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Promoting Social Democratic Thinking, Alternatives and Practices

Young Progressives

Political Management Training for Young Progressives is an institutionalized regional program that capacitates its young, emerging leaders from its ranks with tools that aid and advance their political work. PMT asia, at the same time, consolidates these young leaders to help advance collective goals in the future under their progressive leadership. Progressive youth organizations from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Timor Leste undergo a 10-day program distributed in two clusters within a school year.

Socdem Asia Revisits Training Curriculum for Young Progressives

Since the inception of the Political Management Training in 2011, the curriculum has been constantly improved and fine-tuned to fit the needs of young progressives in the region.   As the last activity of Socdem Asia for 2016, a working group has been convened once again to dissect the training program.  The module development team is composed of alumni, faculty members, the SocDem  Asia Secretariat and partners, and representatives from Socdem  Asia member parties.

The workshop included thematic working groups that worked on the three clusters of the training:  Ideology, Skills and Themes.  Taking into account the training needs assessment from network member parties, each team went in-depth to examine objectives, core messages, and proposed methods or exercises for each topic.  Various pre- and post- training tools were also devised by this team to further improve the learning dividend of the delegates.  As a contribution to young progressives leadership building in the region, the workshop also aimed at developing a curriculum that allows for national organizations to echo the content and enables them to attune it to local realities.

The training guide will be handy for trainers and mentors of the PMT courses and those youth organizations echoing the training to their members. The third batch of PMT delegates will be travelling to Manila on May 2017.

2016 Political Management Training graduation showcases young progressive leaders

Seventeen young progressives from across Southeast Asia graduated from the Network of Social Democracy in Asia’s (SocDem Asia) political management training. The training program brought together participants come different progressive parties and organizations in the region with the goal of preparing promising young leaders in taking on future roles in their respective organizations. In fact all of the participants are active participants of current democratic movements in their respective countries such as the clean government Bersih movement in Malaysia and the youth movement in Thailand. It is worth taking note that the batch (“Stand by Oh”) chose to name themselves after one of their fellow participant who was detained by military authorities in Thailand (he has since been released) as a sign of solidarity with other progressives in the region.

The two-part training program itself featured distinguished experts in the academe, social movements, media, and politics as lecturers. The program itself focused on important topics such as skills that progressives should use in political campaigns such as negotiation and communication. Ideology was also discussed during the training with more in-depth discussion on topics such as social democracy, comparative ideology, and feminism. Current and pressing issues such as climate change, regional trade deals, and migration, among others also spurred lively exchanges and informative exchanges between and among the participants and lecturers.

The graduation ceremonies itself, while brief, also served to end the program in a high note with no less than Philippine Commission on Human Rights’ Chairperson Chito Gascon as their commencement speaker. Gascon highlighted the task for the graduates to defend human rights especially in a time when rights are under threat in the region. The batch president, Nalina Nair, from Malaysia also gave a short message to her fellow graduates about continuing their struggle in their respective countries. As a symbol of their commitment to fighting for democracy, human rights and progressive values, the graduates were handed out traditional “tubaw” or kerchief which is worn by Filipino peasants to shield their heads from the heat of the sun or wipe their sweat. It has also become a symbol associated with Filipino activists and worn during protest actions either around the head or around the neck. In a way, this piece of clothing will serve as a reminded for the graduates of their responsibilities as progressives to fight for the interests of the marginalized and also of their roles as young leaders in their organizations.

How to apply

The Network publishes its own quarterly, Socdem Asia Quarterly, which aims to reflect the discourse of the Network and the leading intellectuals across the region and beyond about most pertinent developments of concern to social democrats. The Quarterly expounds on policies, perspectives and lessons learned from social democratic political practice in the region as well as reflections and experiences from Social Democrats worldwide. Along with Quarterly, the Socdem Asia website offers Op-Eds, interviews, and editorial opinions on latest developments across Asia-Pacific to a broader audience.