Filipino youth leader represents PH at US Democracy Summit

Yang speaks at the “Promoting Good Governance: Transparency, Accountability, and Anti-Corruption” panel with Kevin Peña, Martin Turcek, and Bright Sowu (Photo: World Learning USA)

Youth leader Dexter Yang participated in the “Youth & Opportunity: Defending Democracy and Advancing Human Rights” Summit hosted by the U.S. State Department in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA from November 10-18, 2022.

The summit convened 59 democracy defenders, human rights activists, journalists, and civic leaders across 44 countries. The program included panel discussions, networking opportunities, local NGO engagements, and project funding opportunities.

The AlumniTIES Democracy Summit convened 59 democracy defenders, human rights activists, journalists, and civic leaders across 44 countries.

Yang, 24, spoke at the panel discussion on good governance with Bolivian politician Kevin Peña, Slovakian investigative reporter Martin Turcek, and Ghanaian civic leader Bright Sowu from the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition.

“In democracy, everyone should be part of change — even when people say that we’re too young,” Yang said as he shared his experiences in working on youth’s political participation initiatives in the Philippines.

Yang founded GoodGovPH in 2019 with fellow University of the Philippines (UP) students. The volunteer group works on civic engagement initiatives to promote good governance among Filipino youth. It has received multiple recognitions including the 2020 Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO Awards) and Champion of the 2021 Asian Development Bank (ADB) Digital Against Covid19 Hackathon.

Yang (right) with Venezuelan human rights lawyer Marianna Romero (left) and exiled Nicaraguan student activist Alejandra Centeno (middle)

“Learning from the stories of almost 60 advocates was a meaningful experience [as] our different perspectives and struggles gave more value to the cause of defending democracy and human rights,” said Yang about his participation in the summit.

Yang is an alumnus of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Academic Fellowship at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He represents Southeast Asia in the UNODC Youth Integrity Advisory Board to advise on youth engagement for anti-corruption and is now a sophomore law student at the University of the Philippines.

The summit is part of the Alumni Thematic International Seminars (Alumni TIES) sponsored by the US State Department in partnership with the Office of Alumni Affairs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) for graduates of US-sponsored exchange programs.