Three Negrosanon young leaders joining US professional fellowships

Villanueva, Awit, and Reyes (l-r)*

Three Negrosanon Young Leaders from the Negrosanon Young Leaders Institute Incorporated (NYLI Inc.) are bound to represent Negros Occidental in the upcoming Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Academic and Professional Fellowships to the United States this Spring 2023.

Teodoro Angelo Villanueva, Coleen Awit, and John Rey Reyes of NYLI Inc. were selected among thousands of applicants all over the Philippines, to represent the country in the competitive YSEALI Academic and Professional Fellowships to the United States, a press release from the institute said Tuesday, February 28.

Villanueva will be joining the YSEALI Professional Fellowship for Economic Empowerment in the United States. He blazed the trail of youth empowerment in Negros Occidental as he co-founded the Youth Empowering Youth Initiative Incorporated and the Negrosanon Young Leaders Institute Incorporated (formerly the Negrosanon Young Leaders Summit).

He is a secondary teacher at University of St. La Salle Bacolod and the Chief Executive Officer of Sagup Negros Inc. Villanueva is the current President of the Board of Trustees of NYLI Inc. He is from Brgy. Poblacion, Valladolid, Negros Occidental.

Awit will be joining the YSEALI Academic Fellowship for Environmental Issues at University of Montana, Missoula.

She is from Isabela, Negros Occidental, and currently the Advocacy and MEAL Manager of NYLI Inc. She graduated from the of University of St. La Salle Bacolod with a degree on Chemical Engineering. She was hired by the institute even before her graduation.

Her advocacy work in climate-related activities has brought about meaningful spaces for climate-related interventions on just transition and food-waste mitigation in Bacolod City and the province of Negros Occidental. Coleen is among the champions of the youth-led Coal Free Movement in the Province.

Reyes, a native of Brgy.1 Poblacion, La Carlota City, will be joining the YSEALI Academic Fellowship for Civic Engagement at the Arizona State University. He is the Programs Coordinator of NYLI Inc., and the president of the Federated Negrosanon Young Leaders Alumni Association. His works were focused on providing meaningful spaces for women and LGBTQ+ fisherfolks in the province and actively taking part in policy advocacy and community development. He is a Registered Fisheries Professional who graduated at the University of the Philippines with a degree in Fisheries.

Awit and Reyes were graduates of the first Negrosanon Young Leaders Summit 2017 that was directed by Ted Villanueva in January of the same year supported by the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental. Three of them have been at the forefront of the institute’s programs and advocacies over the past years in ensuring that children, young people and their families are provided with meaningful spaces to collectively address the issues that confront them and their communities.

The YSEALI Academic and Professional Fellowships is a program of the United States Department of State that provides young leaders with a deeper understanding in advocacy work and enhances their leadership skills and promotes cross-border cooperation to solve ASEAN and global challenges through a 5-week fellowship in the United States. *

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