The Star >
THE Hitachi Young Leaders Initiative (HYLI), which grew out of Hitachi Limited’s desire to reach out to the communities it is operating in, reflects the multinational’s (MNC) commitment to the development of the region.
Tsunehiro Takahashi, senior manager of its global business development division’s external affairs department, observes: “Before 1996, we saw the necessity of a regional programme for MNCs operating in the South-East Asian region, so we conducted a survey to find out what was needed.”
After thorough research, Hitachi drew up a programme that would not only stimulate thought and discussion but also groom Asian youths to take on the responsibility for the future of their society.
Thus, HYLI as we know it now was launched in 1996 in Singapore.
Takahashi notes that it was difficult initially to explain Hitachi’s objectives: “At first the people in the Asean region were not sure what Hitachi wanted to do, and we had to visit universities in the individual countries to explain the concept.”
In the course of the past six years, HYLI has come to be recognised as a major platform for the development of student leaders in the region.
“More people are supporting this programme now and we are confident that its role in the region is very well established.”
However, Takahashi opines that the challenge to achieve HYLI’s objectives continues:
“I can’t say how successful we are as the task is still ongoing. But on a personal level, the moment any of the past participants become key players in the region and starts planning for the future of the next generation, then I will feel that the objectives have been met by Hitachi.”