CONTENTS

1. 16th General Assembly

  • Opening Functions
  • Asia Pacific Cultural Night
  • GATF Bazaar
  • Spouses Programme

2. Youth Forum -Space for Freshness and Dynamism

3. Quadrennial Council Meeting

4. Executive Committee Meeting 2004

5. Support for Action Programmes 2004-2005

6. Interim NGS for Philippines Appointed

7. YMCA South West Region India Celebrates Golden Jubilee

8. World Alliance Executive Committee in Hong Kong

9. Global Capacity Building Forum for HIV/AIDS

10. EASY Net National Coordinators' Meeting/ASYG

11. YMCA Leaders Meet at World Social Forum

12. Important Notice: Change of Work Schedule in APAY Secretariat

13. Closing Thoughts - "One Day in Peace"

 

1. On Our Way to the 16th General Assembly

We are now in the final stage of our preparations for the Youth Forum and the 16th General Assembly. We are most appreciative of the support you have given in garnering participation for these major programmes. We are expecting at least 65 participants at the Youth Forum and 250 at the Assembly. Registrations are still being received.

Opening Functions
Bishop Rev. Dr. Robert Solomon, Head of the Council of Churches of Singapore will be the Guest of Honour at the Official Opening of the Assembly on 10 March 2004.

We are expecting at least 450 persons - delegates, YMCA members from Singapore and guests at the Opening Dinner on the evening of 10 March. The Host Committee has prepared an exciting Cultural Programme for the evening. His Excellency, S.R. Nathan, President of Singapore will be the Guest of Honour.

Asia Pacific Cultural Night
In the Assembly Programme Schedule, there is a space for National Movements to share cultural expressions on 11 March 2004, Thursday. We seek your cooperation in preparing for the presentation of your delegation at the Asia Pacific Cultural Night. We encourage participants to wear their National /Traditional costumes during the Opening Ceremony and Asia Pacific Cultural Night to enrich our cultural experience.

Golden Anniversary Trust Fund (GATF) Bazaar
As agreed at the Alliance Executive Committee Meeting held in March 2003, a collective Fundraising event, the GATF Bazaar, will be set up daily during the Assembly from 18:00-20:00. Movements have been invited to contribute traditional/indigenous handicrafts or items for the Bazaar, all the proceeds of which will go towards the GATF. It will be an excellent opportunity for movements small and large, urban or rural, a Century old or a year old, and participants to play a part in supporting the GATF.

We are most appreciative of the efforts of many of our movements, and individuals in the region who have contributed to the GATF. We have been able to secure over a Million US Dollars in pledges and more than 75% of these pledges have been fulfilled. The GATF has so far provided support from the interest derived, to 4 action programmes benefiting the poorest of the poor in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Please confirm your movement's participation including the items for sale in the GATF Bazaar with the APAY Secretariat by 1 March 2004. This will enable the Secretariat to make the appropriate arrangements for the Bazaar.

Spouses Programme
The Host Committee has arranged several interesting programmes for accompanying spouses to the Assembly - cultural, taking in a taste of Singapore, and of course, shopping!

2. Youth Forum - Space for Freshness and Dynamism

Over 60 young delegates from Asia and Pacific will touch base with each other at the Youth Forum, 7-9 March 2004 in Singapore. The Youth will have knowledge-based and practical exchanges on the theme "Young People, Together Towards a Transformed World" as they seek space and avenues to invigorate their participation and contribution in the YMCA and the community in general.

Dr. Tan Ngoh Tiong, Associate Professor at the Department of Social Work and Psychology, National University of Singapore will be the Keynote Speaker to inspire the youth towards participation in transforming societies. Management Consultant, Mr. Louis Tong, President of the Council of YMCAs of Hong Kong, will facilitate the practical learning session and action planning for youth participation in the YMCAs.

Participants from each National Movement will share a joint paper on the youth situation in their countries. The Paper should cover crucial issues affecting youth, including: culture and identity, education, employment, social participation, peace issues; Challenges faced and YMCA responses to the above issues. Youth delegates are encouraged to participate fully during Forum sessions as well as the General Assembly, bringing youth's freshness, idealism, dynamism and enthusiasm.

3. Quadrennial Council Meeting

The Quadrennial Council Meeting of the APAY will take place on 9 March and 12 March, beginning at 20:00 hrs. In addition to the Quadrennial Report, other Reports including the Youth Forum; the Election of Officers for the new Quadrennium will be take place in the session on 12 March.

Each movement in good standing will have 3 official voting representatives at the Council Meeting, one of whom should be a youth or a woman. Others are welcomed to observe the Council Meeting.

4. Executive Committee Meeting 2004

The Executive Committee Meeting will be held on 8-9 March 2004 and 13-14 March 2004, at the YMCA of Singapore, 1 Orchard Road, Singapore, in conjunction with the 16th General Assembly.

The first session of the Executive Committee will be a Special Executive Committee Meeting with the incumbent Officers. This session will begin at 1600 hrs on 8 March and end by 1300 hrs on 9 March. It will take up outstanding matters from the Executive Committee Meeting of March 2003, including pending Constitutional Matters.

The second session, the Executive Committee Meeting 2004, with the newly elected Officers will commence at 1500 hrs on 13 March 2004 and conclude by 1600 hrs on 14 March 2004. This session will take up matters related to the new Quadrennium. National Movements have already been invited to recommend suitable YMCA leaders as Members/Invitees of the Standing Committees.

Circulars related to these meetings had already been sent out to the National Movements. You may also visit www.asiapacificymca.org for more details.

5. Support for Action Programmes, 2004-2005

We are happy to inform that in spite of the conclusion of the funding support from our ecumenical partners as per agreements signed, National/Local YMCAs carrying out action programmes in focus areas can still avail of financial support for them. Movements have been invited to submit their applications for the following to reach the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs Secretariat by 5 February 2004:

Mission in Action Programme (MAP)
The Mission in Action Programme (MAP), replacing the National/local Action Programmes (NLAP), aims to facilitate resource exchanges and financial support from YMCAs within and outside the region for action programmes that will impact and bring transformation within the community. Resources from other partners will also be explored.

Golden Anniversary Trust Fund (GATF)
The Golden Anniversary Trust Fund (GATF) was established by the APAY in 1999 with the aim of supporting action programmes among the poorest of the poor in the region with the interest derived from the GATF. In 2002/2003, four action programmes were supported by the GATF. Funds are available for limited action programmes in 2004/2005.

Y's Men International Time of Fast Fund (TOF)
From 1969, the Y's Men International has been making financial assistance available from their Time of Fast Fund (TOF) to enable YMCAs in developing countries, including our region, to respond to the needs of the community. From the middle of 1980s, it has been the practice for the Executive Committee of the Asia and Pacific Alliance to recommend some of the programme proposals received to the TOF.

Application forms and details have been circulated to National Movements and are also available @ www.asiapacificymca.org.

6. Interim NGS For Philippines Appointed

We welcome the appointment of Mr. Liberato G. Siaron as the Interim National General Secretary of the YMCA of the Philippines, w.e.f. 1 January 2004 by the National Board. He assumes the position vacated by Mr. Phil C. Celi who took early retirement at the end of 2003. Mr. Siaron, currently President of the Quezon City YMCA and a National Board member, was formerly a professional YMCA Secretary with the Manila YMCA and the National Council of YMCAs. He brings much professional skills and experience with him to the National Council.

7. YMCA South West Region India Celebrates Golden Jubilee

The YMCA South West Region India celebrated its Golden Jubilee on 10 January. There were an estimated 5,000 YMCA Members at a Suvarna Sangamam (Peoples' Gathering) that lasted from 2.00 p.m. to 10.30 p.m. Held in a public park, the YMCA members from all over the region listened to an hour-long Invocation, joined in an Ecumenical Thanksgiving Worship followed by a 4-hour public celebration event with the Hon. D.D. Lepang, the Chief Minister of Meghalaya and a former Vice President of the YMCA of India. The celebration ended with a public concert. Mr. Jose Varghese, the Regional Secretary had invited me to deliver the Keynote Address at the Thanksgiving Worship on the theme of our 16th General Assembly that they had adopted as their theme for 2004, "Spirituality of Transformation for Just-peace". Mr. P.M. John, President and Mr. T. Thomas, National General Secretary, of the YMCA of India, were also present.

Following the Golden Jubilee Celebration, Mr. T. Thomas, National General Secretary and I travelled by road to Thiruvanantapuram for the Association of Secretaries' (AOS) Conference from 12-13 January, visiting the Allapuzha and Kollam YMCAs enroute. Rev. Samuel Stephens, one of our Vice Presidents was the keynote Speaker for the Conference. I addressed the Conference at the Inaugural Session at which the Minister of Tourism for Kerala was the Chief Guest. I also took the opportunity to specially meet with 12 of the Alumni of the Advanced Studies Programme.

8. World Alliance Executive Committee Meeting in Hong Kong

The Council of YMCAs of Hong Kong will host the World Alliance Executive Committee from 31 March - 4 April 2004. Related meetings including the Youth Committee, 29-30 March, the Global Operating Plan Support Coordination Meeting, 5-6 April and the Global Staff Team, 6 April will also take place. The Meetings will be held in the Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong, and YMCA of Hong Kong.

We welcome the members of the Executive Committee of the World Alliance of YMCAs and other senior YMCA leaders to the Asia and Pacific region.

9. Global Capacity Building Forum On HIV-AIDS

The Global Capacity Building Forum on HIV/AIDS to be held in Durban, South Africa on 14-22 March 2004. It will be a unique opportunity for YMCA professionals and volunteers world-wide with substantial experience in the field of HIV-AIDS to "strengthen and expand the YMCA's impact on HIV\AIDS prevention, care and advocacy at the local, national, regional and global levels." Some practitioners from India, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam have been invited to share their experiences and expertise to further develop and strengthen the work of YMCAs in HIV-AIDS prevention and care in over 20 countries as part of the Global Operating Plan's initiatives.

10. EASY Net National Coordinators' Meeting and ASYG Planning

Twenty-three participants from nine countries, including EASY Net Core-team members, National Coordinators and Ecumenical Team members, of the Ecumenical Asia Pacific Students and Youth Network (EASY Net) met on 6-12 January 2004 in Bangkok, Thailand. To stimulate the participants' thinking on Peace, Mr. Francis Lee, a peace advocate from Korea shared his thoughts on the Peace Initiatives as well as Networking for Peace in Asia-Pacific. Detailed plans were made also for the upcoming Asia Pacific Students and Youth Gathering (ASYG) to be held on 8-16 December 2004 in Indonesia, the theme of which will be "Together in Action for Peace and Reconciliation". National Ecumenical Teams are expected to hold Student and Youth Gatherings in their own countries as a preparation for participation in the ASYG 2004.

The National Coordinators, the main facilitators of EASY Net efforts and initiatives are expected to consolidate EASY Net's work at the grassroots in their respective countries into a deeper and more effective level of ecumenical cooperation and networking. Shella Quezada-Zagada, Executive Secretary for Programmes, attended the meeting as a member of the EASY Net Core Team.

11. YMCA Leaders Meet At World Social Forum

The IV World Social Forum (WSF) was held on 16 - 21 January 2004, at the NESCO Ground, Goregaon, Mumbai, India under the theme "Another World Is Possible". The WSF, with more than 100,000 participants and more than 250 seminars/workshops per day, was a meeting place for reflective thinking, debate and exchange of experiences, formulation of proposals, and networking for action by social action groups and civil society movements committed to building "Another World" centred around the human person.

Several YMCAs representing the World Alliance were at the WSF. Mr. P.M. John, President of the YMCA of India and a member of the Executive Committee of World Alliance of YMCAs, colleagues from the Bombay YMCA, the New Delhi YMCA and the Indian YMCA Training and Leadership Department in Bangalore participated. They shared experiences and exchanged ideas, and expressed solidarity and concern on issues, including advocacy for human rights. Mr. Solomon Benjamin, Director YMCA Training & Leadership Department, National Council Of YMCAs Of India coordinated the YMCA's participation at the WSF.

12. IMPORTANT NOTICE : Change of Work Schedule at the APAY Secretariat

Please note that effective from 1st February 2004, the APAY Secretariat will be opened MONDAYS TO FRIDAYS from 09:00 to 18:00. The Secretariat will be closed on Saturdays and Sundays. This schedule is to allow for a more flexible and effective communications with Movements, especially those in the western part of our region. Please be guided accordingly.

13. Concluding thoughts

We extend to Seasons Greetings for the New Year/Lunar New Year/Tet/Spring Festival and all Special Days celebrated in January ...

Coming to the end of the 1990s, with all its conflicts and troubles, and with the coming of the new Millennium, there were many initiatives for how the coming of the year 2000 should be celebrated. Of course, we remember the expensive fireworks displays and celebrations that took place around the world. But the low-key events and actions of ordinary people working for world peace were overshadowed by these celebrations. Recognising the significance that the new Millennium could bring to the world, in November 1999, the United Nations adopted a resolution calling for the entire world to celebrate "One Day in Peace, January 1 2000".

Now, on the 31st day of January 2004 we pause to reflect on the past and to reflect anew the call for "One Day in Peace" that perhaps escaped our attention with the excitement of the new Millennium, not forgetting the anxiety of Y2K!

We are busy in the midst of completing preparations for the 16th General Assembly and Youth Forum, the Executive Committee Meeting 2004 and the Quadrennial Council Meetings. The theme that focuses on "transformation" "spirituality" and "Justpeace" reminds us of our Vision and our Mission in the Asia and Pacific region.

But, as we reflect on the past two months, and the festivities that accompanied them, we also remember the charge to us by Jesus when he said to the disciples "You are the Light". Light drives away the darkness. Jesus Christ himself is the Light of the World. Christmas candles were lit in December to welcome the Son. The Chinese and those with Chinese ancestral links all over the world are celebrating the Lunar New Year. A new moon brings light to brighten up the night.

We are reminded that as Jesus' disciples, we "are the light", and not we "will be the light". We are called to be a visible community of believers bringing light where there is darkness, to lighten the load of those who are burdened, to salve the wounds of the suffering and lift up the fallen. As light, we are to shine. Light cannot be hid. As we move closer to the General Assembly, we are to be faithful as lights, to shine, to bring about renewal and transformation in our community.

We look forward to meeting you soon at the Youth Forum and General Assembly.

  • The Lord bless you and keep you
  • The Lord make His face to shine upon you, And be gracious unto you
  • The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.

With best wishes and kind regards,

Yip Kok Choong Shella Quezada-Zagada Lakshan Dias
General Secretary Executive Secretary Executive Secretary

 

 

QUICK LINKS

Leaders' Roundtable: Achieving Spirituality of Transformation

New Officers Unanimously Elected

On our way to the 16th General Assembly

Towards the 16th General Assembly

Quadrennial Programme...

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Executive Committee...

Building Community...

World Council Well...

Our General Secretary...

Executive Meeting Held...

Towards a Culture of Peace...

A Time for Prayer...