/ 17 August 2021

TWO iACADEMY students are among the eight delegates of the Philippines in the Asia Student Leadership Conference 2021 organized by the Smile Asia Organization in Singapore.

The annual conference gives students a platform to receive training from notable individuals across the globe to enhance intercultural awareness, strengthen their leadership skills and character, and become creators of change.

Third year students Irma De Jesus and Hannah Felix joined the two-day conference that aimed to teach student leaders core values of service, leadership, education and volunteerism.

This year’s conference —with the theme Lux Brumalis or The Light of Winter —shed light on the universal experiences and changes brought by the pandemic, likening it to the experiences of isolation and detachment in winter.

Aside from leadership and volunteerism, the conference also touched on the advocacy of Smile Asia which is to raise awareness and provide aid and support to cleft lip and palate patients. Smile Asia hoped to facilitate conversations about the personal volunteering experiences of international and local students to inspire a new generation of leaders who can bring light to others

“I am thankful to iACADEMY and Smile Asia for this opportunity. I was greatly moved by the stories of the speakers and the students who joined from different countries in Asia. It was inspiring to know that during this time of difficulty, people can come together to share their drive and passion for service. One of the speakers, Justyn Olby is an English educator whose child was born with a cleft lip. His stories of kindness and compassion towards the cleft lip community sparked within me a new love for this advocacy,” Felix said.

“I listened intently to the stories of my group composed of students from Singapore, China, and Timor Leste. They recounted times where they have stood up as leaders and volunteered to bring their causes forward. Inspired by their volunteer projects, it dawned on me that beyond wanting to lead, I also want to make more leaders and enable them to perform at their best. Having attended this conference with students my age from different parts of the world, I realized that change can come from anyone and anywhere,” she added.

Meanwhile, iACADEMY was thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the conference.

“We are very thankful to the Philippine Embassy in Singapore and to the staunch support of Ambassador Joseph Yap and Chief of Staff Wilford Wong who have generously extended this invitation to the Philippines and have selected iACADEMY students to participate with several student leaders in Asia. While it is our mission to make sure our students exhibit excellence in their academic and professional life, we find it equally important to instill values of leadership, compassion, and service so to ensure they will be great role models not only in the industries they participate in but also in their communities and the nation,” Anna Fernandez, Senior Manager for Student Affairs at iACADEMY, said.