Ayala Young Leaders Congress (AYLC), the Ayala group’s flagship program for youth development, convened on its 15th year from February 5 to 8 in Alfonso, Cavite. Eighty-one student leaders from colleges and universities across the country attended the 15th AYLC to exchange views on the theme, “Leadership Imperative: Confronting and Adapting to Changing Realities.”

As keynote speaker, Hon. Mario Victor Leonen, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, shared his experiences in the academe and government including challenges he faced in his former role as Chief Negotiator of the Peace Talks in Mindanao.

Annually, AYLC chooses eighty of the country’s most promising student leaders to participate in a four-day leadership summit that features in-depth workshops and consultation sessions, rigorous experiential learning activities, and inspiring talks and panel discussions from distinguished leaders of society.

This year, delegates had the chance to listen to and interact with Ayala group executives led by Ayala chairman emeritus Jaime Zobel de Ayala, chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, president and COO Fernando Zobel de Ayala, and Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) president Aurelio Montinola III. Officers from Ayala Land, BPI, Globe Telecom, Manila Water Company, Integrated Micro-Electronics, Ayala Automotive Holdings, and Ayala Foundation also helped facilitate some sessions.

In what alumni describe as a life-changing experience, AYLC is a holistic and intensive leadership program framed on the principles of “servant leadership.”

AYLC carefully selects individuals from various disciplines to provide concrete examples of servant leadership in action. This year’s panelists included Expo Mejia, coach of the Philippine Volcanoes, Maribel Garcia of The Mind Museum, and Rappler.com’s Glenda Gloria; Phinma’s Ramon del Rosario, Jr., former COMELEC chairman Christian Monsod, and Sister Eva Maano of the Foundation of Our Lady of Peace Mission; and AYLC alumni Bonar Laureto, executive director of Philippine Business for the Environment, Dr. Bryan Albert Lim, and Khal Mambuay-Campong, secretary-general of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. Emily Abrera, Cheche Lazaro, and Gang Badoy-Capati moderated the panel sessions.

The congress was immediately followed by the AYLC community’s 3rd Alumni Grand Reunion held on February 9 at The Circuit in Makati City.

One highlight of the gathering was Starfish Fair 2013, a showcase of 10 development projects that AYLC alumni have initiated over the years. The fair serves as a venue to share best practices in organizing community projects and provides an opportunity to replicate and support the various initiatives.

Says John Philip S. Orbeta, managing director of Ayala Corporation and AYLC program director: “These are exciting times for all of us as our alumni community has formed the Ayala Young Leaders Alumni Association, Inc., and is set to explore more projects that serve communities.”

With 1,043 alumni involved in various sectors here and abroad, AYLC forms a strong network of young leaders who are values oriented and have a sense of stewardship for their respective communities. Individually and collectively, they have been active in relief operations, leadership camps, educational and livelihood programs, medical missions, and other development work.

“We are celebrating more than just 15 years of a leadership congress,” says Orbeta. “We are celebrating 15 years of young Filipinos making a difference in the communities they serve. It is also a promise to do more for the country in the years to come.”