March 21, 2017  |  

When GR3EN business is sexy and empowering young people find it essential to go GR3EN !

Yann Nguyen, YMCA –RGE member from Vietnam.

Last February, I was excited to be selected as one of 50 delegates – out of over 2500 applications –  for the Young South East Asia Leader’s Initiative (YSEALI) Generation Gr3en Workshop in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam with the profile of the YMCA-RGE.

The workshop is organized by AGREA from Philippines and sponsor by the US Embassy Department of State. Launched in 2013, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is the U.S. government’s signature program to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. YSEALI focuses on critical topics identified by youth in the region: civic engagement, environment and natural resources management, and entrepreneurship and economic development.


Generation Gr3en is one of the regional events held in 2017 for young people. The program includes 4 days of workshops with 6 international speakers from Brunei, Philippines, Germany, and Indonesia covering different topics. In particular, I was totally impressed by the talk from Matthias Gelber who was one of the judges of Miss Earth 2016. Matthias impressed all the participants with green business ideas and emphasized that all business can go green and going green is sexy. Surprisingly, I had a chance to talk with him and found out that he was also a member of the YMCA in Germany. What a small world!

The Environment was also a hot topic for Adeline Tiffanie Suwana, founder of the Sahabat Alam Foundation in Bali, Indonesia. Adeline pointed out how the environment has changed in the past few years in South East Asia and firmly stated that youth empowerment is the key for future environmental sustainability. Adeline also came to Paris for the COP21 as a part of the Indonesian party. Her work is inspiring and awesome. I felt like I have some connections with both presenters.

The main scope of this workshop was for the delegates to develop their own ideas to pitch for new green business. 50 participants were divided into 10 different groups to work on this. On the last day of the workshop, each team came up on the stage to start presenting their own ideas. I was assigned to be a part of group 1. My team’s project is called which is a platform to book green travel packages. The platform is a combined idea between online travel agents (hotels and activities), ECO TOURISM, airlines (buying add-on for their travel) and ECO COMMERCE. The difference here is that the list within the Eco-Tourism side was only for environmentally friendly accommodations like green resorts or eco-villages (the Radisson Hotel where I stayed is one of the more environmentally conscious urban hotels with lots of green messaging within the room and lobby) and the products listed on the Eco-Commerce are only for hand-made and eco-friendly items.


The motto is quite catchy with “Plan a trip, plant a tree” with a strong commitment that for every booking, a part of the benefit will go back to the environment in different forms (planting trees, wild life preservation, ocean cleaning …etc…). Finally, my project was selected with another one presented in the last day to come to the 2nd phase of the training in early April 2017 in the Philippines.

Here is a photo of me in the traditional Vietnam costume.

It’s awesome to start 2017 in a green way! YMCA-RGE Green heroes are on the move in different parts of the world. Don’t forget to stay tuned for environmental activities of each member of the team! Let’s wake up Green Giant!

See you again real soon.

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Mike Roberts
Mike Roberts
There are few professions where you get to make a real difference, impacting individuals, families and communities on a global scale. The YMCA has given me so many opportunities - organizing soccer camps in Haiti, teen leaders programs in Zimbabwe, helping to develop cancer survivor exercise opportunities in America. The Y is so much more.

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