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The 14th Hitachi Young Leaders Initiative (HYLI) was held at Yangon, Myanmar from July 10-13, 2017. High level country selection panels chose 32 top student delegates to represent their countries at the program. The students were divided into four groups, each represented by at least one country representative. The students attended a series of plenary sessions, workshops, discussions and activities culminating with group presentations on their proposed initiatives for the sustainable urban development of Yangon City.
The 14th HYLI was designed based on a learning agenda to help the students walk through key urbanization issues in the region, eventually inspiring them to contribute to possible solutions. The learning agenda is composed of three pillars: Awareness and Appreciation, Engagement and Reflection, and Commitment and Celebration. These serve as guides for student delegates to build their knowledge on the issues, interact with leaders and experts and develop solutions for sustainable urbanization.
The Pre-HYLI work marked the beginning of the Awareness and Appreciation pillar, intended to prepare the students for the HYLI week proper. During this period, the students were asked to prepare an essay pertaining to the central theme, with infographics to illustrate their dissertation. The essay asked students to identify and recommend global best practices on smart city, transportation and/or environmental sustainability that can be applied in Yangon City. The students were also asked to produce an infographic of their country's urbanization experience to allow a visual communication of the positive benefits and negative impacts of urbanization. The infographics enabled the students to have a broader perspective of their respective countries' issues, which served as solid basis for sharing with fellow student delegates, speakers and guests at the 14th HYLI.
Awareness and Appreciation for the pervading issues continued with talks delivered by guest speakers for three days of the 14th HYLI.
Engagement and Reflection involved a city tour of Yangon for students to appreciate the historical development of the city and its heritage. At the 14th HYLI conference, plenary sessions and exclusive interviews were conducted by renowned leaders and experts from Myanmar and across the region. The Program included an exclusive visit to Yangon city hall where the students were received by the Mayor of Yangon City and his team. They explained the city's urban development situation and plans. After the visit, they proceeded to visit the UN Habitat office in Yangon, Myanmar. They were received by UN Habitat's country representatives and explained their various programs in support of Myanmar's sound urban development.
The information and interactions that the students obtained from the city tour, plenary sessions, interviews and visits helped them develop their own proposals in support of Yangon's sustainable urbanization. At the last day of 14th HYLI, students delivered their proposals to an advisory panel. The panel provided their comments and offered words of encouragement for the future leaders of Asia.
Commitment and Celebration happened after the student presentations where the delegates affirmed the new relationships built and knowledge gained through a pledge. These pledges expressed the students' commitment to advocate what they have learned from HYLI. The students also presented various cultural performances that best represent their respective countries as part of the Program's cross-cultural sharing objective. The students then shared a special dinner to cap the celebration.