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Adzhar J. Madjid, 2009-2010 Youth Exchange Study (YES) Program Alumnus

Adzhar J. Madjid

  Adzhar J. Madjid of Jolo, Sulu attended high school in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania in 2009-2010 under the American Field Service - Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (AFS-YES) Program.  He is currently a student at the University of Zamboanga and the President of the American Field Service Zamboanga Peninsula Chapter, among many other volunteer activities.  He recently visited the United States again for workshop called “Training of Trainers” sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.  Here he shares his thoughts about his most recent trip to the United States and his enthusiasm for applying the lessons he learned back home in the Philippines.

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   Kudos! I’m Adzhar J. Madjid or simply Adz. I’m 18 years of age and was born in Jolo-Sulu. I’m Muslim by religion, practicing ISLAM and submitting myself to ALLAH. I’m currently enrolled at Universidad de Zamboanga taking up Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.

  I am the chapter president of American Field Service Zamboanga Peninsula Chapter. I am also an active member and officer of the different community organization in our local region: Silpeace Youth Program – Silsilah Dialogue Movement for Peace, Youth Solidarity for Peace (Ten Accomplished Youth Organization - TAYO awardee year 2010 and 2011), Peace Advocate Zamboanga, Interreligious Solidarity Movement for Peace, Mindanao Tripartite Youth Core – Bishop Ulama Conference.

  I went on an exchange program called American Field Service ( - Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program ( in 2009-2010. It is an exchange program sponsored by US Department of State Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs ( to study in the United State of America for one academic year. I was hosted in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania under AFS USA ( hosting organization.

  Recently, I was selected as one of the official representative by AFS Intercultural Programs Philippines to Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) workshop and Training of Trainers (ToT) 2012, representing the KL YES alumni in the Philippines. The events were held last March 7-17 at Hilton Hotel, Alexandria Old Town, Virginia just outside of Washington DC.

 March 7-11 is the ECA conference hosted by AFS USA for volunteers and staff involved in implementing Bureau of Education and Culture – US Department of State sponsored programs (Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange, Youth Exchange and Study Program, Future Leaders Exchange, National Security Language Initiative for Youth). This was participated by the different countries around the world, AFS USA staff and Volunteers, US Department of State representatives, YES/NSLI-Y/CBYX/FLEX alumni, and other hosting-partner organizations.

  One of the highlight of ECA is our Congressional Visit at Capitol Hill. Since I was hosted in PA, I am to meet with Pennsylvania representative, Sen. Robert Casey. We have a talk with his office representative, Ms. Chloe Bowser. As an alumnus, I got to addressed some of the alumni activities and engagement after our program, what we are been doing in our respective community, and shared how does the YES program help me as an individual. In returned, I also gained knowledge on how the US Department of State supports the program and why doing so.

  Aside from the different sessions, which are very helpful especially to those volunteers and hosting organizations, another highlight of the workshop is the International Bazaar – different countries got to represent their country highlight (e.g culture) in the assigned corner. This activity is to allow the AFS USA volunteers and hosting organizations to roam around and take a look at each country’s corner, ask questions/clarifications. With me to represent the Philippines corner were Ms. Rahiema “Bonnie” Guerra – AFS IPP Partner Chair/AYA President, Ms. Shalee V. Eduave – AFS IPP Programs Manager, and Fatima Rona Halud – KL YES alumna 2009-2010 also my partner to these events (ECA/ToT). Prior to this activity, a Country Presentation was also conducted where we also got to represent the AFS Philippines in general. It’s more on Question and Answer session about our country and the exchange students that we send abroad.

  One of the unforgettable moments on ECA is the cultural evening - everybody’s waiting for. It’s most likely the culminating activity for ECA. The YES/NSLI-Y alumni, a total of 24 alumni from 13 different countries including us, presented a cultural performance as an alumni group. Each country representatives taught us their cultural dance that lasted a minute. We taught them ethnic dance of Tausog (people from Jolo) called the “Kulintang”. In the end we got to learned and performed 13 various dances from around the globe. It was fun doing each other dances which is unfamiliar and as we presented to the ECA participants they said it was just perfect. After the performance, people in the crowd keep coming and congratulating us for a job well done. I got to talk with some important person in the program including AFS USA President – Jorge Castro, former AFS International President – Tachi Cazal, US Senator (Oregon) – Tom Taylor, and other US Department of State representatives and volunteers.

  March 12-17, after ECA, ToT comes next. ToT is an International KL YES alumni conference also hosted by AFS USA, the program is also funded by US Department of State. The main goal of this program is to improve the training and capacity of AFS Staff & Volunteer Trainers; to strengthen the impact and long term effectiveness of AFS training by improving the quantity and quality of that training.  

  From this training, I’ve got to identify and describe eleven essential components of effective training design, namely; identifying the Problem (Perceived Need/Interest), Topic (Perceived Subject), do Assessment (Actual Need/Interest/Subject), Goals (Why?/Purpose), Objectives (Behavioral Results), Content (What to include?), Methodology (How to conduct?), Practice (Try/Do), Evaluation (Measured Achievement), Application (Implementation), then do the Follow-Up (Retention/Integration). I found it very useful in designing training structures especially in my local chapter while applying these eleven components to the development of my own training. I also demonstrated a piece of training to trainback1 group before the end of ToT and received feedback from the group on how to better improve my training design. ToT also helps me list few things that can help establish a positive training/learning climate; I got develop a personal plan for integration of what I learned into my current field of works, as a student and a community volunteer. These are just few to mention learning that I acquired during ToT. One thing that really helps me in starting a training/project is to be S.M.A.R.T – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time – appropriate.

  ToT is more on sessions but in a very interactive, mobilize, fun and enjoyable way. I don’t even get bored on the duration of training. I enjoyed while learning and got to share a lot of my perspective as well as others. I can’t imagine those references with 15 different sections, more than hundred pages to twig in my mind within just 4 days and yet I did without even getting bored. It’s just a manifestation of how effective our trainers really are and hopefully I’ll be like them someday.

  I thought attending these programs will help me improve the alumni engagement most especially in my local chapter by learning new strategies and become an effective trainer and yet it happened and even surpassed my expectations. Now, I’m on the progress of implementing projects and activities in my chapter including “Team Building” activity for the alumni and conducting community projects for follow-on activities.                                                                                                                        

  ECA & ToT were indeed a short conference happened within two weeks, but I felt like it was a yearlong journey. The learning experience I had, will last a lifetime and I’ll make sure to share it to my fellow alumni and to the rest of my co-youth. Within that short period of time, I’ve got to learned a lot, explore and break free, and create a life-long bond with new friends across the continents.

  Above all, I’d like to thank ALLAH for giving me the opportunity. My family for their support, my school – Universidad de Zamboanga, the AFS IPP, AFS USA and the US Department of State / US Embassy Manila, for being God’s instruments to this another journey of mine; otherwise I couldn’t have this opportunity. I am so grateful from being a YES participant to the United States in 2009 and being granted to attend this alumni conference. This initiative really helps the alumni like me to enhance still the knowledge and intercultural learning experiences learned while in the program. I strongly encourage the alumni especially KL YES, to apply for this program. (From AFS) Let’s continue connecting lives, sharing cultures.

  As a KL YES and ToT alumnus, I’ll make sure to continue my journey with YES program through US Department of State and AFS. The training does not only help me gain new training strategies or taught me to be an effective trainer but most of all; it helps me grow as an individual.

PADAYON! – Moving On!