It was last year when 21-year-old Arizza Nocum learned about the One Young World summit, the largest forum of and by the youth in the world.
Learning that being a delegate to the event would cost her an arm and a leg, she applied for a scholarship to attend it, and was luckily chosen by a foundation which would support her trip.
On Saturday, she was not just a delegate, but a speaker in front of more than a thousand eager young people from all over the world, talking about peace and security, a cause which she has advanced for years as a young woman who has learned and witnessed terrorism.
Nocum said she hopes that delivering a speech at the One Young World summit would lead to dialogues in the Philippines regarding the peace and order situation in the country.
She said that she is in favor of the passage of the Bangsamoro basic law, but with reservations.
“If we were to solve the problem of conflict, and if we were to address the need for autonomy of Muslim Filipinos, the Bangsamoro law or a law would just be 10 percent of the solution,” she said.
The 90 percent of the solution, she explained, would come from valuing the history and heritage of Islam in the country, promoting interfaith dialogues and exposures, appreciating the Muslim culture, improving the economic state in Mindanao, and paving the way for a change in leadership in the Bangsamoro.
Admitting that she has not completely made up her mind yet on who to vote for in 2016, she urged her fellow youth to choose innovative and creative leaders.
“I want to have leaders who want to perform nation-building through a bottom-up approach by education, by providing venues for people to start business, by providing jobs that enrich people not just economically, but also intellectually and socially,” she said.
While she may have gotten several recognitions and the chance to address her fellow youth leaders, Nocum said she still has long way to go to advance her causes, whether it be peace and security, education or employment.
“I have realized that I still have so much to learn. Working on this organization has made some impact, but I am nowhere near where I want it to be, I am nowhere near the person I want to be in order to lead this cause effectively. I still have so much to learn and so much to go through,” she said.
The phrase “silence please” may be a staple at libraries, but for the library she has built and the cause she wants to promote, Nocum’s voice cannot be restrained.
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News story from The Philippine Inquirer.