warmly greet you again with this second issue of HEADLINES
for the year. It has been three months since the Severe Acute Respiratory
Syndrome (SARS) came into global attention on 12 March 2003. It
has caused great anxiety and concern worldwide, particularly in
our region, at a time when the war in Iraq and the pursuit of peace
was also of great concern to all peace-loving peoples of the world.
Be it in the SARS-affected countries, Iraq or other countries where
there are on-going conflicts, social and economic life has been
unprecedented international solidarity and cooperation SARS has
been stopped from further spreading - for the time being. However,
will it re-emerge, mutated and more dangerous? Positive lessons
have been learnt by the community and by governments. These include
the importance of environmental hygiene awareness, transparent information
sharing, more effective public health management and the need for
greater civic consciousness.
thank God for the lives of dedication and courage of fallen health
care workers. They are signs of shining hope in a world dominated
by materialistic and consumerist values and attitudes. Their ministry
of care and healing reminds us of Jesus' own caring and healing
ministry. It encourages and strengthens us to pursue our YMCA Mission
of being community - sharing love, bringing hope, building a life-affirming
environment, that all may live abundantly.
as we write this, many areas have been declared SARS-free. We are
thankful to God that SARS did not become the pandemic that it had
threatened to become; that we have no reported cases of infected
YMCA premises in the region. Though YMCA operations and budgets
have been badly hit in some countries, the YMCA is resilient, strengthened
by our faith and our Mission that move us ever onward in seeking
to build community and to transform the world.
wish to thank our friends from far and near who have expressed concern
to us in the region during the height of the SARS infection.
NEW DATES FOR 16TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
the concerns surrounding the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
situation in the region, and its possible effect on participation,
it was decided to postpone the 16th General Assembly and the Youth
Forum from September 2003, to March 2004. The Executive Committee
Meeting 2004 will be held following the Assembly. This decision
was reached following a consensus poll taken among National Movements.
An announcement circular was issued on 19 May 2003.
thank the Singapore Host Committee for their negotiations with the
Apollo Novotel. The new dates for the Youth Forum, the General Assembly,
and the Executive Committee Meeting 2004 are as follows:
13-14 March 2004
General Assembly of YMCAs in Asia and Pacific/Council Meeting
NOMINATIONS FOR ELECTION AS OFFICERS FOR 2004-2007
Nominations Committee formed during the Executive Committee Meeting
in March, invites nominations from the National Movements in the
region for election as Officers of the Asia and Pacific Alliance
of YMCAs, 2004-2007 - President, 4 Vice Presidents and Treasurer.
The deadline for nominations is 15 August 2003. The Election
of these Officers will take place during the Council Meeting of
the Alliance in Singapore in March 2004.
Mr. Kan Tanikawa, Japan, chairs the Committee. Other members of
the Committee appointed are Dr. Sun Te-Hsiung (North Asia-Taiwan),
Mr. Liew Mun Khai (South East Asia-Malaysia), Adv, Joseph John (South
Asia-India) and Mr. Richard Edwards (Pacific-Australia).
on the Nomination and Election of Officers was sent to the National
Movements on 14 April 2003.
STIMULATING DISCUSSION ON CULTURE OF PEACE BY YOUTHNETTERS
YMCA YouthNet, an e-mail group of young YMCA leaders in the region,
began stimulating and lively discussions on the issue of peace at
the time of the impending war in Iraq. Voices were unanimous for
"Peace". They felt that war could never be a solution to a problem.
War engenders hate, suffering, and marginalisation. War brings unnecessary
loss of innocent lives and destruction of properties. The influence
of the media on viewpoints about "war" and "peace" was a key issue
that emerged in the discussions. The YouthNetters challenged each
other to critically analyse media reports and seek out other alternative
sources of information to develop a wider perspective and understanding
of the issues. One important lesson learnt was about respecting
the individual right to an opinion - amidst diverse opinions - and
to reflect on the other opinion.
YouthNetters affirmed that the YMCA as a Christian, ecumenical youth
movement, should pray for peace, share ideas and information, and,
commit actions for just-peace. They also appreciated the initiatives
of people around the world actively promoting peace and justice.
YOUTH EXCHANGE PROGRAMME SET TO TAKE OFF
Youth Exchange Programme to encourage youth participation and involvement
in the YMCAs and its Mission is set to take off in September 2003.
Two young YMCA leaders will participate in the 2 to 3-month programme.
This exchange, supported by the National Councils of YMCAs of India
and Korea, will facilitate practical hands-on experiences for the
exchange participants on the issues of sustainable development,
strengthening civil society, student/youth involvement in the YMCA
and unemployment. The participants will share and apply their learning
and experiences in their home YMCA upon return.
YOUTH WORK CAMP IN VIETNAM POSTPONED
to concerns expressed about the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
(SARS) situation in the region, the 5th International Vietnam Youth
Work Camp, 21-30 July 2003, has been postponed to July 2004. The
residents of the Bihn Khanh Tay commune (site of the Work Camp)
and the local authorities have requested that the classrooms be
built as planned. The classrooms are needed for the new school term
beginning in September 2003. The Work Camp in July 2004 will carry
out other necessary work in the classrooms and the village school.
ADVANCED STUDIES IN LEADERSHIP FOR MOVEMENT BUILDING
are now progressing well for the 21st Advanced Studies Programme
to be held from 1 November 2003 (Arrival) to 5 December 2003 (Departure)
at YMCA Wu Kwai Sha Youth Village in Hong Kong. We have received
confirmations of 12 participants and hope to receive another 6 by
the first week of July.
focus of the Studies is Leadership for Movement Building. Participants
will work together to seek a deeper understanding of current global
trends in relation to our Mission and to develop relevant contextual
programmes and methodologies to strengthen the movement dimension
of the YMCA.
OPENING FOR POSITION OF EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, PROGRAMMES
earlier informed, a position of Executive Secretary for Programmes
in the Alliance is now open. Experienced, YMCA mission-driven team-persons
are invited to apply for the position. Applications for the position
close on 31 July 2003.
details of the position, please visit: www.asiapacificymca.org
VIETNAM YMCA INAUGURATES NEW NATIONAL OFFICE BUILDING
Vietnam YMCA celebrated its 11th Anniversary and inaugurated its
new National Office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on 20 March 2003.
Our President, Mr. Kan Tanikawa graced the occasion, together with
representatives from many partner YMCAs in the region and outside
the region that had contributed to the construction costs of the
building. Mr. Tanikawa congratulated the Vietnam YMCA for its effort
towards self-reliance that could serve as an example to all emerging
YMCAs. We are confident that with a permanent building of their
own, the Vietnam YMCA will be able to further advance their good
work with the less fortunate and marginalised in the community.
Their work is already much appreciated by the community and the
YMCA SRI LANKA MOBILISES LOCAL RESOURCES FOR FLOOD RELIEF
expressed our concern to the Sri Lanka YMCA and called on the Movements
in the region for prayer and expressions of solidarity as heavy
rains caused unprecedented floods and landslides in three provinces
in the south and central parts of Sri Lanka in mid-May. The floods
were the worst experienced in the region since 1947. Over 100,000
families have been rendered homeless in these provinces and at least
200 people were killed. Two YMCAs located in these areas worked
with NGOs and governmental organisations to provide all possible
assistance to the victims.
Sri Lanka YMCA has mobilised local resources for humanitarian assistance
and the reconstruction of houses damaged by the floods. The YMCAs
of Galle, Moratuwa, Colombo and Matara have collected dry rations
for the affected families. The National Council has planned to carry
out the reconstruction with the participation of the villages and
YMCA volunteers. Youth from the north will be invited to participate
in workcamps with youth from the South to build the houses.
YMCAs MARK COMING INTO FORCE OF THE UN CONVENTION ON MIGRANT RIGHTS
YMCA of the Philippines, the Chittagong YMCA in Bangladesh, the
YMCA of Sri Lanka, and the Salatiga YMCA in Indonesia have been
actively engaged in our migrant workers issues since 1997. Besides
the work to empower the migrant workers, especially the women migrant
workers, the Centres have also raised awareness of the UN Convention
on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families.
celebrate the UN Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers
and their Families coming into force, the YMCA of the Philippines
has planned a Liturgical Celebration and Thanksgiving Day on 4 July.
It will continue education and information campaigns to highlight
the provisions of the UN Convention through Pre-Employment Orientation
Seminars (PEOS), other school-based and community empowerment activities,
e.g. in Ilocos Norte, Infanta - Quezon, Meycauayan - Bulacan, and
also in the YMCA of Manila.
National Council of YMCAs of Sri Lanka, now with 6 local YMCA Migrant
Workers' Resource and Service Centres, will mark the coming into
force of the UN Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers
and their Families on July 1, 2003 with an country-wide publicity
campaign. A primer on the UN Convention will be published in the
local languages, Sinhala and Tamil. A poster campaign will also
be carried out to further highlight the government's responsibility
to migrant workers.
Lee Nam Joo, former National General Secretary (NGS) of the
National Council of YMCAs of Korea, was invited to serve as Chairperson
of the Korean Independent Commission Against Corruption (KICAC),
with effect from 26 March 2003. This is indeed a great recognition
of the commitment shown by Mr. Lee and the Korean YMCA in the fight
against corruption in Korea. He has served the Korean YMCA for more
than 30 years and as NGS from 1996. We thank him for his years of
commitment to the YMCA and its Mission, not only in Korea, but also
in the region and the world movement.
Lee Hack Young was unanimously appointed as National General
Secretary (NGS) of the National Council of YMCAs of Korea, with
effect from 1 June 2003. He fills the position vacated by Mr. Lee
Nam Joo. Prior to his appointment Mr. Lee Hack Young, was the General
Secretary of the Soonchun YMCA where he started his YMCA career
in 1984. He attended the Advanced Studies Programme in 2001.
T. Thomas, National General Secretary (NGS) of the National
Council of YMCAs of India was unanimously reappointed to his second
5-year term with effect from May 2003.
congratulate them, and wish them God's blessings and guidance as
they carry out their respective responsibilities.
LIVING TOGETHER IN FAITH
Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims from 14 Asian countries shared
what it meant to live and work together for peace in Prapat, Indonesia
on 5-10 April 2003. The Inter-Religious Cooperation Programme (ICP)
was jointly organised by the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs,
Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) and the German Church Development
inter-religious experiences shared from different religious perspectives
highlighted many common elements that are bases for harmonious living
together of people of different faith traditions in Asia. Peace,
justice, compassion for those who suffer, equality, love, human
dignity and solidarity, non-violence, sensitivity to others and
oneness of the human family - these are the values that we hold
in common. Dialogue was affirmed as the way to build more godly
and humane societies. The participants also strongly expressed that
religion in itself is not the cause of violence and conflict. It
is the pursuit and maintenance of power and domination by those
who hold power that propel groups to exploit and politicise religion
for selfish ends.
continue "living together in faith" and working together for peace,
a representative Continuing Committee has been set up to pursue
and strengthen inter-religious cooperation in the region. Planning
is in progress for two major follow-up programmes in 2004 - a youth
programme and a programme on gender justice.
in the ICP was not based on affiliation with CCA or the APAY, but
on active involvement in inter-religious cooperation programmes.
Two YMCA members from Indonesia - Anna Marsiana of Solo YMCA and
Trisno Sutanto of Metro Jakarta YMCA were among the participants.
Dr. Ahn Jae Woong, General Secretary of the CAA, Mr. Heiner Knauss,
Head of the South East and East Asia Desk, EED and I as the General
Secretary of the APAY were also present at the ICP.
WORLD ALLIANCE GLOBAL OPERATING PLAN (GOP)
Strategic Directions adopted at the 15th World Council gives focus
on strengthening the YMCA Movement at various levels in mission
clarity, transformative programmes and institutional viability,
through a comprehensive Global Operating Plan (GOP). The GOP is
a comprehensive and coordinated multi-lateral effort in sharing
of human and financial resources for strengthening the movement.
on the GOP was held in Geneva on 20-25 March attended by around
50 representatives from national YMCAs, the Global Staff Team, YMCA
Executives for international cooperation and other stakeholders
of the Movement. The World Alliance has shared with National Movements
the GOP that identifies five action strategies. To implement the
GOP, the World Alliance has launched an appeal for support to selected
National Movements and Areas and for building the GOP process. From
our region, the YMCA of East Timor (ANJUCTIL) has been included
as one of the initial National Movements that will be supported
from our area at the Consultation included one of our Vice Presidents,
Rev. Samuel Stephens (India); World Alliance Executive Committee
Members Dr. Park Jae Chang (Korea) and Ms. Toshiko Takeda (Japan);
and, National General Secretaries Mr. Susumu Iguchi (Japan) and
Mr. Chrisantha Hettiaratchi (Sri Lanka). The General Secretary attended
as a member of the Global Staff Team
more details on Understanding the Global Operating Plan and its
full text, please visit: http://www.ymca.int/global_structure/gop_understanding.htm
NEXT WORLD ALLIANCE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE IN ASIA AND PACIFIC AREA
51st Executive Committee Meeting of the World Alliance of YMCAs
held in Geneva, Switzerland, on 26-30 March 2003, proposed that
the 52nd Executive Committee Meeting be held in the Asia and Pacific
region on 30 March - 4 April 2004. The Host Movement and Venue will
be determined at a later date.
participants, including the Executive Committee Members and other
YMCA leaders from all regions of the world attended the 51st Executive
Committee. The meeting reviewed the role and work of the World Alliance
and determined implementation plans for Challenge 21, the 15th World
Council Resolutions and the Global Operating Plan. In his Report,
Mr. Bart Shaha, Secretary General of the World Alliance, highlighted
the work and progress made, especially in relation to developing
the Global Operating Plan and responding to the needs of national
movements. The Standing Committees - Mission and Ecumenical Relations,
Youth Participation and Leadership, Gender Justice and Women's Leadership
and Disaster Preparedness and Response took forward-looking decisions
on critical concerns and issues of the Movement. Throughout the
Meeting, the themes of justice and peace were strongly expressed
by the participants as the war in Iraq had just begun.
further details, please visit the World Alliance website: www.ymca.int
TIME TO SHARE AND TIME TO REFLECT
first six months of the year saw a series of tragic events that
have caused much anxiety, much untold human tragedy and suffering
- the war on terror and the conflicts that continue within our shores,
the war in Iraq and its aftermath, the SARS epidemic that took the
world by surprise. These continue to affect and disrupt the daily
lives of many in our region and in other parts of the world, especially
the poor and the weak. These are times when human vulnerabilities
have been exposed. But God, ever present and ever caring, ever in
control, tells us as he tells the disciples in the stilling of the
storm in Mark:4, "do not be afraid". As in the story of David and
Goliath as recorded in I Samuel:17, we do not need to be afraid
- one of our human frailties - we only need as David says, to have
faith in God. We are placed amidst the challenges of our times as
the YMCA, to respond in solidarity to these immense challenges and
threats brought about by humankind's frailties and selfishness;
hunger for power and to determine and control the lives of others.
There is need for us to be "marching in the light of God" into the
community - to actively work in solidarity with the community, to
heal the wounded, to care for the sick, and to bring love and peace
that will transform community into one under the reign of God, with
just-peace for all. We need to reflect and overcome our human weaknesses
and to take on the spirituality of transformation, and in faith
move towards the Mission that God has set for us, and the YMCA.
look forward to receiving from you stories and news of how your
YMCA in faith and good courage, is responding to the imperatives
of Challenge 21 today. Sharing of these will encourage, strengthen
and build up one another, as we in solidarity strive to achieve
the YMCA Mission in our vulnerable world today.
God bless the work that you and your YMCA are doing for his Glory.
Lord bless you and keep you,
The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
God's Love and Peace,
Secretary for Programmes