‘Youth themselves country’s soft power'
Soft power does not only belong to entertainment. Even though soft power seems to be a technical term, it is the issue that younger nations should be involved in, said Erica Maesincee, who has co-founded Youth In Charge.
Youth In Charge, operated by IN THE LEAD & Co, is a youth empowerment platform, recently organized “Youth In charge day: Youth power drives soft power” at Thai PBS’s head office in Bangkok.
The empowerment platform stressed this event’s campaign theme – “Small steps make great success.”
The event staged a forum on “How young generations can drive soft power”, with 5 invited speakers including Chakrit Pichyangkul, executive director of Creative Economy Agency, Somyosk Kiataramkul, Organization Manager of Thai Public (TPBS) Broadcasting Service, Wiparat De-ong, director of National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT), Narong Prangcharoen, Mahidol University’s dean of a College of Music, and Erica Maesincee.
“Younger generations these days are seen as the soft power of the nation,” said Erica.
She also said that “Children are not just the future, yet they are the present as well. We do not need to wait until they graduate or reach the age of 22 to drive the country forward. No matter what fields they are in, they can bring about a positive impact to the nation.”
Wipada added at present, a lot of Thai young generations have participated in several international competitions. As illustrated, of the almost 200 innovators joining Invention International Fair in Seoul this month, 20 percent were still in their secondary or primary grades.
According to Narong, soft power is neither music nor food, yet it is a citizen in the country.
“Soft power is not just limited to creativity or art. It also recognizes, for example, education and governance. It is apparent that soft power is the people in the country not a musician or whatever” stated Narong.
To support Narong’s statement, Chakrit said that “by definition, soft power is neither limited to creativity nor tradition. Thailand is ranked sixth in Asean and 35 in Asia which is behind Singapore, which does not have any long history of cultural assets, in the Soft Power Index because its criteria encompass other factors namely familiarity, reputation, and influencing power of soft power.
“Cultural heritage plays only a part of soft power, not all. Besides that, “Thainess” is not limited to only cultural assets we do not need to add Thainess in every soft power product we have. For instance, the renowned Thai movie “Bad Genius” did not contain much Thainess, yet it was rewarded at the international level” added Chakrit.
Also, Narong and Chakrit were on the same page that to enhance and empower Thai soft power is to focus on people development especially in youth. It required the supports from organizations both in the hands of government and private sectors notably from schools and educational institutes.
Youth in Charge started “Youth in Charge Academy” last year to create leadership amidst young generations, and “Youth power drives soft power” campaign is its second season.
Around 120-150 participants were attending this event, in which most of them were teenagers.
Youth in charge had joined hands with several partnerships such as Siam Cement Group (SCG), Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), and PTT Public Company Limited.