Dear Omaha, Thank you for the lovely smiles…

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Privilege Speech in front of the  eleven (11) Board of Directors and the General Manager of Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District (P-MRNRD)

I was asked to share insights about my experiences in Omaha, Nebraska in the memorable board of directors meeting in the office of P-MRNRD last November 09, 2017 attended by staff and employees of the office. and this is my evening privilege speech and story…

To our Honorable Board of Directors, General Manager John Winkler, Technical Staff, Good Evening and Assalamo Alaikom Warahmatollahi Wabarakatoho! (Greetings of Peace).

Yours truly Asmarie M. Labao from Marawi City, Philippines is under The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), Professional Fellows Program launched in 2013. YSEALI, is a U.S. government’s signature program to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. Through a variety of programs and engagements, including U.S. educational and cultural exchanges, regional exchanges, and seed funding, YSEALI aims to build the leadership capabilities of youth in the region, strengthen ties between the United States and Southeast Asia, and nurture an ASEAN community. YSEALI focuses on critical topics identified by youth in the region such as civic engagement, environment and natural resources management, and entrepreneurship and economic development.

The YSEALI community consists of bright young leaders, 18–35 years old, from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Laos, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam who are making a difference in their communities, countries, and the region.

In the PHILIPPINES being considered hotspot in biodiversity and rich in natural resources consisting of 7,641 Islands which I believe a comprehensive NATURAL RESOURCES planning is a must. Technical skills, research and environmental leadership must be acquired and imperative in our present generation and for the future.

YSEALI professional exchange program gave us an opportunity to expand our broader perspective in looking globally issues. My concern and interest being a community leader promoting ecotourism, biodiversity conservation and environmental protection for RANAW WATERSHED, opens a lot of opportunities, bright ideas, innovations, and reinforcement to my commitment and responsibility to environment and to my community. My stayed here in Omaha, Nebraska shared of plenty of ideas, full of inspirations, and personal and professional skills, and developed networks for the purpose of strong collaboration and continuous exchange partnership among young professional in the US and the Philippines.

Since the day, when I arrived here in P-MRNRD last October 16, 2017 which I was introduced formally by Eric Williams in the meeting, until now I felt the sincerity, openness and engage able and  lovable smiles. Contrary to my expectations that being thought in the history in 1899-1902 that American people is our enemy. They are closed minded people, not friendly, and Anti-Muslim community. My exposures and professional interventions gave the light and positive impressions. It gives a wonderful memories in my life, and to my thousands Facebook followers, friends and families in the Philippines.

Indeed, I will bring another story of happy Nebraskans, bringing the chants GO BIG RED3x… A State in America, that we should proud of because of its Bravery, Patriotism,  Peace loving people, Active Citizen, and Welcoming people in the Midpart of America embracing a GREEN and Collaborative livable community. It also manifest during my couple of time meeting among immigrants from Malaysia, Pakistan, Sodanis  and other REFUGEEs I met and encountered that they really loved and care this place (Omaha), in fact they told me that they will bring their family here Omaha to live peacefully. I also have a chance to talked to one of the service Crew in the Hotel where I stay, she shared to me how lucky she is of having a Good Job in Omaha, and plenty of inspiring people I’ve heard during the Open Coffee  sharing’s I’ve attended manifested the greatness of people in Omahanians and Nebraskans.

Several meetings and visitations I’ve had such as government offices entire Nebraska, such Nebraska Environmental Trust, Department of Environmental Quality, US National Game and Parks, Tour in States Capital, Omaha Parks and Recreations, and University visits to Nebraska Campus and Omaha Campus which I learnt how Academe committed to address and response the needs of the community and help the government in attaining the goal we want to achieved 50 years from now, a well developed and livable community.

To Paul, Lori and Amanda, thank you for the chance sharing your significant contribution in our projects on natural resources management. For Eric Williams, for his dedication to Omaha, his patience and perseverance hosting my fellowship, giving me unlimited services, offering exciting community engagement among Omahanians, his family circle, friends and networks makes my experiences a colorful and inspirational fellowship.

Indeed, I observed that P-MRNRD has a full of experts and output oriented people/employees who are really passionate about nurturing development of natural resources, and sustainable development for the whole environs of Nebraskans. With that, I hope and I pray for all the best, luck, and remarkable success to NRD family. Congratulations to all you.

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Presenting of Certificate to PH YSEALI Fellow Asmarie M Labao From R to L (Assistant General Manager Marlin Petermann P.E. , General Manager John Winkler, PH YSEALI Fellow Asmarie Labao, YSEALI Mentor Eric Williams, and Board Member David Klug, Gretna

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