Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – The former first lady of the United States and one of Hollywood’s most recognizable leading ladies teamed up on Thursday for a talk focusing on their joint efforts to empower girls to become future leaders.
Michelle Obama and Julia Roberts reflected on their trip to Vietnam to work with the Girls Opportunity Alliance – a program belonging to the Obama Foundation – and shared personal anecdotes in an on-stage conversation moderated by Malaysian presenter Deborah Henry in Kuala Lumpur.
“Intellect knows no gender. Possibility doesn’t know race. It doesn’t know religion,” Obama said at the start of her wide-ranging chat with Roberts and Henry before an audience mainly comprised of young people taking part in the Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia-Pacific Program. “Kids are born on this Earth with a thing in them – either it gets developed or it gets squandered.”
“To think there are 98 million girls out there that were born just like I was, just like Julia was, with a hunger, with a something in them that they know they have – regardless of what they’re told – and to have that not be invested in… that’s what sinks hopes, that’s what wastes minds and that’s what wastes resources,” the charismatic ex-FLOTUS, lawyer and writer added.
The colloquy was part of a five-day event that kicked off on Tuesday at the Malaysian capital gathering together 200 emerging leaders from 33 countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific Region recently selected to participate in the foundation’s program. Activities include plenary sessions, workshops, leadership development training and community service projects.
“Our heroes are all here,” Roberts said as she addressed the diverse and youthful crowd attending the event. “We just maybe don’t know each others’ names.”
“I know that walking into every room, somewhere there is a new hero for me to discover,” the Academy Award winner added.
Obama, on the other hand, gave her own advice to the so-called Obama Leaders: “Trust your gut. And don’t get discouraged, because we can’t afford for you to be discouraged. You’re next up – we’re tapping out, and we’re tapping you in and what we want you to do is lead with compassion.”
“Stay high, ’cause going low never works,” she concluded. “So good luck, and God bless you all.”
On Monday, Obama and Roberts, along with Jenna Bush Hager (the daughter of Barack Obama’s predecessor in the White House, George W. Bush), had toured a high school in rural Vietnam and met with female students to promote their schooling, urging the teens to stay committed to their education as a way to transform their lives.
“It will get tough at times – it already has for some of you – but it is well worth it,” Obama told the girls. “Even if your families don’t understand that today, trust me, they will when you go off to college or start your businesses.”
The former first lady, whose spouse sat in the Oval Office between 2009-17, recently published her bestselling memoir, “Becoming,” in which she detailed the personal experiences that led her to become a highly-accomplished, Harvard-educated attorney and university administrator, as well as a happy mother and prominent advocate for women and girls. EFE-EPA
MANILA, Philippines – The children of the late SM Group founder Henry Sy Sr. have emerged as the richest in the country in 2019, according to Forbes magazine.
Forbes’ list of Philippines’ 50 Richest, which was released on Wednesday, showed the Sy heirs claiming the top spot with a combined net worth of $17.2 billion, displacing property magnate and former Senator Manny Villar to second.
Sy held the top spot for 11 consecutive years until he passed away last January 19 at the age of 94. He left his colossal fortune to his six children Teresita, Elizabeth, Henry Jr., Hans, Herbert and Harley.
Villar followed with $6.6 billion, John Gokongwei, Jr., who owns Robinsons mall chains and budget carrier Cebu Pacific came third with $5.3 billion.
Port operator Enrique Razon, Jr. placed fourth, followed by Ayala Group’s Jaime Zobel de Ayala, LT Group founder and chairman Lucio Tan, Jollibee Food Corp. chairman Tony Tan Caktiong, and San Miguel Corp.’s Ramon Ang.
Completing the top ten in PH richest list are the children of the late Metrobank founder George Ty and Andrew Tan of Alliance Global which owns the McDonald’s franchise in the country.
Other groups that made it to the list of the country’s richest are the children of builder David Consunji at 13th spot, and the children of Mercury Drug founder Mariano Que at 18th place.
The heirs of Unilab Pharmaceutical company – Jocelyn, Joselito and Jeffrey Campos – ranked 23rd with a combined net worth of $650 million.
Forbes noted that aside from Henry Sy, 4 other long-time members of the country’s richest passed away including Metrobank and GT Capital’s George Ty, Unilab’s Beatrice Campos, Gilberto Duavit of GMA Network and Jon Aboitiz of the Aboitiz Group.
The global magazine said their passing created a new class of second-generation successors who secured a spot on this year’s list.
“The Sy siblings best illustrate this shift,” Forbes said, citing as well the Ty siblings and Campos siblings.
Davao-based tycoon Dennis Uy, meanwhile, debuted on Forbes’ list at 22nd for his estimated fortune of $660 million. Uy founded Udenna which has interests in shipping, logistics, oil, real estate, education and gaming.
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