31st YMCA Advanced Studies Programme (Nov 4-29, 2013, Hong Kong)

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Last Updated (Tuesday, 25 June 2013 12:12)

Curriculum for YMCA Advanced Studies Programme





Asian and Pacific societies continue to manifest its diversity - economically, politically socially and culturally. People and communities are forced to make adjustments based on the many transitions that the region is experiencing a diverse range of vulnerable and marginalized groups are trapped in economic vicious cycle, by following prescribed directions set by the world economic bodies in the name of structural adjustment. Globalisation penetrates the lives of the local people. Poverty and economic injustice are on the rise. The culture of materialism threatens our lifestyles. There is a rise in social and security risks for all, particularly in urbanised societies. There is disregard for the environment and integrity of creation. We are afflicted by poverty, gender discrimination, racial discrimination, culture of violence, ethnic and religious conflicts and war.  Young people are subject to disempowerment.


The diversity and complexity of the Asian and Pacific context call for a YMCA leadership, rooted in our founding philosophy and spirituality to transform lives and to empower individuals and communities. It is a leadership that takes cognizance of the realities of the day and responds in love to bring justice and peace, to build harmonious societies. Its leadership values are applied both within the YMCA movement and the society at large.



The focus of this year’s YMCA Advanced Studies Programme is on “Mission in Context, Movement Strengthening & Youth Empowerment”. The Advanced Studies emphasises the formation of YMCA professional leaders for the strengthening and growth of the YMCA.  It is essential that YMCA leaders be rooted, grounded and clear in the Mission we have been entrusted with in order to act relevantly within the social realities or our context. These would need to be supported by a viable and self-sufficient institution base and that why we need to be more involved in Movement Strengthening. The sustainability of our organization lies in our effort to strengthen it, in terms of resources and responsive to the needs of community. Thus the YMCA could be made indispensable in the society. YMCA being a Youth Movement, we need to focus on youth more than before, involve more youth in the YMCA, address to their problems through our programs.


To fulfil the challenges of developing leadership for YMCAs in today’s context and for transformation, the Studies will provide platforms to discover roles and responsibilities of the YMCA as a people’s movement committed to working for justice and peace, according to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.



The main thematic concepts and knowledge components of the Advanced Studies are:


-        Study of Christian Mission & YMCA Mission as a Youth Focused Movement

-        Our Responses to Contextual Social Issues

-        Youth Empowerment for Transformation / Youth Driven Actions

-        Movement Strengthening, Strategic Planning and Resource Mobilization

-        Good Governance & Lay Leadership Development


In order to strengthen our internalisation of the spiritual basis of the YMCA Movement and in interpreting the Mission of the YMCA in the prevailing situations, the theological basis of the YMCA will be thoroughly explored. Efforts will be made to explore ways and means of strengthening the movement dimension of the YMCA and how it can actively participate in building sustainable community and fostering civil society. Study will thus be made of the YMCA’s search for identity and mission relevance in the history of the YMCA in our region. Time will also be given to understanding and strengthening of its governance structure, its practices towards self-sufficiency e.g. in resource generation and management, and other relevant organisational development skills, as necessary through evening seminars.

Time will be spent on understanding the contemporary socio-economic, cultural and political realities, the global socio-political and economic process (globalisation) and its implications at the national, regional and global levels.  In-depth study will also be made of Community and Social Movements in an effort to envision new alternatives and relevant responses, like Fair Trade and Alternative Tourism.


The participants will have the opportunity to be familiar with the present day issues like Climate Change, Gender Sensitivity, Economic Justice, Just Peace and contemplate to incorporate these into the YMCA program pattern.


Movement Strengthening will also be dealt in the program in order to equip the participants to make their YMCA a viable and sustainable movement.  Participants shall be encouraged to adhere to the principles of good governance to enable their YMCAs to operate with accountability and transparency. We have introduced Resource Mobilization as a new area of intervention for effective fund mobilization in the YMCA.


Finally, each participant will present and share their Contextual Programme Response (Work-Plan) that they could implement upon return to their YMCAs. The entire group will have the opportunity to critique the relevant YMCA responses/plans related to her/his own contexts and thrust of the Advanced Studies.



The Advanced Studies Programme as a programme of intensive studies aims to:


  1. Enhance YMCA professional secretaries’ ability to critically analyse ongoing social processes and based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, to be leaders in relevant actions to fulfil the Mission of the YMCA.
  2. Develop YMCA professionals who are mission-responsive, socially relevant and effective institutional leaders.




1. To encourage participants to reflect critically on their own experiences in context of the social realities in their communities, areas of service, work-situations, and countries.

2. To enhance participants’ understanding of current Christian Mission.

3. To inculcate in YMCA professional leaders a deep perspective of the YMCA’s Mission and to search for appropriate and innovative responses, especially relating to people’s search for justice and peace, sensitive to the economic, political, and socio-cultural situations of communities/societies where the YMCA works.

4. To explore trends of effective leadership and governance for enhanced contextual mission clarity and response.

5. To provide opportunities for participants to build relationships and enhance solidarity with colleagues from different YMCAs in the region and beyond.




The YMCA Advanced Studies Programme is a demanding programme.  It is participatory in nature.  The success of the programme depends on active involvement of all participants. Therefore, the sending YMCA should ensure the participants possess the core competencies expected of a professional/executive in the YMCA.


  1. a.    Participants should be attitudinally inclined to the thrust of the YMCA and Advanced Studies.
  2. b.   Participants should be critically responsive and committed to the mission of the YMCA and should have working experience in community-oriented programmes.
  3. c.    Participants should be from the professional or executive levels with at least three-years’ successful working experience in the YMCA and/or other Ecumenical organisations, and be under 40 years.
  4. d.    Participants should have completed Basic YMCA Secretaries’ Training at national level or should have undergone any equivalent leadership training. It is taken that the basic qualification to enter National YMCA Training  (Institute) is a university degree or its equivalent experiences.




Module 1: Orientation and Building Community


  1. Orientation to Campus and Ma On Shan Township
  2. Overview of Components of Advanced Studies
  3. Expectations of Participants
  4. Sharing of “Life-Moments”
  5. Creative Worships

Orientation and Expectations

The Participants of an Advanced Studies Programme (ASP) probably would not have known each other before, coming from different countries in the region and other parts of the world. The ASP offers an excellent opportunity of establishing close friendship with each other and of creating strong solidarity links as colleagues working for the mission of the YMCA.

The Venue of the Advanced Studies is the Chinese YMCA Wu Kwai Sha Youth Village in Ma On Shan, New Territories, Hong Kong. It is a beautiful campsite, equipped with modern facilities. Participants will be housed in well-equipped 4 twin-roomed cottages. Located about 30 kilometres outside the bustling city of Kowloon, the Wu Kwai Sha environment is ideal for study and reflection.

The Advanced Studies as a sharing-learning community journey begins with an Overview of the different components of the programme and how they are interlinked. To level off, participants will express their Expectations of the Studies.

As a natural way of building a sharing-learning community, the sharing of “Life-Moments” will begin the process of community bonding. Participants are invited to share highlights or key milestones of personal life situations experienced in relation to the local and national socio-political realities and work engagement. In this community process, socio-economic-political issues and concerns impacting on society are reviewed in a more holistic way.  We also believe that the process of sharing of “Life-Moments” will generate a deep consciousness and concern for each other, for people and each other’s YMCAs.  The process would naturally lead to the beginning of analysis and understanding of the current national and global trends, starting at the personal level.

Worship is very important in our Christian Life and well as in a Christ Centered Organization like the YMCA. The YMCA Secretaries do need to have skills to conduct regular worships in a creative way to revitalize our spirituality. We shall be sharing with the participants the components of a Christian Worship, how to conduct worships in our YMCAs and in our communities in an effective way.

During the ASP, it is important to engage in a process of “de-learning” or “unlearning” and “relearning”, a changing of  “mindsets” that one may have grown up with.  The primary aim of this first part of the programme is to assist participants in widening their horizon, so that they can begin the journey of exploration into the social processes with an open and objective mind.





Module II: Christian Mission & YMCA Mission as a Youth Focused Movement


a. Theological Challenges in Globalised Environment
~ e.g. impact on society, economic,  justice, democracy, participation

b. Mission in context ~ Interpreting Paris Basis and Challenge 21
(YMCA Mission and Social Relevance in the 21st Century)

c. New Trends, Thrusts and Challenges in Asia & Pacific YMCAs and World Movement

d. YMCA Mission and Youth


Study of Contemporary Theological Perspectives


The purpose of this section is to help the participants evolve a Theological basis for their involvement in the Mission of YMCA. Biblical faith interacting with contemporary challenges should provide a framework for this.  Our commitment to serve all God’s people and God’s creation in their struggle for new life is the starting point for our Theological reflection.  To discern God’s presence in the socio-political and religious-cultural realities of our time especially people’s search for justice and life, is the core of our faith and spirituality.  Theological reflection is not a detached academic exercise, but a committed engagement of faith with the realities surrounding us.



 Mission in Context ~ Interpreting Paris Basis and Challenge 21


In order to carry out the contemporary mission of the YMCA, participants will review the interpreting of the Paris Basis (and Kampala Principles) in the Challenge 21. This part of the study will review the YMCA Mission and Social Relevance in the 21st Century.

It is expected that participants will have thorough knowledge and understanding of:

  • The Beginnings of the YMCA
  • The Paris Basis and Its Interpretation the Kampala Principles
  • The History and Development of the Local and National YMCA and their Mission


The participants will study and review the “Statement of Mission” of the Asia and Pacific Alliance, and Challenge 21 of the World Alliance. Particular attention will be paid to the thrusts of the YMCA Mission in the region and also in the world movement.

The deliberations will be crucial in changing perceptions and perspectives on Mission and Social Relevance ~ how can the learning be applied in participants’ own context.


Youth Focus

Our vision is for a YMCA in which young people are at the core of our Movement.  We have a calling to be pioneers in bringing about positive change and to create a youth movement that is spiritually strong and socially relevant.

Module III: Contextual  Social Issues


  1. In-depth Study and Analysis of contextual realities and the impact of globalisation in relation to Regional/Global Realities
  2. Environment / Climate Change
  3. Gender Sensitivity
  4. Economic Justice
  5. Just Peace



Study and Analysis of Contextual Realities, the Impact of Globalisation in Relation to Regional/Global Realities/Context  


Overview and broad analysis of Contextual Realities of the Globalised Environment

This study will provide an overview and analysis of contextual and global socio-political, cultural, and economic realities/trends and the process of globalisation currently taking place.


Analytical Framework of globalisation and globalisation-related institutions

The participants will discuss how globalisation and institutions such as WTO, IMF and World Bank impact on people, particularly in the Asia and Pacific.

  • Globalisation as a Process and as a Project
  • Bretton Woods Institutions:  World Bank, IMF, etc., and others, e.g. World Trade Organisation, EU, APEC, NAFTA; Transnational Corporations (TNCs)
  • UN and related International Organisations


Effects/Impact of Globalisation on Life

Focus will be given specifically to the consequences of globalisation on life, relationships of peoples and to community building.

  • Agriculture and Food ~ Sovereignty and Security
  • Industrialisation and Urbanisation
  • Environment and Development ~ Sustainability
  • Globalisation and Culture, Ethics and Religion

Climate Change

What is Climate Change ?  The participants shall explore the scientific facts regarding the greenhouse gas effects, the consequences of the climate change in our environment, in our own countries. They shall also explore the possible ways and means to reduce the carbon foot print and also particularly what the YMCA can effectively do to reverse the situation. How to change our behavioural patterns to be more environment friendly, shall be the challenge for the participants.


Economic Justice

The unjust economic system of the world is making rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Unemployment, underemployment, unsafe jobs are the result of unjust economic system. This system increases poverty and substandard living standards. Majority of the earth’s population is living in abject poverty; do not have access to health facilities, education, water & sanitation and also good habitat. These are the issues of economic justice. The participants shall be sharing their experiences in the unjust economic practices and also devote themselves to find alternatives to these existing systems.


Specific Concern on Understanding Gender/Awareness and Sensitivity – our emphasis on participation and leadership development for mission and promotion of gender equity in the YMCA as the Challenge 21 states “especially with those oppressed and discriminated against on the basis of gender”.

Just Peace

Without peace, can there be justice ? Without justice, can there be peace ?  Quite often we compromise with justice for peace or with peace for justice.  “justice and peace shall embrace” (Ps 85:10). We efforts should be to work towards attaining peace and justice together. They are complimentary to each other.  This is the holistic approach to have a meaningful peace and harmony in our society. The participants shall be in the pursuit of search effective ways and means to establish Just Peace in our community.

During this period, relevant case studies, film showing on focus issues and/or documentaries, workshops and/or work group sessions will be conducted on the different components.




Exposure and Study of Specific Social Issues

Exposures together with reflective learning are important first-hand experiences that will develop mindfulness for the people, the community. Participants will have community immersion to action/advocacy programmes by our ecumenical partners, the YMCA and other networks. Exposures on specific social issues that APAY is engaged with like climate justice/environment, economic justice, fair trade, rights and advocacy, youth issues, poverty will be arranged.



Module IV: Youth Leadership and Empowerment


  1. Perspective of Global Citizenship
  2. Vision of Alternative Responses and Understanding Community
    1. (i) Fair Trade
    2. (ii) Alternative Tourism
  3. Program Development for Youth (Uni Y / Campus Y )


Global Citizenship

We define Global Citizenship as an awareness and act of commitment rooted in the spirit of global consciousness and interconnectedness of the world. It recognizes the need to understand global realities and social responsibilities and motivates the people to develop mindset as citizens of the world with human and ethical values. It promotes the collective community social responsibilities and actions towards justice, peace and sustainability of life by citizens as change agents.

Participants will have opportunity to explore YMCA approach to global citizenship towards building more responsible communities; transforming individual lives with a sense of universal equality and care for human beings and the earth in its entirety.




The Vision of  Alternative Responses


The participants will have opportunity to explore alternatives to the process of globalisation and its impact, paying attention to:


  • Principles, Values and Strategies of Alternative Responses and Social Movements in which mobilisation and strengthening of the community (among them grassroots participatory democracy in a local autonomy) the voluntary sector, and, the creation and/or participation in networks will feature including present trends and goals of the Civil Society movements.
  • Responding to Other Faiths in dialogue, cooperation and partnership. Concrete examples will be studied on processes that are able to transform life and society.
  • YMCA as a social service organization – its relationship with various types of people’s organisations and other social movements

YMCA as a Movement in sustainable Community Building and becoming more involved in Civil Society - especially in the areas of advocacy, lobbying, empowerment through education and awareness building, networking and the development of other rights-based initiatives that address the issues of youth, women, the poor and the marginalized

Fair Trade


Inspite of rapid globalisation and the call of developed countries for free trade, producers in developing countries are not getting a fair deal. An unequal power exists between farmers and processors and marketers too. Small farmers rely on middlemen because they no access to price and market information.

Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries to make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to exporters as well as higher social and environmental standards.

Fair trade efforts to minimize the exploitation of the producers. It advocates for fair price for the producers, safe working conditions as well as security for them.

Fair trade is associated with trade justice, which advocates for Fair Trade public policies.


Alternative Tourism

Alternative Tourism involves travel that is personal and authentic and encourages interaction with the local environment, people and communities.

Alternative Tourism gives emphasis to the contact and understanding between the hosts and the tourists, as well as the environment. Also as a tourism that is consistent with the natural, social and community values and that allows a positive relationship among locals and tourists. It has smaller impacts in the natural and social environments, links with other sectors like the agriculture and handicraft sectors, promotes local economy and retention of the earnings in the region.


Youth in the YMCA

Historically the YMCA is a Youth Focused Organization. YMCA has always been in the pursuit for the Youth Development, creating space for them in the YMCA for leadership development. Uni-Ys are the platforms, within the YMCA to give them such opportunity to develop themselves.

YMCA struggles to bring about a positive change in our lives, in our communities. This is only possible if the youth devote themselves in our struggle and we harness their power in all our development efforts.

Our vision is for a YMCA in which young people are at the core of our Movement.  We have a calling to be pioneers in creating a youth movement that is spiritually strong and socially relevant.


Module V: Movement Strengthening


a. Movement Strengthening Matrix

b. Organizational Review

c. SWOT Analysis

d. Strategic Planning Process

e. Developing Strategic Plan for own YMCA

f. Resource Mobilization

g. Lay Leadership Development

f. Good Governance


Movement Strengthening (MS) :

What is a strong movement? The Advanced Studies emphasizes the formation of YMCA professional leaders for the strengthening and growth of the YMCA – in Mission Clarity, Social Relevance and Institutional Viability. (Movement Strengthening Matrix)

We have a common mission to share the reign (love of God) in our diverse social, cultural and political realities in our respective contexts.  The participants will be engaged in a study of YMCA governance structures and relationships at different levels, membership concept and composition, and the role of the membership and volunteers in the contextual mission of the YMCA.

Resource Mobilisation plays an important role in MS process.  Some strategies and tools to improve transparency, accountability and effectiveness of YMCAs for resource mobilisation will be explored and studied. The importance of image building and credibility of each YMCA should be ensured and developed.




Organizational Review

Critical study to access the state of affairs of a YMCA falls under the Organizational Review process. A YMCA Secretary should be able to identify the situation of its own YMCA, undergo the process of determining the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats (SWOT Analysis) of the YMCA and taken these aspects into account, should be able to prepare the Strategic Plan for his own YMCA for its subsequent implementation, so that the YMCA can set foot on its right path towards achieving its mission.

The participants shall be helped to undergo the organizational review of their own organization and learn the skills of developing strategic planning.


Lay Leadership Development

The participants shall be made acquainted with the aspect of Lay Leadership Development. The YMCA being the largest membership based organization, the focus of the YMCA has always been its members. Lay Leadership Development is the prerequisite for appropriate leadership of the YMCA to fulfill its mission in the community.



Good Governance

Upholding the practice of Good Governance in the YMCA is imperative in order to be transparent and accountable to the constituency and stakeholders. To have a clear  understanding about the constitution and ensure its adherence and good practice in the organization is the primary focus of the good governance.


Module VI: Contextual Programme Response


a. Presentation and Discussion on Program Response

b. Submission of Program Response

c. Create Concept Note & Proposal Writing





Contextual Programme Response


Participants are expected to prepare a draft of their programme response before coming to the ASP in which their understanding of the overall thrust of the Advanced Studies shall be integrated in the said plan.

The written Programme Responses shall be presented at Plenary Sessions, to be attended by all participants, APAY staff and other invitees. This is for sharing of ideas and for feedback with a view to making the plans realistic and achievable. After incorporating all comments and suggestions, a final draft shall be submitted to the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs.

The programme response is expected to be innovative, contextual and reflective of the needs of the community where he/she serves.


Module VII: Evaluation & Graduation


a. Mid Term and Final Evaluation

b. Graduation Ceremony

An ongoing process shall be in place to assess the participants’ performance. A spot evaluation will be conducted at the beginning, which will be the baseline benchmark of the performance evaluation. A mid term evaluation and a final evaluation shall take place subsequently. The Graduation Ceremony shall take place at the end of the program, where the participants shall commit themselves with their re-entry plan in their YMCA. Course Attendance Certificate shall be distributed to the participants at the ceremony in the presence of the YMCA dignitaries.





Morning Worship will be part of the daily community life during the Advanced Studies.  These will be organised by the participants themselves in a creative way, using songs, hymns, poems, inspirational writings, etc. from their different cultures and faith.  (You are encouraged to bring local cultural, indigenous material to be shared in worship. APAY has a guitar. You are also encouraged to bring musical instruments that you play to add to the variety and creativity of the worship.)


Resource Persons

Selected persons with relevant experience, widely recognised for their outstanding contributions in the various components of the Advanced Studies, will be invited to serve as Resource Persons.



Regular classes will be held throughout the programme. There will be seminars and workgroup sessions on specific topics.  Participants will have scope to meet the resource persons individually to clarify concepts and issues, and relate the study to his/her own social situations.



Participants will stay at the YMCA Wu Kwai Sha Youth Village, Hong Kong. They will be accommodated in twin-shared rooms in a 4-roomed cottage. Each cottage will have a kitchenette with basic utensils. Rooming arrangements will be made by the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs.


Dressing, Personal Toiletries and Laundry


Dressing can generally be casual. Smart casual/formal or national dressing will be expected at some functions, e.g. at Official Opening and Graduation function. The weather is generally cool in November and temperatures may range between 16-20 degrees Celsius.


Participants are expected to bring personal toiletries, including bath towels. Bed linen and blankets will be provided. Coin-operated washing and drying machines are available.




Please read carefully and note the requirements for application and selection.
It is crucial that deadlines for the processes are met to ensure the smooth implementation
of the 31th Advanced Studies Programme.






The Applicant is REQUIRED to WRITE and SUBMIT TOGETHER WITH APPLICATION FORM (These will be considered in the final selection of participants)



1. Applicant’s Summary of Self


a. Tell us about some of your past experiences in the YMCA you have served with. What was a key Learning from that position?

b. Tell us more about your present experience. Current position and role, how many people do you lead? What are your challenges and what would you like to develop about yourself to be a more effective leader?

c. What are your Future Aspirations?

What are some of your objectives and what are the outcomes that you would like to see as a result of attending the ASP.



2. A Paper on “Your YMCA’s Mission and How it is Being Expressed in Contemporary

Thrusts” (such as key programme that reflects the YMCA Mission that the Applicant has implemented or that the YMCA has been engaged in. This should be between ONE to TWO A-4 sized-pages (single line spacing).






Completed Application Forms duly endorsed by the National Council of YMCAs together with the required papers, and the following:

  • Two Passport-size Photographs
  • Photocopy of pages of the candidate’s passport showing personal details, date of  issue and expiry,  travel restrictions, etc.
  • A document certifying employment in the YMCA, length of employment, and a letter of  guarantee that the participant will return to his employment upon completion of the Studies,
  • Certified copies of Academic Degrees/Certificates, with translation in English if the original is in the national language of the country of the participant




Applications should reach the Asia and Pacific Alliance office in Hong Kong by 31 July 2013.

An application is deemed complete only when all required documents are received.



Selection Of Participants

The final selection of participants will be made by the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs. The selected participants will be informed on or before 15 August 2013. The visa applications of the selected candidates must reach the APAY Office in Hong Kong within 30 August 2013. Please note that it take more than 6 weeks to process a Hong Kong Visa.


Course Fees/Expenses

The total Course Fees per participant is US$1,965.00

  1. a. Registration Fee: US$ 350     (Mandatory)
  2. b. Course Fee         : US$1,600  (Covers board and lodging, programme costs in HK)
  3. c. Green Fund        : US$15       (Mandatory)


The sending YMCA will be responsible for the cost of the Return Travel from home YMCA to Hong Kong, and any other domestic travel-related expenses in the home country or in Hong Kong that may be incurred, before or after the duration of the Course




A limited number of partial or full scholarships for the Course Fee of US$1,600 or cost of the return travel will be available to deserving applicants from national movements facing serious financial constraints.

A written application for a partial or full scholarship, stating the scholarship requested for Participation Fee and for Air Travel, by the candidate herself/himself, should accompany the application form. Only candidates who meet the criteria mentioned above should apply. The Scholarship Application should be endorsed and recommended by the National General Secretary.

The awardees will be selected based on MERIT and POTENTIAL for development as a professional secretary within the movement. Please note that an application submitted DOES NOT constitute a scholarship being awarded.

The number and quantum of the Scholarships will be determined according to resources available and needs. Successful applicants will be duly notified through the National General Secretary.



A Certificate of Attendance specifying the number of hours studied under each component of the programme will be awarded to successful participants.




Sending YMCAs should provide for Travel and Personal Accident Insurance Cover for their participants if none has been provided as a staff benefit in the normal Terms and Conditions of Employment of the local or national YMCA.