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Monday, 19 March 2018

Joseph Phan Van Quyen chosen as one ASEAN young leaders to meet former U.S President Barack Obama at roundtable discussion in Singapore

19 March 2018 – Joseph Phan Van Quyen (23), who took part in the ASEAN Foundation Model ASEAN Meeting (AFMAM) 2017 and was the first winner of the 2nd ASEAN Youth Video Contest 2016, was one of the lucky ASEAN young leaders to meet former U.S President Barack Obama at roundtable discussion in Singapore.

In the roundtable discussion, Mr. Obama took the opportunity to hear about the work the young leaders are currently doing for their communities, and to discuss what the Obama Foundation can do to support their journeys to create change. They also brainstormed about how emerging leaders across ASEAN countries can work together to promote sustainable growth.

Being chosen as the representative of Vietnam to meet Mr. Obama was a great honor and a rare opportunity for Jos. He was delighted to have the opportunity to present his project to other young leaders, especially to the former U.S. President Barack Obama. The project which he presented goes by the name of "Ethnic Viet". It is a project that preserves and promotes the culture and values of ethnic minorities' motifs to help them get a stable life and to achieve sustainable development goal.

This is a combination of the five-year volunteering in helping the ethnic minority and three-year passion for graphic design. This project is also looking forward to the cooperation from ASEAN young leaders to be a platform for preserving and promoting the cultural values not only of individual countries but of ASEAN as a whole.

“I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change - but yours,” said Mr. Obama. This is the quote that captivated Jos the most during a talk with the former president at Roundtable discussion with 10 young leaders from ASEAN countries in Singapore last 19 of March.


In the presence of Mr. Obama and 10 delegates, Jos had the opportunity to introduce himself as well as his team projects about their current and future works. At the same time, Jos had the opportunity to listen to other delegates and their wonderful projects which gave him lots of inspiration and motivation.

Jos enthusiastically welcomed the friendly nature and openness of Mr. Obama as he was also willing to listen to their opinions and thoughts. A conversation took place in a very close but effective atmosphere.

"I was probably the youngest of the other delegates. I have not had much experience in leading and organising social projects professionally. But I was fascinated by the breakthrough ideas from others in the event. I have learned a lot of amazing things from Mr. Obama and my discussions with other delegates and I believe this experience has made me more confident to continue what I am doing to bring values to the community I am living in. This was the first time I met Mr. Obama, and the fact that I was managed to converse with him face to face in an international level forum that involved selected young leaders in ASEAN was truly a privilege and honor to me!" said Jos enthusiastically.

The program ended with an open forum with Mr. Ben, the representative of the Obama Foundation, who discussed about the needs to build and develop a network of young leaders to help each other to grow further. They were also introduced to the Obama Foundation's programs and its plans to inspire and motivate young people and engage them to make the world a better place. After this dialogue, delegates continued to discuss with each other and with the Obama Foundation to come up with plans to encourage the comprehensive development of youth in the ASEAN community.

This was a tremendous and valuable opportunity for Jos to be able to talk to Mr. Obama and other talented young leaders across ASEAN region. He hoped that this event could be his starting point to realise his dreams and objectives to improve himself and achieve many things in the future. Through this kind of event, He believe he could learn more things and get more experiences to bring more values to the community and become an active citizen with a profoundly optimistic commitment to building the world we want to see.