Southeast Asian Youth Fest (SYF)
Southeast Asian Youth Fest (SYF)

Youth Voices for a Food-Secure Future:
Perspectives from Southeast Asia

The World Food Day 2022 calls on to build a sustainable world where everyone, everywhere has access to nutritious food. With the challenges that we are facing today—an ongoing pandemic that restricts movement not only of people but also resources; international conflict and tension that affects food supply; rising food prices that curbs access to healthy and nutritious food; and a rapidly changing climate that affects food production—the youth play an important role in advocating for a sustainable food system while navigating a fast-changing world with disruptions.

This year, SEARCA's Young Forces for Agricultural Innovation (#Y4AGRI), through the cohort of the SEARCA Youth Ambassadors Platform (SAYAP), brings the Southeast Asian Youth Fest (SYF) to gather stakeholders, especially young people, from across Southeast Asia to tackle the state and directions of food security in the region. The event aligns to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), particularly on goal numbers 2, 9, 12, 13, and 17.

Taking off from this year's International Youth Day theme, "Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages," #Y4AGRI designed SYF to be intergenerational. It begins with a Regional Youth Forum (virtual and open to the public) hosted under the SEARCA Online Learning and Virtual Engagements (SOLVE) platform to initiate discussion between the 'youth' and with the 'once youth'. The second part features a Southeast Asian food exhibition (onsite and by-invitation) to further promote awareness and appreciation of food—the way we produce, prepare, and consume it. Young SEARCA scholars and youth partners will be engaged in this learning event.


SYF aims to highlight the importance of and opportunities for youth engagement in promoting sustainable food systems in Southeast Asia, specifically for the audience to:

Understand the state of food security in the Southeast Asian region and beyond;

Foster diverse youth voices on food security issues and solutions to counter food system disruptions; and

Promote awareness and appreciation of food and nutrition security.


  • Part A. Regional Youth Forum

    8:30 a.m. – 12:00 n.n. (virtual and open to the public)
    Opening Activities
    Welcome Remarks

    Prof. Joselito Florendo
    Deputy Director for Administration, SEARCA

    Keynote Addresses
    8:45–9:45 a.m.

    Dr. Chew Fook Tim
    Associate Professor, National University of Singapore and
    Governing Board Member, SEAMEO SEARCA

    Prof. Dr. Khin Mar Cho
    International Professor of Sustainable Agriculture and Global Food Systems
    Cornell University

    Youth Voices
    9:45–10:45 a.m.

    Parallel Session A. Multistakeholder partnership and sustainable investment in food systems.

    Parallel Session B. Rediscovering SEA food culture and understanding the changing food landscape, and its effects on food security.

    • Mr. Jessie Varquez, Jr.
      Executive Director
      Ugnayang Pang-Aghamtao, Inc. (UGAT/Anthropological Association of the Philippines)
      Parallel session discussion

    Parallel Session C. Securing a nutrition-conscious young generation by promoting healthy diets in schools.

    Parallel Session D. Innovation opportunities to counter food and agriculture sector disruptions.

    Resumption of Plenary
    10:45–11:25 a.m.
    Presentation of breakout groups
    Youth Stories: Amplifying Voices
    of Youth Agripreneurs
    11:25–11:30 a.m.
    Launch of the 2022 SEARCA Youth Video Contest (AVP)
    Youth Action and Closing
    11:30–11:45 a.m.
    Mr. Sonny Pasiona
    Youth Lead, SEARCA
    Ms. Jean Rebecca Labios
    Representative, SEARCA Youth Ambassadors Platform
  • Part B. Food Exhibition

    1:30–4:00 p.m. (onsite and by-invitation only)

    Participants (by-invitation only) – University students from selected public and private colleges/universities in the province of Laguna

    Registration and Issuance of Exhibition Passports
    Introduction and Welcome Remarks Mr. Jerome Cayton Barradas
    Representative, SEARCA Youth Ambassadors Platform
    Food and Nutrition Lectures

    Just Like Magic – Together with Kids Who Farm, participants will be introduced to alternative ways of producing food, particularly through hydroponics, container gardening, etc.

    Food For Tummy and Thought – Taking off from the previous presentation, partners from the Philippine Association of Nutrition – Alpha Omega Chapter and the Institute of Human Nutrition and Food (IHNF) of UPLB will present the importance of being mindful of healthy diets and share essential practices and tips as well in preparing healthful food especially for young students.

    Seeing SEA Food After the presentations, participants will have a chance to see, smell, and taste different healthy snacks from six Southeast Asian (SEA) countries prepared by SEARCA scholars. Each booth will feature the following country: Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, and Timor-Leste. Participants will have to fill-in their passport by "seeing" each booth and literally having a taste of "SEA food."
    Demo and Tour Aside from the booths, participants will also include a hands-on demo with Kids Who Farm and a tour of the SEARCA Hub for Agriculture and Rural Innovation for the Next Generation (SHARING).
    The Cook-it Challenge

    Selected participants from participating colleges/universities will be engaged in a battle of culinary skills. Given a standard set of ingredients, they will have to prepare a healthy nutritious snack within a limited time.

    Awarding of Certificates to Winners and Partners

    Prof. Joselito Florendo
    Deputy Director for Administration, SEARCA

    Closing Message Ms. Sharon Malaiba
    Head, Partnerships Unit, SEARCA