The Philippine Youth delegation composed of Jessie Tolentino and Frances Ann Teves from Dangerous Drugs Board, Shelly Ann Catangay from Pasay City Anti-Drug Abuse Council and Genevieve Allison from University of the Philippines-Diliman represented the country in the First Global Forum for Youth Leaders on Drug Use Prevention held at Armed Forces Hotel and Club, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates last February 10-14, 2014. 240 youth from 47 countries participated in the forum.
Dr. Hamad Al Ghafri, Director General, The National Rehabilitation Centre, Abu Dhabi, welcomed the participants in an opening ceremony that was held at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi. He reiterated in his speech the role of youth in nation building as well as their power to influence others to prevent them from using illegal drugs. Mr. Tay Bian How, Acting Secretary General, The Colombo Plan Secretariat, emphasized on what youth can do to help solve the problems of drugs all over the world. “It is a disease that continues to spread so we need to prevent it,” Mr. Tay stated.
The 1st Global Forum for Youth Leaders on drug Use Prevention was established to provide knowledge and understanding of illicit drugs and their ill effects among youth and empower the participants with life skills. It nurtures every youth to be leaders in their own capacity, to take control of their own lives and lead those of their peers. The forum advocates healthy lifestyles and equip youth with skills to make healthy life choices.
The Participants were divided into groups and were tasked to come up with project proposals with intention to implement them in their respective countries. Some of the more impressive proposals made during the forum were: Launching of a Street Talent Night (Argentina); Conduct of Information Drive in Schools (Pakistan); Establishing a Foundation for Out of School Youth (Zimbabwe).
The Philippine delegation presented a project proposal on the conduct of a massive anti-drug campaign, training, and information dissemination in schools within Metro Manila, Philippines.
The four-day forum provided lectures and group activities to the participants. Visits to different tourist spots in Abu Dhabi like the Desert Safari and Grand Mosque were also made.
Highlight of the global forum is the cultural night wherein all participants were made to showcase their culture through a country presentation of songs, dance and monologue, wearing their traditional costumes.