Out of 2,137 applicants from 38 countries, Far Eastern University’s Hazel Baek, a student at the Institute of Education (IE) was selected as the lone student representative from the Philippines to join the 49 delegates to the prestigious 2nd Youth Leadership Workshop on Global Citizenship Education (GCED). This was organized by the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU) and United Nations Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) at the Busan University of Foreign Studies in Busan, Republic of Korea on July 12 to 16, 2016.

“Each of us is a global citizen; therefore, what can I do for the FEU is to help develop global champions among students, by sharing what I’ve learned through forums or workshops and their connection to the network of global citizens,” said Baek. “I realized that no race, age, gender nor religion can hinder a global citizen to love and respect one another. We should always know our ‘why’ and ‘for whom’ we are doing selfless service in order to feel genuine happiness,” she reiterated.

Baek completed capacity building workshops and international dialogues with her counterparts from North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, Latin America, Middle East, and North Africa. “I now have a better understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), of leadership strategies to implement the GCED, and of the need to establish a GCED Youth Network,” she said.

Asked about her competitive edge during the selection, Baek said: “The organizing team assessed how global a citizen you were, are and can be. Looking back, I believe I was selected because I was an advocate for cultural sensitivity from different walks of life. I did volunteer work for mixed race children and refugees so that they could learn how to speak English and have a greater chance for social inclusion. Another advantage was my upbringing in a multi-cultural household, which helped me understand both the benefits and downside of diversity.”

Dean Myrna P. Quinto, says IE’s role: “The field studies trained our students such as Baek to observe, mingle, and facilitate the learnings of a diverse set of students. She also had the chance to mingle with students from different races who have had to cope or overcome the inter-cultural concerns of studying in a foreign country.”

The former president of the Society of Language Educators and national delegate to the Ayala Young Leaders Congress plans to adopt a small community to promote literacy programs and recreational activities through an initiative with fellow Tamaraws who yearn to be global educators. “We need to create awareness by strengthening the connection between FEU with UNESCO and APCEIU,” Baek concluded.