Remarks by Dr. Susan K. Brems, Mission Director, MYDev Program Graduation

Speeches Shim

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

[As Prepared]


Today’s ceremony demonstrates the U.S. Government’s ongoing work, together with the Government of the Philippines, to help bring peace and stability in Mindanao. Graduates, we have no doubt that you will shape a more stable and prosperous future for the Philippines.

One-third of the Filipino population is between the ages of 15 and 24, and the growth that happens during that age range is particularly complex. For those youth who do not finish school, the challenges are even greater.

We want to work with you to help change that, and provide the necessary opportunities for you to be active and productive participants in Cotabato’s development. We know that today’s youth face many barriers, such as limited access to education, employment, and opportunities to interact with local and national institutions.

This is why the U.S. government, through USAID, and in partnership with local leaders, invest in youth, providing empowering opportunities that can transform lives and communities.

We collaborate with the Chambers of Commerce of Cotabato to ensure that our emerging skills training courses are relevant and lead to gainful opportunities for MYDev youth. Through this partnership, 114 emerging skills training completers have been employed in various commercial establishments in Cotabato.

Together with local business leaders in Cotabato, we continue to find ways to empower youth through on-the-job training and mentorship programs. We share their passion to make a difference in the lives Mindanao youth and nurture a sense of direction, professionalism, and hope.

I’d like to recognize the city government’s leadership, with the very dynamic Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi at the helm, for partnering with us to make a difference in the lives of the youth.

I would also like to acknowledge the important contributions of all the other members of the Out-of-School Youth Development Alliance—the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the Department of Education, other nation government agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Labor and Employment, as well as the National Youth Commission.

Of course, I would like to extend special thanks to the business community in Cotabato, for working with us to provide the newly-trained youth the opportunities they need to finally become gainfully employed.

Let me also acknowledge the hard work of USAID’s implementing partner for MYDev, Education Development Center, led by Nancy Wallace, as well as their local partner, Notre Dame University, led by its president, Fr. Charlie Inzon.

And most importantly, let me extend my heartfelt congratulations to all of you, the graduates, and my gratitude to your families for their support! You have shown that you are ready to transform your own lives. Whatever difficulties you have faced or continue to face, your hard work, your dedication, and your commitment will help you build a brighter future. You have invested a lot of time and effort to get to where you are today.

Each of you has the power to promote peace in your community and advance growth for all. I urge you to take advantage of every opportunity to do so. Your local government, your local business owners, other local organizations, and USAID are here to help.

Make your voices heard and make a difference. This will allow you to make a positive and lasting impact on the lives of the people around you.

Congratulations to our graduates, and everyone here today. Let us continue to work together and support our youth to become the leaders of development, towards a more peaceful and prosperous future.

Maraming salamat po!

Issuing Country 

Last updated: October 19, 2020

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