CALD Youth Political Academy #CYPA2017

I trust that most would concur with my statement that liberalism today is not exactly the “go-to” camp for the winning mentality in the international political scene.

Globally, we spectated the tempest rampage of Britons against the experiment of European cooperation, witnessed the flag bearer of American liberalism stunned and crushed by an untamed egoist, as well as the inherent ascent of the “Devil’s Daughter” in France as the coup de grace.

These three analogous events choke out a message: that free markets and international trade, a crux and bedrock of liberalism, have failed. Populism and economic nationalism, they insist, are the ways forward.

Over here in Asia, the demise of liberalism also applies. Arguably we can timidly claim to be well ahead of the game on this account, although not something much to be proud of. Thailand has been plagued with the “us versus the elites” sentiment and populist platforms since the turn of the millennium, and Philippines has recently taken a turn towards a controversial character that needs no introduction.

Last time the Council of Asian Liberalism and Democrats (CALD) met in Bangkok, late 2016, there were plentiful and lively debate on how to liberalism can combat and contain illiberalism. While each country faces their own dilemmas and no such silver bullet to this question really exist, bombarding the discussions with different authentic ideas from each participating countries very much resulted in stimulating and original concepts that can be further developed.

While the essence of this Youth Political Academy hosted by CALD was not to engage participants in this politically driven discussion, the intention of the program had the allure and glamor of liberalism and democracy scribbled all over. It aimed to empower young individuals from all corners of this continent, as well from parts of the world, and allow them to exchange their thoughts and ideas.

Despite the flaws and criticisms of liberalism, it is uncontested that freedom of discussion and the ability to exchange honest ideas are handsomely celebrated in this household, and this program has manifested exactly that.

The world is in a desperate need of new herds of young leaders, equipped and furnished with the right skill and training, to be the future face of liberalism and democracy. This political academy represents a modest but yet one of the most critical feature in the march towards this goal.

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