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This year marks the end of a decade, but for KASYP, it will be the start of a new one. Since 2010, we have successfully trained 10 batches of more than 200 young political leaders in the region. With this achievement, the Foundation has commissioned an impact evaluation study to assess the contributions of KASYP in developing the capacities of young politicians in Asia. The results from this study have been utilized to improve the programme design and delivery in the context of current challenges to democracies in the region.
Last February 16-21, 2020, the newly improved KASYP 2.0 has been launched with a new batch of 23 promising young politicians representing 12 Asian countries. The new KASYP Batch 11 is composed of 8 female and 15 male participants coming from Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. They also represent 19 political parties (Grassroots Democratic Party, Cambodian People’s Party, Indian National Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Golkar Party, National Awakening Party, People’s Justice Party, Maldivian Democratic Party, Democratic Party, National League for Democracy, Chin National League for Democracy, Rastriya Prajatantra Party, Bibeksheel Nepali Party, Awami National Party, Young Centrist Union, United National Party, Pheu Thai Party, Thai Local Power Party, and Palangpracharat Party) from both ruling and opposition parties.
KASYP 2.0 represents not only the start of a journey for another decade but also the newly improved KASYP training programme in terms of its design, content and delivery. These improvements were aimed at addressing the gaps and continuing the best practices of the programme as identified by the results of the KASYP impact evaluation study. For the programme design, KASYP is now adopting the Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning domains. The programme is now structured into the three learning domains namely, cognitive, psychomotor, and affective domains. When it comes to content, the programme will continue with 4 modular themes while introducing new elective topics. A major change in the content is the replacement of the project management with bridging democratic leadership to address the gap identified by the stakeholders. Meanwhile, the programme delivery will adopt the adult learning framework to maximize the expertise and rich experience among the participants.
The first training module on “Political Parties, Functions and Organisations in Democratic Societies” started with insights on the work of KAS in the region with Mr Christian Echle, Director of KAS Regional Political Dialogue Asia giving an orientation to the participants about the different KAS programmes, including the rationale for KASYP. This was followed by a message from Mr Benjamin Knoedler, Deputy Head of Mission, German Embassy in Cambodia sharing about the contributions of Germany and the European Union to the Cambodian economy and society. The third speaker was Dr Daniel Schmuecking, KAS Country Representative in Cambodia who talked more about the local projects of KAS in the country.
After the opening messages, the participants were formally introduced to the KASYP training programme, its design, components, and rules through the talk of Mr Rey Uzhmar C. Padit, Programme Manager for Political-Cooperation and the programme manager for KASYP. This followed by a getting-to-know exercise conducted by Mr Echle. The exercise was aimed at learning more about the participants like their professional and personal backgrounds.
The first day ended with a lecture on the core topic of “Understanding Political Ideology, Political Parties, and Party Systems in Asia” and a workshop on “Intra-party Democracy” by Dr Sandeep Shastri, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Jain University and Director of the Centre for Research in Social Sciences and Education, Bangalore, India. These topics are aimed at providing the participants with a basic understanding of the role of political parties in facilitating democratic participation and representation in their respective countries.
On the second day, a workshop on “Delivering Compelling Presentations to your Community” was facilitated by Ms Maidy Lynn Lim, Project Director for PAGASA sa Makati. This workshop on communication is part of the psychomotor learning domain which aims at providing the participants with the skills on framing, pitching, and story-telling. As political leaders, having effective public communication skills are crucial in conveying their messages and eventually securing the public’s support.
The third day was allocated for elective topics where participants attended a lecture on the topic of “Political Dynasties, Development, and Democracy” by Prof Dr Seth Sok Udom, Rector of Paragon International University, Cambodia. Prof Udom expounded the possible effects of political dynasties in internal party democracy, democracy in general, and the development. This elective topic was highly relevant considering that many of the participants belong to political dynasties in their respective countries. As part of the adult learning framework, KASYP debates were introduced as a way to tackle other elective topics such as extra-legislative powers for the congress to counter the executive powers, state funding for political parties, and the compatibility of Asian values with democratic values. The participants were divided into 4 teams with 2 pairs debating on the first two topics and the winners from first round go head-to-head to debate on the third topic.
The last two days were part of the affective learning domain where participants have to engage in networking activities and undergo a leadership training workshop. On the fourth day, participants were given the opportunity to dialogue with national political leaders in Cambodia. The first courtesy meeting was with H.E. Sous Yara who is currently the Spokesperson of the Cambodian People’s Party. While the second courtesy meeting was with H.E. Hun Many at the National Assembly of Cambodia. Both meetings were instrumental for the participants to understand better the local political context of Cambodia; an opportunity to learn from the best practices in administration and governance; and to be inspired by these politicians to take the challenge in leading their respective communities. Apart from the courtesy meetings, the group also had the opportunity to revisit the dark history of Cambodia through visiting Tuol Sleng (S21) Genocide Museum. The visit to S21 was very heavy for the participants as they have seen personally what happened during the Khmer Rouge regime, but it was, at the same time, the most meaningful way to truly understand the effects of extremist ideologies, and how undemocratic means of governance led to the sacrifice of many innocent lives.
From the core to the elective topics, the communication training, and the immersion, all these were connected to the last input of the training programme which was the “Bridging Democratic Leadership” workshop facilitated by Dr Ryan Guinaran, Mcd, Mdm, who is the Executive Director, DITENG Inc., Philippines. The bridging democratic leadership is the new addition to the KASYP programme which aims at developing future political leaders to be democratic. Bridging leadership is a particular framework that helps a leader develop ownership of the vision, then shares this vision with other stakeholders which is called co-ownership, and finally co-create solutions to address societal problems. The first training module focused on topics on how to develop this ownership such as discovering their leadership journey, mapping out their leadership capital, learning how to give voice to their democratic values, and to develop their public narrative as democratic political leaders.
To end the first training module for KASYP Batch 11, the entire group was hosted by Dr Daniel Schmuecking at the KAS Cambodia Office for the farewell dinner with Khmer cuisine and a surprising “boccia” experience. Boccia is a precision ball sport which is considered to be the favourite sport of Mr Konrad Adenauer, the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The success of this training would have not been possible without the support from the members of the KASYP Alumni Cambodia Chapter, headed by Mr Samoeun Taing, Secretary to the First Lady of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and to the Ms Rasmeykanyka Bin, Programme Manager for the Rule of Law and Youth Empowerment at KAS Cambodia Office. Thank you very much!