5th Leaders’ Quadrennial Roundtable – Strengthened YMCA for an Impactful Movement

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Last Updated (Thursday, 07 May 2020 11:23)

“Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs envisions a strengthened YMCA and vibrant civil society that are empowered with and by youth to address social injustices faced by vulnerable groups in societies through creation of safe space and development of responsible leadership and governance that is anchored on Christian ideals of love, justice and peace.”

Through a series of discussions during the 5th Leaders’ Quadrennial Roundtable held in YMCA Taipei, Taiwan last December 11-15, 2019, the 41 participants from 14 National Movements summarized the vision of the regional YMCA work for this quadrennial in the abovementioned statement. The meeting that was attended by YMCA key lay leaders, youth members and professional staff gathered to discuss the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of doing our Mission given the diversities and complexities of our context and time. It was a platform to develop a common vision and plan that translates the 20th General Assembly Mandate into mission responses for the Quadrennial 2020-2023.

The process started with a keynote presentation on Asia and Pacific social context and realities by Dr. Judy M. Taguiwalo, Professorial Lecturer at the College of Social Work and Community Development of the University of the Philippines. In her paper, she emphasized that the culture of individualism and isolation has for a long time replaced the culture of solidarity and empathy that many peoples of the Asia and Pacific region held. She added that this has led to the region’s conquest by foreign interests, the rise of authoritarianism, the destruction of the environment, the abandonment of the most vulnerable and marginalized in our societies, the women, the children, differently abled people, our indigenous sisters and brothers among others, the rise of violence to stifle those who dissent and criticize. Given this social context and realities, the participants engaged in small group discussions on how each YMCA in the region, despite its diverse context, can find a common working ground to express mission into action, to build up its efforts on strengthening the movement and civil society; and to concretely outline its commitment to work in solidarity.

↑ APAY President Prof. Chen Chin-Seng giving his Opening Remarks ↑ Mr. Stephen S.S. Lee, President of YMCA Taiwan giving his Welcome Remarks

The following goals are identified as key areas of collective actions for this quadrennial:

  • To strengthen the YMCAs in the Asia and Pacific through capability and capacity building efforts related to leadership and governance, partnership and networking, and skills training
  • To understand and respond meaningfully to social issues that are relevant to the movement with the purpose of building civil society and social transformation.
  • To empower youth and build on their potentials at all levels.

The social issues identified during the meeting included environment and climate change, economic empowerment, mental health, and justice and peace.  Many of the said issues represent a broader category to which existing programs/projects belong while there is also need to explore new areas of work in a practical way.

To achieve the set goals, the participants re-affirmed the effectiveness of the current strategies on conducting education, awareness raising, capacity and capability building, networking and partnership. Thus, those means must be strengthened. Nevertheless, other proposed strategies to meet the goals effectively include research and publication such as database gathering, monitoring and evaluation mechanism based on outcome and impacts. It was also shared that policy recommendation, lobbying and advocacy must be part of the YMCA programs alongside maximizing the use of technology with a view to multiplying the impacts of our work as a faith-based social movement.

↑ Group photo of the LQR participants ↑ Keynote presentation by Prof. Judy M. Taguiwalo

APAY is very much appreciative of the warmest hospitality and full support rendered by YMCA of Taiwan as the host of the LQR meeting.


~ Maria Cristina Miranda, Executive Secretary