Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand delivered congratulatory remarks during the digital skills program kickoff.
Today, Huawei launched Asia Pacific Seeds for the Future 2022 in collaboration with ASEAN Foundation and Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). From August 19 to 27, the program will bring together 120 outstanding students from 16 countries across the Asia Pacific region for a 9-day digital boot camp in Thailand. The participants will get immersed in technologies and cross-cultural experiences, and propose technical solutions to address social problems through Tech4Good projects. 56 of the 120 participants this year are women, making the 2022 cohort the most gender-balanced in the region since the program initiated in 2008.
Asia Pacific Seeds for the Future 2022 marks the first time the program is held since Huawei and ASEAN Foundation signed an MoU on scaling it up in 2021. The TAT will also contribute significantly to this year’s program by hosting the participants on a cultural tour of Bangkok. Together, these organizations hope to create a synergy that will deliver an unparalleled experience to the participants.
The opening ceremony was attended by both local government officials and representatives of multiple international organizations. Speakers at the event highlighted the important role multi-party collaboration plays in creating a solid foundation for the region’s digital talent ecosystem.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce of Thailand, H.E. Mr. Jurin Laksanawisit said at the event: “I am very pleased to preside over the opening ceremony of Huawei Seeds for the Future in the Asia-Pacific region in 2022, hosted in Thailand, and I would like to thank Huawei for organizing such a wonderful project. At present, the public and private sectors are working together to increase ICT personnel in order to keep up with changing trends. Personally, I believe that co-training with leading specialized companies such as Huawei will greatly enhance the quality of the education and is an excellent step for advancing digital development with the goal of strengthening the economy to international levels.”
Secretary-General of ASEAN, H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi stressed that digital talent will be the driving force in the construction of a Digital ASEAN: “The private sector can play a pioneering role in realising this vision. In this regard, I commend Huawei Asia Pacific’s initiative: Seeds for the Future Program. This project underscores the long- term commitment of Huawei to collaborate and prepare the ASEAN youth for the changing world of work and industry’s demands. I also commend the Huawei ASEAN Academy for working with local stakeholders to train 23,465 ICT professionals from Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia. I hope that such efforts could also be extended to the other ASEAN Member States.” In Asia Pacific, advanced digital talent cultivation is typically conducted through joint projects run by governments, academia, and private tech providers. The ASEAN Academy and Seeds for the Future are examples of such projects.
Executive Director of ASEAN Foundation, Dr. Ms. Yang Mee Eng said: “The growth of ASEAN Digital Economy is entirely dependent on the capability of the region’s young people to participate in it. To nurture a generation of digitally savvy and innovative problem solvers, it is pivotal for stakeholders of ASEAN to create a robust learning ecosystem that allows our youth to advance their digital skills.” She believes that this event is yet another success of the ASEAN Foundation–Huawei partnership which is committed to creating a learning ecosystem focusing on talent development that will help address the digital skills shortage in the region.
President of Huawei Asia Pacific Mr. Simon Lin reiterated Huawei’s own commitment to talent development: “The ‘seeds’ represent hope, passion, and future. As the corporate-level flagship CSR project with the longest history, this program has been brought to nearly 140 countries and regions, reaching over 12,000 students from 500 universities. The ‘Seeds’ have grown to a global ‘forest’.” “Digitalization is the driving force for our future. Talent is the key to digital transformation and sustainable growth. We deeply believe that the young generation will grow as the constructors of Asia Pacific when pursuing their tech-dreams.” Simon Lin added.
H.E. Dr. Ms. Dipu Moni, Minister of Education of Bangladesh, spoke on how digital talent can bridge historical gender gaps: “It is increasingly important that we include our female students to STEM-based learning and creating an equal opportunity for them to grow. Seeds for the Future seems very sincere to that. We are excited to have five excellent female young professionals from Bangladesh joining the camp, and I believe their success will empower more women to contribute to Bangladesh’s digital economy.”
Asia Pacific Seeds for the future 2022 is not only about knowledge learning but also about how to transform ideas into initiatives and projects that will provide a decent, quality, and happy life for all. Deputy Minister of Education of Thailand Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich agreed that “The Seeds for the Future program is important for students interested in ICT and digital technologies as it fills the gap between theory and practice. The Ministry of Education envisions a greater focus on morals and ethics, whereas education should also emphasize digital skills. This is regarded as the most significant development in the Thai education sector; boosting the quality of education, in all forms, to advance education to a global level.”
Deputy Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Culture of Thailand Mr. Krisada Kongkajan, Deputy Permanent Representative of Lao PDR to ASEAN Mr. Sengpraarthid Snookphone, ITU Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Ms. Atsuko Okuda, and UNESCO Chief of Section for Educational Innovation and Skills Development Mr. Libing Wang all acknowledged that this is a great platform for regional youth exchange and expressed their best wishes to the students on their journey of 2022 Asia Pacific Seeds for the Future 2022.
The official start of the program was jointly announced by ASEAN Foundation’s Executive Director Dr. Yang Mee Eng, TAT’s Deputy Governor for Digitization Research and Development Mr. Nithee Seeprae, Huawei Asia Pacific President Mr. Simon Lin and Huawei Thailand CEO Mr. Abel Deng. Participants were also awarded Ambassador Certificates from the TAT. The ceremony ended with 16 Seeds representatives performing the song “Dream it Possible” in their own languages.
From today, they would embark on a cultural and digital journey filled with site visits including the United Nations Regional Hub in Bangkok, the Metaverse Expo, and the Grand Palace in Bangkok. At the same time, the participants will be provided training in cutting-edge technologies like 5G, AI, and cloud computing from industry-leading experts.
During the digital camp, the participants will be expected to team up and create a “Tech4Good” pitch where they will share their visions for a better digital world. The winning teams will be given a place in an accelerator camp in Singapore that will be held from August 29 to September 4. This camp will give them the opportunity to meet top-notch entrepreneurs and investors and further develop their initiatives and bring their ideas to the market.
Seeds for the Future is Huawei’s flagship Corporate Social Responsibility program that brings together young talent from top universities around the world. The program was launched in Thailand in 2008 to inspire ICT talent and encourage them to tackle social challenges with digital solutions. As of the end of 2021, the program had been implemented in 137 countries and regions, reaching 12,000 students from over 500 universities.