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The 3rd International Workshop/Training on Youth and Young Professionals in Science (YYPS), Engineering, Technology, and Innovation for Disaster and Climate Resilience

[, Kam, 11/01/24] Young people constitute the foundational strength of any nation, and when it comes to tackling climate challenges, they should assume a leadership role. In the period spanning December 4th to 8th, 2023, a total of 211 young professionals from diverse fields, including science, engineering, technology, and innovation, congregated in Jakarta, Indonesia. This collective effort aimed to spearhead initiatives in Disaster and Risk Reduction (DRR). Gratitude is extended to UNESCO Jakarta, Badan Riset dan Innovasi Nasional (BRIN), and U-Inspired Alliance for orchestrating this momentous event, providing a platform for young individuals to engage and glean insights from professionals across various domains.

As per the YYPS organizers, young individuals in the realms of science, engineering, technology, and innovation encounter challenges stemming from intergenerational gaps, which systematically impede their access to opportunities and resources. The YYPS serves as a vital initiative to counteract this disparity and global inequality. It emerges as a key avenue for youth from diverse corners of the world to engage in learning, unlearning, and relearning. The primary goal is to equip them as agents of change, steering away from being mere spectators to the devastating impacts of climate change. The focal point of YYPS revolves around the notion that bolstering investments in young people and professionals is imperative to ignite innovation and foster creative solutions. By bringing together dynamic, creative, and innovative young minds, there exists the potential to reshape the narrative and forge a world resilient to disasters. Furthermore, the international workshop's overarching objective, as articulated by the organizers, is to fortify the network and platform for Youth and Young Professionals in Science, Engineering, Technology, and Innovation (SETI) for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).

Commencing on December 4th, 2023, the workshop was initiated with the registration of young professionals hailing from diverse nations such as Malaysia, India, Maldives, Indonesia, Nigeria, China, Singapore, Timor-Leste, Nepal, and more. The inaugural segment comprised opening remarks, a welcoming address, and enlightening guest lectures delivered by distinguished personalities. The subsequent afternoon session unfolded as a World Cafe discussion themed around "Inequalities and Their Impact on Future Resilience." The assembly of young professionals was strategically divided into subgroups, each presided over by a designated barrister facilitating discussions. Within these subgroups, every participant was allowed to delve into the discourse on inequality and proffer potential solutions.

On Day 2, the program kicked off with Future Literacy Labs featuring sessions on "The Inequalities Futures of the Youth and Young Professionals in 2045" and "The Futures of Artificial Intelligence in DRR in 2045." Following the model established on Day 1, smaller groups were formed for these sessions. In exploring the potential inequalities faced by youths and young professionals in the future, participants were transported to the imagined scenario of 2045, providing them with the opportunity to live in a speculative future rather than the present of 2023. This exercise encouraged collective imagination to contemplate the pushes, pulls, and historical burdens of the year 2045.

Similarly, the exploration of the future of artificial intelligence involved the creation of smaller groups, fostering an inclusive environment where every young participant could contribute meaningfully. I distinctly recall my participation in a group led by Ardito Kodijat, the Head of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Information Centre-UNESCO Jakarta, comprising vibrant and innovative young minds. Our group engaged in envisioning potential headlines that might dominate online and print media in 2045. Through the lens of discussion themes such as "Headlines, actors, systems, and myths/metaphors," we delved into forecasting a plausible future, identifying potential risks, and devising innovative solutions. This collaborative exercise proved instrumental in unraveling potential disaster risks and formulating strategic solutions.

On Day 3, the program transitioned into a Plenary session featuring a stakeholder panel discussion and networking session, complemented by another engaging World Café session. Distinguished keynote speakers were invited to share insights on various topics, contributing to the rich discourse of the event. Dr. Mego Pinondito delved into "Research and Innovation Maritime Disaster Strategic toward Global Agenda," while Prof. Ocky Karna Radjasa explored "How to Better Understand Hazard and Risk." Dr. Raditya Djati presented on "Sustainable Resilience," and Prof. Qunli Han offered insights into the "Future Direction and Outlook of SETI for Disaster and Climate Resilience." The diverse range of topics aligned seamlessly with the overall agenda of the program.

Moreover, the session provided a platform for different National U-Inspires chapters across various countries, including Afghanistan, Central Asia, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Malawi, Malaysia, Philippines, Nepal, and Pakistan, to share their experiences and challenges during a dedicated sharing session. It was truly remarkable to witness the tremendous success achieved by each National Chapter, showcasing the impactful initiatives undertaken in their respective regions.

On Day 4, the program took a practical turn with "Safety Induction" and "Outdoor Activities," featuring impactful experiences that would be etched in the memories of young professionals. The safety induction, conducted at BADAN PENANGGULANGAN BENCANA DAERAH KABUPATEN DEMAK (BPBD DKI, Jakarta), provided a hands-on exercise in risk and safety management. Participants actively engaged in practical scenarios, enhancing their understanding of safety protocols. As a meaningful gesture, the young professionals also contributed by donating playing dolls/pets to children affected by disasters, embodying the spirit of community and support.

The day continued with enlightening lectures from professionals, focusing on the "Adaptation of Coastal Areas Affected by Land Subsidence and Sea Level Rise." Additionally, participants had the opportunity to engage with various units within BPBD, gaining insights into their functions. The monitoring unit, responsible for constant vigilance over regions and issuing early warnings, demonstrated the critical role played in ensuring the safety of inhabitants. The customer units, actively addressing emergency calls, showcased the comprehensive and collaborative efforts involved in disaster management. The day was not only informative but also offered a practical understanding of the mechanisms in place to address potential risks and emergencies.

Plenary Day 5 commenced with insightful presentations on effective practices for informing and empowering Young Professionals' Action Plans. Esteemed professionals, including Dr. Irwan Fakhrudin and Professor Dr. Intan Rohani, shared their expertise in fields such as the Future Direction of Science Communication for Disaster and Climate Resilience and Project Management and Risk Management: Lessons Learned from Malaysia for the Region.

Following the lectures, participants engaged in dedicated work time, allowing them to collaborate individually, in pairs, or in groups to finalize their Young Professionals' Action Plans. This hands-on segment empowered young professionals to apply their knowledge actively, contributing meaningfully to the discourse on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). The day concluded with vibrant youth performances, featuring a captivating reading by Ikegwu Chukwudi Michael (MSc Student at Universitas Jenderal Soedirman, Indonesia), who shared his award-winning short story, 'Test of Time,' highlighting the impact of climate change. The audience also enjoyed diverse performances, including singing, poetry recitations, and group renditions.

As the event demonstrated, addressing climate change requires collective efforts, as its consequences affect everyone. In closing, let's reflect on a poignant message from U-Inspire India: "Halt for a moment and think, there’s no wrong or right answer."