Sunday, May 28, 2006

2006 Reach for the Stars Pan-Asian Youth Leadership Conference

Good morning everybody,

As you know, my name is SOPHAN which means a Bright Man. I am a Buddhist monk and my new name is called VODANO which means A Peaceful Man. I am not from Shoaling, but I am from Cambodia. I was born in a quiet town called Siem Reap which Angkor Wat (the world cultural wonder heritage) was erected there.

Today I am very honored and thankful to all of everybody who has made such a wonderful today. I am not going to talk about Buddhism, but I’m going to tell about my personal experiences in Community Enhancement and Leadership. After I graduated from high school in 1993 I decided to live a life with poverty, a simple life or a monastic way. I thought to stay only three months during the Raining Retreat Season. But through the peacefulness and insight I got from a deep meditation led me to stay longer and longer till now.

As a monk I have met many people with different characters and thought. They come from different directions and backgrounds. They bring to us with both positive and negative perspectives. In this matter, I am on behalf of spiritual leader is not different from secular leaders that I have to be:
- open minded
- flexible
- good interacting
- good communicating
- psychological understanding
- energetic
- hospital
- kind
- and knowledgeable...etc

Mostly, I have worked with youth though I am a youth. Now I am considering that I am a youth although I am a little bit more than 30 years old. I am still young and energetic.
As I am a youth I always have a dream. I think that dream is an important part of my life. Dream I mean in here is not an imaginary or a nightmare. But it is a systematic projecting or our idealistic thinking. Of course, we are naturally having the wandering thinking of mind. Especially, during our childhood and teenager, we always dream this and that. But we have to put it in the order.

All times, when I am thinking of wanting something I want to get it quickly. I want to have it immediately. But it is just a disadvantage of dreaming. Everybody knows that “Rome cannot build in a day”. In order to reach our goal, we have to start our journey step by step with a firm commitment.

The Enlightened One taught us about the Four Basises of Success that:
1. Will or aspiration: set up our dream with a willpower and willingness to achieve our work or duties.
2. Effort or endurance: try to do them restlessly
3. Thoughtfulness: always think and consider about the works or duties we are doing.
4. Reasoning or investigation: always examine and investigate the works or duties we are doing. To conclude and find out that the result is acceptable and useful or not.

It is critical that in order to achieve something we have to set up our goal, try to do it, pay attention with it and check the result. If the result is good and acceptable, pursue our work.

Actually, leadership is very important for individual. It starts from individuals. We can say that we cannot achieve anything if we don’t have leadership in our heart. So leadership starts from individual’s commitment. Firstly, we have to train to lead ourselves. If we cannot lead ourselves, we cannot lead others. If we want to lead others, we have to lead ourselves first.

There are three steps to develop individual’s leadership.
First step: train our mind, purify our mind and empower our mind.
Second step: adjust and concentrate on our speech, improve our communication ability and enrich our verbalizing.
Third step: better our action, correct and improve it.

Naturally, our mind is the forerunner, the master and the commander. It commands us to speak, and through our speech leading to action. So when our thinking is good, our speech is good and our action is good too. But when our thought is bad, our speech is bad and our action is bad too. To be a good leader, we have to be good in training our mind.
When our mind is peace, we will have strong willpower which leads to be a successful leader.

"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." - Buddha

Venerable Preah Bhikkhu Vodano
2006 Reach for the Stars PanAsian Youth Leadership Conference
Saturday May 27th, 2006 - Calgary Opera Centre - 1315 –7th Street SW
Thank you for participating in the 2006 Reach for the Stars PanAsian Youth Leadership Conference!
9:30 am Registration
Mentors Sign-Up
9:45 am Welcome & Icebreaker
10:00 am Keynote address by Veer Gidwaney; Questions & Answers
10:50 am Break
10:55 am Canadian Heritage Presentation by Daniel Larabie & Hai Nguyen
11:10 am Luncheon
11:15 pm Mentorship Intercultural Exchange
12:15 pm Break
12:25 pm Leadership Calgary Presentation by Garvey Chui
12:30 pm Workshop A “Stepping up as Leaders” (2nd Floor) by Hieu Ngo, Coalition for
Equal Access to Education
12:30 pm Workshop B “Film Club” Screening, National Film Board of Canada
- Smita Acharyya, Kelly Isaac, Ben Tsui, Anne Marie-Nakagawa - Panelists
- Janet Miller - Panel Moderator
2:30 pm Announcements of Youth projects
Return Evaluations
Goodie Bags courtesy of Department of Canadian Heritage

Meet Your Mentors
(in alphabetical order, by first name)
Program: Ask Your Mentor Cultural Exchange and Discussion
Time: May 27/2006 -- session #1 @ 11:30AM / session #2 @ 11:50AM / session #3 @ 12:10PM
Summary: Get to know these mentors – read their biographies and pick your top 3. You will join 9-10 friends to interact with the mentor of your choice. Each session with each mentor will last about 20 minutes. There will be 3 sessions in total. During registration, there will be sign-up sheets to secure your spot with your favorite mentors. After you sign up, please circle the session number and the table number to reminder yourself (underneath the photo).

Anila Umar
Disciplines: Author, Social Activist

Anila Umar is 1 of 2 Canadian women featured in the ground-breaking
international anthology, Imagining Ourselves. Umar is a native Calgarian, an
emerging author and a social activist. She is currently working with the Youth
Possibilities Project at the Centre for Newcomers, and is a member of Imagine
Calgary’s Round Table. In 2001, Umar received the Governor General’s Award
for women’s leadership and decision making.
(Table 2. Session #1 #2 #3)

Balfour Der
Discipline: Criminal Law
Balfour Der has been described by the Calgary Herald as "arguably Calgary's
top defence counsel." Mr. Der is a senior partner at Batting Der law firm. He
was a senior trial prosecutor for the Crown Prosecutor's Office in Calgary from
1981 to 1990. In 1988 Balfour joined the appellate division of the Crown's Office
where he handled appeal cases before the Alberta Court of Appeal and the
Supreme Court of Canada. Balfour teaches criminal law and is the author of
two criminal law text books as well as numerous papers and articles for
seminars and lectures. As he says, "I eat, drink and sleep criminal law." Balfour
Der is a former Junior A hockey player. Now he spends his spare time coaching
lacrosse and hockey, and running marathons. He is also the chair of the CPO
Concert Committee, Asian Heritage Foundation.
(Table 3. Session #1 #2 #3)

Ben Tsui
Discipline: Applied Arts in Movies/Theatre

Born in the former British colony of Hong Kong, but raised and educated in the
Canadian Prairies, Ben prides himself as an all around arts & culture enthusiast
in Calgary. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Designs from
the University of Calgary, as well as an Applied Arts Diploma in Television
Productions from SAIT. He was instrumental in supplying endless Canadian,
Québécois, international, alternative, anime and Hong Kong cinema titles to our
city’s emerging video rental scene during the early eighties to the late nineties.
Ben was also one of the founding Board members for the popular Calgary
International Film Festival. Currently, he has found the calling to chair both the
Asian Heritage Foundation of Southern Alberta’s annual “Calgary ImaginASIAN
Film Festival” and “GlobalFest Film Festival”. (Table 4. Session #1 #2 #3)

Cory Vo
Disciplines: Information Technologies, Oil and Gas Financial Accounting,

Cory migrated to Canada in his early teens from Vietnam. He attended the
University of Calgary majoring in Petroleum Economics. Cory is passionate
about community and charity initiatives and volunteers for various organizations
such as the Calgary Vietnamese Youth Group, Vietnamese Students
Association, Asian Heritage Foundation, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation,
and United Way Committee – many in leadership capacity. He is a Financial
Systems Analyst at Petro-Canada. Prior to this, he was the Project Coordinator
at ARC Resources Ltd. Cory was an award-winning project manager at the
International Travel Expo (Frankfurt, Germany, 2001) during his tenure at Sutrix
Media in Singapore. At the age of 16 (in 1996), he founded a small software
development and graphics design company. Currently he is the president and
owner of Energy Business Consultants Ltd. Cory loves mountain-biking and
long-distance running. He is also a professional DJ and a bass at the Petro-
Canada Choir.
(Table 5. Session #1 #2 #3)

Emilie Vo-Tigley
Discipline: Medicine

Part of the first waves of Vietnamese boat people, Emilie immigrated to Calgary
in 1980. She graduated from the University of Calgary with major in
Microbiology in 1993 and then with MD degree in 1998. Emilie underwent
residency training in Family Medicine at the University of Alberta. A proud
mother of 3 beautiful boys - Emily enjoys running and listening to old-fashion
Vietnamese music.
(Table 6. Session #1 #2 #3)

Garvey Chui
Disciplines: Social Entrepreneurship, Human Resources
Actress or advocate, builder or broker, professional or pro bono, you will find
Garvey active and engaged in a whirlwind of social, cultural and charitable
ventures. A graduate of Queen's University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in
Sociology and Psychology, she's the co-founder of The Verb Group (TVG), a
creative agency and incubator for social entrepreneurship in Alberta. She is
currently Program Coordinator and Recruiter for Immigrant Works at Bowen
Workforce Solutions, a world-class leader in corporate staffing solutions, and
has worked with organizations such as the Calgary Health Region, the Ethno-
Cultural Council of Calgary, and Canada25, a nationwide organization for
young adults interested in policy making. She's also an active volunteer for
such organizations as the Calgary Chinese Community Service Association and
the Canadian Cancer Society. Garvey will soon be a 2006 Leadership Calgary
alumni and was recently selected as a Champion for Diversity for the United
Nations Association of Canada (UNAC). (Table 7. Session #1 #2 #3)

Hieu Ngo
Disciplines: Social Work, Social Justice
Hieu Van Ngo is a passionate advocate for social justice. He is the Director of
the Coalition for Equal Access to Education. Concurrently, he is pursuing his
doctoral study in the Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary. He also
serves as the chair of the All Nations Theatre Society, the co-chair of the
Canadian Coalition for Immigrant Children and Youth, a board member of the
Ethnocultural Council of Calgary, and a grant committee member of the Calgary
Foundation. Hieu Van Ngo received the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award from
1993 to 1997. He was the recipient of the Doctoral Fellowship of the
Government of Alberta in 2005. Currently, he holds the Doctoral Fellowship,
awarded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
(Table 8. Session #1 #2 #3)

Jay Arr Raymundo
Disciplines: Investment/Financial Consulting, Media
Jay is a Financial Advisor at TD Canada Trust. He is also Part Owner and Vice
President Client Relations at Mabuhay Calgary, a monthly newspaper for
Filipino Calgarians. A Bachelor of Commerce graduate from the University of
Manitoba, majoring in Marketing and Small Business Management, Jay is also
a very active community leader. He is a board member of the Philippine
Emergency Response Team (PERT) and volunteer at various organizations
(Asian Heritage Foundation, Junior Achievement). He competes in the Calgary
Men's Basketball League as well as the Filipino Basketball League and Asian
Basketball League. He also volunteers as a coach for Stars Basketball
Program. Jay also trains in Estokada/Kali (Filipino Martial Arts) to stay fit.
(Table 9. Session #1 #2 #3)

Lisa Tan
Disciplines: Marketing, Community Development

Lisa Tan has been an active member of the city’s community events. In high
school, she won the Bow Valley Youth Entrepreneur contest and started her
own clothing design company. One year later, she was chosen to be second
place out of 2055 visual arts entries across Canada in the Butterfly 208
Contest. Since 2002, she has held many leadership positions at various
community organizations throughout Calgary: the Kids Help Phone, Best
Buddies International, University of Calgary EcoClub and the Youth Volunteer
Corps. In 2004, she won the Lion Julie Ann Stevenson Humanitarian Award for
her leadership efforts in the community. Currently, she is pursuing a double
degree at the University of Calgary in marketing and psychology, and works as
a team leader for the organization she once volunteered for: the Youth
Volunteer Corps.
(Table 10. Session #1 #2 #3)

Mark Cruz
Disciplines: Social Work, Disk-Jockey

Mark Cruz is 28 years old. He was born and raised in Toronto but moved to
Calgary in 1997. Mark completed the Social Work Diploma at Mount Royal
College. He is a Youth Worker since 1999 and is currently working at the
Marlborough Teen Resource Centre. Mark Cruz is a professional DJ, and a
member of the Suns of Boey DJ Crew. Mark Cruz’s goals are to enjoy life,
contribute to his community in positive ways, and evolve his DJ skills further,
and create lots of original music. (Table 11. Session #1 #2 #3)

Naheed Nenshi
Discipline: Non-Profit Business Management
Naheed is an educator and consultant based in Calgary. An instructor at Mount
Royal College’s Bissett School of Business, primarily in the Bachelors Degree
in Applied Non-profit Studies, he is also Managing Director of the Ascend
Group, a consultancy focused on helping non-profit and for-profit organizations
grow. His clients include the United Nations and the Gap. Previously, he
taught Corporate Finance and Marketing courses at the University of Calgary’s
Haskayne School of Business and was an engagement manager with the
global strategy consulting firm of McKinsey and Company. A failed amateur
actor, Naheed holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree with distinction from the
University of Calgary – where he was President of the Students’ Union and a
recipient of the largest undergraduate scholarship – as well as a Master in
Public Policy degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at
Harvard University, where he studied as a Kennedy Fellow.
(Table 12. Session #1 #2 #3)

Quyen Hoang
Discipline: Art History, Fine Arts
Quyen Hoang was born in Hanoi, Vietnam and came to Canada with her family
when she was eight years old. She studied painting and art history at the
University of Calgary (BFA, BA) and received her Masters Degree in Art History
through Concordia University, Montreal. Quyen has been part of the Art
department at the Glenbow Museum since 2000. She was the curator of the art
exhibit Foreign and Familiar: Reconsidering the Everyday which featured the
works of five contemporary Asian-Canadian artists and is currently working on a
contemporary online art project, funded by the Virtual Museum of Canada.
Quyen also volunteers with the Calgary Vietnamese Youth Group, and was the
narrator in the acclaimed musical production Vietnam Seasons: a 30-year
journey comes to life.
(Table 13. Session #1 #2 #3)

Sophan Seng
Disciplines: Philosophy, Meditation, Pedagogical Development

Sophan shatters every stereotype and misconception that the monastic way of
life is monotonous and solitary. As a Vice-Abbot, Facilitator, Mediator,
Meditation Teachers, and Khmer Language Teacher at the Khmer-Canadian
Buddhist Cultural Centre – life is anything but monotonous. After obtaining his
B.A. in Philosophy, Sophan attended the first year of his M.A. program in
Oriental Epigraphy at the Silpakorn University (Bangkok, Thailand) at which
point his academic pursuit was interrupted by the political tension between
Thailand and Cambodia. Sophan speaks four languages (Khmer, Thai, Laos
and English) and is an expert at leveraging the Internet medium to preserve
and promote the Khmer Language and Culture as well as Cambodian
Buddhism. Sophan was the recipient of various fellowships and awards in
Thailand and Canada for his work in youth outreach and pedagogical
professional development. (Table 13. Session #1 #2 #3)

Online Mentorship Network: We are very excited to introduce the Online Mentorship Network. This will be the first project of its kind in the City of Calgary. Planning is currently under way. A domain name has been secure: This initiative is spearheaded by the Calgary Vietnamese Youth Group. We strongly believe that there are youths out there, who have every desire to develop their personal and leadership skills, but are too shy or do not have the time or resource to attend leadership conferences. The Online Mentorship Network offers a convenient, discrete and supportive environment where mentors and youths can interact, spawn friendships and help the youths reach their highest potential. We expect to launch this project in October 2006. Please check the web site periodically for further development.

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