing the world to Thailand

All of you may already know that the One Young World Summit is coming to Bangkok this year. This is the first time One Young World is being hosted in an Asian city and we want to make it special. The Governor of Bangkok stated that he wanted to make talented young Thais the largest delegation that at the Summit. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and One Young World have joined forces to find and empower Thailand’s most impactful young leaders through the Thai Young Leaders Programme (TYLP). The BMA are generously sponsoring 100 delegates from all corners of Thailand.

The BMA’s main local partner to conduct this programme is Thailand Social Enterprise Organisation (TSEO) whose objective is to support all 100 One Young World Thai delegates to be ready for the One Young World Summit in November. On top of that, the programme centres around “Social Enterprise”, giving delegates the skills they need to launch impactful social ventures. In the run up to the Summit, TYLP is organising two main activities:

1) The Thai Young Leaders Camp: a 3-day intensive camp giving 100 delegates the skills they need to launch their own social ventures.

2) The Leadership Programme: where all delegates will have the opportunity to meet and network with their local role model in different fields, including policy makers, business people and social entrepreneurs.

The recruitment process was a completely transparent to ensure that young leaders from all over Thailand were represented. Applications were launched on 15 August through social media, public advertisement, media interviews, a press conference and a cross-country road show.

Being the host and main sponsor, the BMA has put a lot of effort to promote this programme by placing advertising banners on the main public transportation network in Bangkok. In addition, the programme also received very a lot of support from private sector partners.

Gradually, One Young World and the Thai Young Leaders Programme gained traction in Thai media. Several TV programmes invited representatives to talk about both events. Before applications closed on 13 September, the TSEO held a press conference on 11 September to make sure that young leaders from all over Thailand knew about this amazing opportunity. On the same evening, the Prime Minister delivered a national broadcast that invited Thai young people to apply, and to welcome all One Young World delegates with the best of Thai hospitality.

The selection process

The selection process was extremely competitive. We received over 1,500 applications from all 77 provicines in Thailand. The programme was very successful promoted to regional areas of Thailand was because the roadshow visited the 10 most prominent universities countrywide, from north to south, east to west. The roadshows were set and run by TV Burabha. We visited Ubon Ratchathani, Songkla, Nakorn Pathom, Pitsanulok, Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Surat Thani, Pattani, Udorn Thani and Chiang Rai. Not only did the roadshows receive great support from universities, but One Young World Ambassadors were on hand to share their experiences with potential applicants.

The application for Thai Young Leader Programme closed on 13 September. The intense application reviewing started right away. The entire process was a blind and transparent - the Thai volunteers assessing applications did not have access to details about each applicant's gender, age, university attended, family name or place of birth. This was to ensure that every Thai young person who applied to attend had an equal chance of being selected.

Then, the Governor of Bangkok did the final selection. The Govenor himself did the press conference announced 100 selected delegates on 21 September. Each of them get a place to attend Thai Young Leaders Programme, and a guaranteed place at the One Young World Summit Bangkok 2015.

Empowering the brightest young leaders

During the 3-day camp on 24 - 26 September, participants are split into nineteen teams, according to their interests. People's focuses ranged from poverty, the environment, education and healthcare. Every participant learnt about social enterprise from speakers who are successfully entrepreneurs in Thailand. They also had interactive, practical sessions in a Design Operation Process Workshop, where each team had to come up with problems, looked at them in different dimension, then tried to find solution to those problems where they forced to step out of the box and came up with innovative ideas. On the last day, each team had to pitch their projects in front of eight well-known and experienced practitioners from non-profit organisations, the private sector, medias, academia, and policy making. Finally, the judges choose the best 10 teams, who received seed money to continue to develop their idea, but most important, they also get expert mentors to support the creation of an impactful social venture.

As part of the leadership of the programme, all 100 delegates also get to visit the leaders in the field that they are most interested. This means that that they will get to meet the local and national leaders first, before they get to meet the world leaders and change makers on One Young World stage. These delegates will so get a simulate feeling how they will choose internal and external breakout sessions for the actual Summit. These delegates have the opportunity to meet and network with a Former Prime Minister, Former ASEAN Secretary, famous local change makers, and CEOs of leading Thai corporations at the Bangkok stock exchange.

I am very proud that these 100 smart and diligent young leaders will be part of our One Young World Thai Ambassadors Family. We cannot wait to support them with their changemaking initiatives across Thailand.