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Messages from Alumni Presidents

President of the IATSS Forum Alumni Association

Cambodia Alumni President    Ms. Vann Bonida (Bonida)

Choub Reab Sour from Cambodia!

It has been quite a wonderful journey after I have participated in the IATSS forum in 2006. Back then, I was just a junior person with junior position in one of the private company, with the expertise in micro finance service providing to the rural people. From the tadpole wish to build the leadership skill in very developed country, Japan, I have far more developed spiritually knowledgably and professionally through the ASEAN connection, knowledge and skill sharing as well as continuous relation keeping everyone to explore educational and professional opportunities in the region. I can say IATSS Forum is a million dollars treasure, as recommended to friends and connections by comparing to other training programs in Japan, binding participants to develop from the spiritually young to the mutual leaders who have been developing more leaders.

Cambodia IATSS Alumni has been developed now as registered association (known as Cambodia IATSS Alumni Association or CIAA) aiming at promoting, inspiring the young leaders to take great opportunities for IATSS forum participation. CIAA is also aiming at developing the future leaders and young professional through the resources of Cambodia IATSS Alumni. CIAA is doing for Cambodia, and ASEAN+Japan in term of social development focusing on leadership development, environment, education, culture and people’s health & safety. CIAA is starting to mobile the available resources of alumni, not limited to only Cambodia IATSS Alumni, to develop next leaders in their specific profession, while generating income to do more to the society.

Congratulations to the successful IATSS forum new batch participants and potentials, as I have mentioned earlier million dollars treasure, I guarantee IATSS forum program will equip you with the fullest opportunity to learn, explore, and develop in various dimensions. It is surely much more than other training programs (even with the same time length). You are young leaders, with IATSS forum leadership program, you will find your own leadership with the combination of your ownself skill and profession with the regional expertise as I usually strongly recommend to young professions. I also appreciate that this next wave of generation, having coped with the language barrier while at my generation, most people were struggling with the English language.

Not only me, but every Cambodia IATSS Forum alumni has moved up their profession stairs up high with the title CEO, General Manager, Director, Manager in the government, private and international organization. Some of course have built up their own business and are successful on their way.
I finally wish to see all participants boarding to new journey of learning, sharing, growing for the region with great success and come back to develop our own as well as regional community every after.

Indonesia Alumni President    Mr. Abdi Hamdani (Abdi)

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate to our youngest brothers and sisters on your achievement completing all series of forum's programs. Welcome to the family. Here in IATSS Forum, we don't have friends but we have family. Like you all may feel, I felt a very strong bonding as I concluded my 46th IATSS Forum batch in 2009. Togetherness and collective memory we shared are priceless, not to mention various privileges I gained. As I come back to my home country, I still kept connected and foster the network with the big family of IATSS Forum Alumni in Indonesia, respective alumni association of neighbor countries in ASEAN and of course Japan, that I think will be important asset for every young leader personally and professionally. We are lucky to have regular IATSS Forum Alumni Meeting; we can sustain and broaden the network. It is undeniable fact that world is becoming 'borderless'. We need to have a strong networking and good understanding each other to live a peace world. Hence, we are now in the region entering a new era, ASEAN Economic Society (AES).

As the president of IIFA, I would like also to inform you that our organization now is on the move. We are now working on organization improvement and support country secretariat to attract more Indonesian young leaders to apply. Another focus of IIFA program is to facilitate alumni's activities. Our successful program, Road Crossing Training for Kindergarten students initiated by alumni chapter Bandung (about 130 kms from Jakarta), is now replicated in some cities in Indonesia. Our nearest program is Mini Gashuku organized by IIFA in collaboration with Junior Chamber of Commerce in Solo (city of origin President Joko Widodo, about 500 kms from Jakarta). Our target participants are young professionals and entrepreneurs.

Finally, I would like to encourage all alumni to be active and proactive to something for your own country, as well as for the region. No need to be phenomenal in scale, yet the more important thing is meaningful to the beneficiaries. And let's get connected and take the most advantage from our networking. I am very much happy to see our collective spirit these days. Please come to Indonesia and we will have you as our family.

Malaysia Alumni President    Mr. Lim Poh Aun (Lim)

I was the Coordinator of the 17th IATSS Forum batch made up of 12 Malaysians and 2 Singaporeans in Feb to Apr 1991.

It was very memorable experience for me as I got the honor to give the Opening Speech, Closing Speech, meet the Malaysian ambassador to Japan, the Mayor of Suzuka etc. that I had never in my wildest dream, imagined I would get to do during my 74 days of Leadership Program in 1991.

I cherish the opportunity to have three host families in Suzuka, Nagoya and Hiroshima. After my return to Malaysia, I still kept in contact with them and even got to meet up and take my Nagoya host family around when they visited Penang for a holiday. We participated in the Cultural night event and meet students in Elementary and High Schools.

After my return from IATSS Forum Suzuka, I was privileged to attend the first IAM (International Alumni Meeting) that was held in Holiday Villa, Subang Jaya, Malaysia. I made a point of being involved in MIFA (Malaysian IATSS Forum Alumni) by joining as a lifetime member and was Vice President for 3 terms, 1992 to 1994, 2006 to 2008 and 2012 to 2014.

I would encourage all our alumni members to keep in touch, stay connected, get involved, participate and contribute to our society and expand your professional horizons as well, not only in our home country, but also in ASEAN and Japan.

I am glad to see more intra-ASEAN activities like the ASEAN IF Newsletter that had been recently launched. Some of our alumni members also stay connected through volunteer services, social events and projects that they can work together. The formation of SIG (Special Interest Groups) could be a means of increasing the interaction between past participants and current participants in Malaysia, for example SIG for those who like to travel, cook ASEAN dishes, technical talks on road safety.

I would sincerely like to express my utmost gratitude to IATSS Forum and HONDA Motor for granting us the opportunity to take part in this kind of forum.

Myanmar Alumni President    Mr. Ko Aung Zaw Oo (John)

Since September 2008, I got a great chance to be a participant at IATSS Forum 44th batch in Suzuka Japan. After IF finished, I was been volunteering and contributing at AIM activities (Alumni Association of IATSS Myanmar) as a Member, Joint Secretary and Vice President after that to become newly elected a President at AIM ( Alumni Association of IATSS Myanmar ) by 18th march 2017. And then I was participated at 6th and 7th IAM ( International Alumni of Meeting) in Cambodia and Vietnam, the 30th anniversary of IATSS meeting at Suzuka, Japan and one of the member of orginizar at 8th IAM in Yangon, Myanmar.

Basic on above all my experiences, I do believe that I can do well participation and supporting at AIM and IATSS activities for more effectively and efficiently of out come in the near future. AIM's some of the activities going to plan to collaboration and cooperation with MYEA ( Myanmar Young Entrepreneurs Association)and UMFCCI ( Union of Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce Industries ) especially for jointly organize to promote of IF program at Myanmar in term of more awareness of IATSS forum activities for young people and then to improve of qualities and quantities for the application to IATSS Forum in near future.

IATSS Forum is quite important for potential young leaders people in Myanmar and ASEAN because of in my experiences, I was learned Japanese business people's design thinking of innovation and creation to become a system for the advance technology and then the Forum supported me to understood and awareness of Japanese culture and business philosophy, positive people mind set with discipline and good attitude of hard working for team championship. And then learning and sharing together with future Japanese and ASEAN young leaders people together in there, it will be supported to be happening of a big IF's family for future. That is easy to make networking not only my personal life and but also business development at the regional and International. Basic on above learning and participation experiences, I can do more business development with international market especially for the rice trading, shipping and logistics at my company after come back from Forum.

IATSS Forum have good culture of society, it is not only participation of learning and thinking together for 55 days from participants but also chance to have continues of participation at country alumni activities and regular IAM ( International Alumni Meeting ) as well to keep our relationships of IF's family community for forever.

Philippines Alumni President    Ms. Cleofe Velasquez-Ocampo (Oks)

Dear friends,

Greetings from the Philippines!

We hope that all are in the best of health and circumstances.

This year, 2016, marks a milestone in the participation of the Philipppines in IATSS Forum. It is our 25th anniversary as a partner of IATSS in pursuing its goal of providing opportunities for young of ASEANs to gain leadership skills while learning together. We hope that you can join us in our celebration later this year.

The experiences of each and every participant are unique. However, the application of the experience points to a common inspiration - service and pursuing common good. The Forum provided for the meeeting of hearts and minds expressed by the appreciation of the diversed cultures and personalities of the participants. The strong bonds between batchmates and friends across batches and countries says it all.

I would like to challenge the new set of alumni to take into heart the meaning of the privilege you have been given, match it with the commitment to give the same experience to others. Be an active participant in making a difference, the IATSS way.

Singapore Alumni President    Mr. Eli Chong Lo Han (Eli)

About 10 years ago, I was one of the 18 participants for the 39th IATSS Forum (IF) programme in Suzuka, Japan. The experience at IF has been one of the biggest highlights in my life, as it has shaped my thinking in my personal leadership journey over time.

One of the less told learning I remembered, close to my heart from IF, was understanding Japanese-styled working philosophy. Often, from young, Japanese are taught to think about what they are doing, who they are doing for, and the 'whys' they are doing it.

From a very young age, if you visit any elementary school in Japan, we often observe how the children are brought up to take care not only for themselves but also to cultivate the mindfulness in caring about others and their environment. For example, the children are taught to tidy up after every meal and class day, as if the school belongs to all of them. This is one of the most deeply felt learning I gained from my IF days. How many of us, will have the mindfulness to think first for others, especially more so now, when we are so deeply embedded in our own virtual realities? The eye for details and taking initiatives are what make Japanese people well known for. Every time, we hear of natural disasters happening in Japan, we often observe the Japanese people's strength in supporting each other despite the enormous calamities. These connected mental and physical aspects of mindfulness I learned, is known as "kokorogamae" or "心構え" The late Soichiro Honda, Founder of Honda Motor Co. encompassed this philosophy. It is what make the company a great one today. IF was Soichiro Honda's brainchild in growing the leadership potentials in ASEAN, in returning to society, sharing what he gained from it. I believe, every one of us, who has gone through the IF, is grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in shaping our individual leadership growth.

In Singapore, many of our alumni members, have moved onto bigger leadership roles, contributing in various sectors both locally and overseas. It is my hope too, that we can emulate the Japanese philosophy of work in paying forward, caring for others and making our society a better one for everybody. Individually, we are strong and we will continue to work on our collectively strengths in making the Singapore IATSS Forum Alumni (SIFA) a greater team, supporting our ASEAN alumni neighbours and IATSS Forum, Japan in different capacities. Ganbarimashou 頑張りましょう!

Thailand Alumni President    Ms. Worrawan Asawakun (Worrawan)

From my point of view : Even the IATSS Forum has been staying for more than 30 years but IATSS Forum still maintains the unity and has expanded more networks and connections throughout the region as well.

For Thailand IATSS Forum alumni, as president, the most important thing I like is the teamwork from different generations of Thai alumni to continue to make contributions in all activities of IATSS Forum Alumni.

My future plan
Thailand IATSS Forum Alumni (TIFA)
VISION (2016-2020)

Thailand IATSS Forum Alumni actively and constructively contributes to the benefits and advancement of Thai society

MISSIONS

1) To support and promote IATSS Forum and its philosophy of leadership development across Thailand.
2) To facilitate and strengthen a collaborative network within Thailand IATSS Forum Alumni and with other ASEAN member countries and Japan.
3) To mobilize various resources and potentials in the actions for the benefits and advancement of Thai society.

Vietnam Alumni President    Mr. Pham Xuan Hoan (Tony)

It is extremely my privilege to gain the chance to join the 52nd Batch of IATSS Forum and now taking the role of Alumni President. IATSS Forum inspires me by its leadership approach and core values which intend to bring out people's best quality. The 55 days of learning and thinking together with a cohort of young and talented people from different social and cultural backgrounds and different nationalities in Japan was just a great experience to me. IATSS Forum's learning dynamics help me to learn more about social responsibility and commitment. But what impresses me most is the leadership development through kindness that has strongly influenced my approach in life. Returning home country I find my passion in connecting alumni, coordinating community works and showcasing the image of IATSS Forum scholarship to the society.

I am glad to see that VIFA has now become more dynamic and active. VIFA has the mission "to form a cohesive alumni network which actively contributes to the sustainable development of IATSS Forum and the local community". We have formulated three clear purposes for alumni activities which are for alumni, for IATSS Forum and for the community. VIFA activities are underlined by a set of core values: "commitment, trust, sustainability" which is commonly accepted by alumni members. Inheriting IATSS Forum's motto, VIFA focuses on promoting a collective strength among members and together we make the better community.

Japan Alumni President    Mr. Noriaki Koyanagi (Nagi)

As a participant of the 49th IATSS Forum (IF), I had a wonderful experience through the program with others from ASEAN countries and Japan.

IF was a turning point in my life. It changed my value and way of thinking about others. I realized my knowledge and experience was biased and narrow to be an effective leader. Cooperation with one another and the relationships that I developed was a wonderful experience. Joining the IF, whilst a challenge, is a highly recommend to be a part of. Learning from others' experiences will give you a different perspective on leadership and that is something that you will value forever.

Japan IATSS Forum Alumni Association (JIFA) was established in April 2016. I was confident that the official Alumni association in Japan can help support IF with our experiences we gained from the program. JIFA's vision is to bridge between all who has been involved in the IF, while also forging greater friendships and continuing to strengthen ties.

JIFA provides support around promoting the IF program by organizing an optional Tokyo tour, a welcoming party with having ITASS alumni presence. JIFA can also offer support to alumni members visiting Japan from overseas. Our hope and vision for the future is to grow JIFA, connect and collaborate closely with other countries' alumni associations.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions, comments and requests or when you visit Japan. We will provide information promptly and be your guide in Japan!