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With the Summit only a few days away to be held in Cebu, The Philippines, here is a sneak peek at some of the Speakers lined up for the Summit Well!



Mr. Milinda Rajapaksha, Member, Colombo Municipal Council


Milinda is a high-profile, award-winning and experienced youth leader, public servant, leadership trainer, Creative strategist and international youth rights advocate with over a decade of grassroots experience. He has worked and travelled in over 30 countries, five continents and engaged with numerous governments, businesses and NGOs.



Mr. Balu Iyer, Regional Director, ICA-AP


Mr. Iyer joined as Regional Director for Asia-Pacific in April, 2014. He has over 25 years’ experience managing international development operations and overseeing multiple country offices including experience building new offices from the ground up. Mr. Iyer worked in India in co-operative development before moving abroad to work on Asian regional concerns for overseas agencies.




Mr. Ahsan Ali Thakur, Pakistan


Mr. Thakur is the current Chairperson of the ICA-AP Committee on Youth Cooperation. He has been working in co-operatives since 2007 with the Karachi Co-operative Housing Society Union Ltd. He has participated in International Conferences on various topics related to Co- operatives as a youth representative of Pakistan in ICA.



Mr. Brian Lariche, Malaysia

Mr. Lariche is the Board Member, Asia, for Aflatoun International. He is the Founder/Chief Community Strategist of Lariche Community, a CSR advisory and community development consultancy company. He was Project Adviser for the UNDP in HIV, focusing on leadership and capacity identification and development. He is a global trainer and monitoring and evaluation specialist.





Ms. Raquel Choa, Founder, The Chocolate Chamber, The Philippines


Growing up in difficult circumstances, Raquel’s memories of her grandmother making chocolate tablea (pure chocolate) and her stories about the legend of Maria Cacao greatly influenced Raquel Choa’s later life. Unable to complete her education, she earned a meagre living, married at 16, and subsequently had eight children to care for. Despite the difficulties, she rediscovered her passion for chocolate and was able to overcome many obstacles. She became a successful entrepreneur and known as the Chocolate Queen of Cebu.




Ms. Samiramis Shahesmaili, Iran


Ms. Shahesmaili is a member of the Barg-e-No Research and Training cooperative and Rah-e- Roshd Cooperative Educational and Cultural Complex (RCEC) in Iran. Barg-e- No has made efforts in line with empowerment of women in deprived areas of the country through training them in handicraft and helping with marketing their products. It also aims at developing educational networks in deprived areas.



Mr. Jed Senthil, Singapore


Mr. Senthil is a former civil servant vested in the local youth and social services sector, and, has been actively involved with the National Youth Council, SSEAYP International Singapore & youth networks. He was nominated for two youth awards in 2013 & 2014. He currently works as the Team Lead, NTUC, Service, Campus & Youth, Singapore National Co-operative Federation




Ms. Hilda Ojall, Kenya


Ms. Ojall has been involved in educating Credit Unions / SACCOs on building capacity of their members on issues that affect smooth running of SACCOs and particularly the youth across Africa. Being the Alliance Africa Youth Network President, the opportunity has opened a way for the youth in co-operatives to be heard and understood by the entire movement, it has also enhanced youth participation in co-operative activities nationally and regionally



Ms. Justine Limocon, The Philippines


Ms. Limocon is the Head of the Business Development Centre of Lamac Multipurpose Cooperative, Cebu. She is the recipient of the prestigious Joe Biden Award for Development Educator of the year 2017. In 2016, her team won the first prize in COOP PITCH during the first Asia Pacific Co-operative Youth Summit held in Bali, Indonesia



Ms. Trinh Thi Ly , Human Resource and Tourism Services Manager, Sinh Duoc Herbal Cooperative, Vietnam


Ly is one of the co-founders of the model “Sinh Duoc Ecosystem”. She received a B.A of English for Scientific Purposes from Hanoi University of Science and Technology. Born in a rural area, Ly can understand the farmers’ needs, desire when taking part in production, and developing a Cooperative. In addition, she has gained practical experience from her participation in community activities, events for the youth in her university and her village, so that she has the suitable methods of operating the model of community tourism to maintain a healthy interaction between local people and tourists in the “Sinh Duoc Ecosystem”.





Ms. Kanupriya Sehgal, Founder, Bee Positive, India


Kanupriya is a former journalist turned agriculture professional who has been associated with the farming sector  since  2012.  She  feels most  at  home  in  the  rural  hinterland  and  has  visited  some  of  the  remotest villages of India as a part  of her work. Her close association  with agriculture helped her realize some of the biggest challenges in the sector. She realized that if the economic situation in the villages has to be improved the rural women have to be empowered and trained in income generating activities so that they too  can  contribute  to  the  GDP  of  the  country. Since  these  women  lived  in  areas  where  there  was  an abundance of natural resources Kanupriya decided to train them in beekeeping because beekeeping is a virtual goldmine! Kanupriya organized these  trainings  through  her  socially  sustainable  start-up  BeePositive++  which  she set-up  in  2016. BeePositive++  was  handpicked  by  the  India’s  premiere  Institute-The  Indian  Institute of Technology(IIT)-Delhi  for  an  exclusive  mentorship  program  and was  given  a  grant  and  an  award  of excellence by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.




Mr. Yonten Dorji, Chairperson, Shamo Zhimpu Production Youth Cooperative, Bhutan


Mr. Dorji is the Chairperson of the Shamo Zhimpo Production Youth Cooperative which is a registered group under the Cooperative Act of Bhutan. The main objectives of the Cooperative are to substitute imports of mushrooms in Bhutan, to generate youth employment opportunities and to enhance sustainability and food sufficiency. Mr. Dorji has received specialized training in the cultivation of mushrooms and hopes to expand the membership pf his cooperative to include more youth and provide them with gainful employment, and contribute to sustainable agriculture.



Ms. Viknesh Rajandran, Malaysia


Mr. Rajandran is the Chief Executive Officer at Koperasi Coop2u Berhad. He has vast experience in Cooperatives, Digital commerce, Online, Field, Inside Sales, IT Solution Integrator, F&B, Marketing, Call Centre, Business Development to name a few. He has spoken widely in international conferences and Summits



Mr. Wooyeol Sim, Korea


Mr. Sim founded an education cooperative for young students called ACADEMICOOP. The Co- operative's members are teachers and they focus on making the learning community as a voluntary association of free individuals.



Mr. Santosh Kumar, India


Mr. Kumar is currently the Program Manager for the ICA-EU Partnership at ICA-AP. He also serves as secretary for the Committee on Youth Cooperation and the Committee on University/Campus Co-operatives. Santosh has co-authored the ICA-AP study on By laws of Primary Co-operatives in Asia and Pacific along with Mr. Rangan Dutta I.A.S (Retd.) in 2013 and supported the 4th Critical Study on Co-operative Legislations and Policy Reforms in 2012.





Mr. Mark Villarin, Co-Founder, Red Root Artists Cooperative, The Philippines


Mark Villarin is a technology entrepreneur, founding member and chairperson of RedRoot Artists Cooperative. His recent project on Pag-IBIG Fund Video has won the "Award of Excellence" in the 16th Philippine Quill Awards. He was also given an award by the Local Government of Quezon City in recognition of his contribution to the community as the cooperative chairperson. He is the project lead of the modernization of 7 national museums in the Philippines and counting.




Ms. Lasalette Gumban, The Philippines


Ms. Gumban is the Unit Head of the Children and Youth Program of NATCCO and concurrently the Program Officer of the NATCCO Diaspora Program. She has 11 years of experience in managing the Children and Youth Program of the network. She is responsible for the overall implementation of the children and youth program of NATCCO, particularly its flagship program, the Aflatoun Child Social and Financial Education, in partnership with DoE.



Mr. Noland Penas, The Philippines


He is the National Chairperson of PAKISAMA or National Confederation of Family Farmer's Organisations, which is the national movement of farmers, indigenous people, women & youth in the Philippines. He has been part of a 20-year successful struggle to reclaim their land.