Building Community and a Culture of Peace
has become a crucial issue in these times of grave uncertainties
and deep distress, as the world seems to be becoming a more violent
place. There is also a rise of religious and ethnic conflicts and
new tensions are emerging in communities where people of different
religious backgrounds lived in peace and harmony for ages. For over
150 years, the YMCA has worked with people of different faiths and
cultures in building communities and in working for peace.
is in this background that the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs
organised the Regional Programme on "Building Community and a Culture
of Peace" on 10-14 October at the New Delhi YMCA, India. Fifty-two
participants, mainly from YMCAs in South Asia, including other YMCAs
in the region participated in the Programme.
some of the issues presented and discussed were different perspectives
from different faith traditions on the concept of "peace" and "community",
and how to build partnerships for promotion of justice and solidarity,
regardless of culture, race or religion in building community. It
was also an opportunity to explore deeper collaboration in interfaith
cooperation and dialogue in addressing some common issues related
to the impacts of the changing global scene - the appalling poverty
that creates dehumanising conditions, moral degradation, denial
of justice to the weaker sections of community, and the depletion
of earth's resources. There was sharing of knowledge and experience
on forming a concrete base for solidarity in transforming and building
communities of justice, love and peace. The half-day exposure to
community-building initiatives of the New Delhi YMCA with people
of other faiths reinforced the deliberations on how to encourage
people of different faiths to work together for the common good
of the community. Dr. Fr. Prakash Louis, Executive Director of the
Indian Social Institute, set the tone for the deliberations with
his presentation on the Theme.
participants called for the seeking of alternative development paradigms
and lifestyles to meet the challenges of the globalised world, to
play an appropriate role in mobilising actions for transformation
of society and to voice out concerns against all forms of injustice.
YMCAs present drew up plans for holding of national workshops with
peoples of other faiths to address these needs and to network for
appropriate joint actions in acting for just-peace.
thank both the National Council of YMCAs of India and the New Delhi
YMCA for hosting the programme.
Regional Programme on Violence Against Women
against women is one of the most devastating consequences of gender
inequality. The 43 men and women staff/lay leaders who participated
in the regional programme on Violence Against Women (VAW) held on
6-11 November 2002 in Mumbai, India acknowledged this reality. The
programme was conducted to reach a common understanding on the issue
of violence against women, and identify the YMCA's roles and tasks
in eliminating such violence and in advocating for gender justice
within and outside the YMCAs.
participants looked deeper into gender inequities and expressed
that violence against women (VAW) is a manifestation of the lack
of respect to the dignity of women. They noted that VAW is not only
a women's issue, but also a human rights issue concerning both women
and men. During the Workshop, they declared that gender-based violence
which may be present and perpetuated in the family, community and
the state continues to burden and threaten the lives of women whose
plight and situation may indicate the level of human development
in various cultures.
a comprehensive study and deliberation on the issue through group
discussions and inputs from distinguished resource persons, the
participants developed strategies to address the issue. The exposure
visit was highlighted by learning about the cycle of violence existing
in a community trapped in poverty, sex trafficking, forced prostitution
and labor migration involving women, children and the rest of the
community. The visit to the organisations engaged in working on
VAW gave the participants an opportunity to sincerely examine the
YMCA's actions vis-a-vis the issue and helped them realise the urgency
of addressing it. Plans were drawn up by the group to encourage
the YMCAs to initiate/strengthen efforts towards working for a violence-free
life for all noting that VAW includes human rights violations endangering
the lives of all of the world's people.
have been urged to adopt a gender perspective in all its policies,
programmes and systems; encourage women's membership in the YMCAs;
intensify awareness raising and capacity building efforts on gender
issues; engage in advocacy work to eliminate gender-based violence;
influence the media towards gender sensitive values and positive
cultural initiatives; strengthen networking efforts with like-minded
NGOs and encourage partnerships between men and women in all gender-related
issues and actions. Further, YMCAs have been called upon to serve
as a model for gender justice and not a reflection of existing social
inequities and discrimination against women.
thank the National Council of YMCAs of India and the Bombay (Mumbai)
YMCA for hosting the Programme.
The 20th Advanced Studies Concludes
5-week intensive Advanced Studies Programme conducted by the Asia
and Pacific Alliance from 26 October to 29 November was yet another
significant experience for the 14 YMCA Secretaries who attended
it. The Programme was inaugurated by Dr. Cecil Chan, Vice President
of the Asia and Pacific Alliance on 29 October 2002, at an Inauguration
Ceremony hosted by the YMCA of Hong Kong.
Philip Kwok, a Hon. President of the Chinese YMCA and a Past President
of the Asia and Pacific Alliance, officiated at the Graduation Ceremony
and presented Certificates to the graduates of the Programme at
the Graduation Ceremony on 28 November, hosted by the Chinese YMCA
of Hong Kong.
participants, including one each from the Africa Alliance and the
Latin American and Caribbean Confederation, were : Semisi Saukawa,
Fiji; Simon Chan, Hong Kong; Samson Samuel, India; Sarvjeet Singh,
India; Tadakuni Tajiri, Japan; Hiroo Tsutsumi, Japan; Park Jang
Dong, Korea; Youn Kyeong Tae, Korea; Naw Ja, Myanmar; Huang Liang-chin,
Taiwan; Yu Tsung-jen, Taiwan; Pweena Supong, Thailand; Tigabe Asres,
Ethiopia; Miguel E. Pacora Luna, Peru.
Consolidation of Vietnam YMCA
is encouraging to note recent developments in the Vietnam YMCA.
As it continues its social service programmes, this YMCA has also
been able to successfully embark on having its own premises for
its activities and office in the suburbs of Ho Chi Minh City. The
construction of the building is scheduled for completion in early
2003. We congratulate them on this effort towards self-reliance.
You may contact our office for more information on how to support
Flood Rehabilitation Work in Nepal
extensive damage to many villages in rural Nepal as a result of
unprecedented floods in July/August 2002, the YMCA of Nepal responded
by raising and providing emergency relief supplies of clothes, medicine,
food and tents to 200 families in the Manahary River Basin. With
the support from the appeal made to YMCAs by the Alliance, funds
were raised from the YMCAs of Japan, Singapore and the World Alliance
to assist in rebuilding houses in Botbary village and Sarikhet village,
and the rehabilitation of a YMCA-built clean water supply system
in the village of Baluwa. These projects are being carried out in
collaboration with a committee of local village leaders and the
local YMCAs of Hetauda and Kavre. We are yet to raise US$4,500 towards
the commitment, so YMCA support in this endeavour would be greatly
YMCA of Singapore Makes Special Contribution to Mark its Centenary
2 November, the YMCA of Singapore (Orchard Road) celebrated its
Centenary attended by many international YMCA delegations, local
dignitaries and its membership. Our Golden Anniversary Trust Fund
was boosted by a special contribution of SGD $100,000 (approx. US$
57,170) by the YMCA of Singapore, in addition to the US$100,000
already pledged by them. The contribution was received by Mr. Kan
Tanikawa our President, from Col. (Rtd.) David Wong, President of
the YMCA of Singapore during the Fraternity Dinner to welcome all
overseas delegations at the Celebrations.
16th General Assembly and Youth Forum, September 2003
for the 16th General Assembly to be held from 2-6 September 2003
in Singapore under the theme "Spirituality of Transformation
for Just-Peace" are progressing well. Recently, meetings with
the Host Committee and the Apollo Novotel where the Assembly will
take place have been organised for detailed planning. Details of
the Assembly will be sent out to National YMCAs soon.
General Assembly, a time to express and experience our "oneness"
in mission, will feature a keynote and several sub-theme presentations.
There will also be "witness" rooms for sharing of on-going development
and transformation work being carried out by YMCAs in the region.
There will also be Focus Groups for initiating actions in solidarity
with the suffering. The Quadrennial Council Meeting will also be
held during the period, and there will be other social and cultural
programmes. Prior to the Assembly, from 31 August-2 September 2003,
the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCA's Youth Forum will
bring many young people in the YMCA together, to search for meaningful
YMCA responses to contemporary youth issues.
Financial Support for Programmes/Projects 2003
in the past years, we will be able to support some programme actions
of National and Local YMCAs in the next year. Applications for financial
support to carry out National and Local Action Programmes (NLAP)
on Youth, Gender and Empowerment of People are invited. Applications
are also invited for the Y's Men International Time of Fast (TOF)
support for programmes focused on "Building a Peaceful Future".
Applications made in the prescribed format must be received at the
Alliance Office by 1 February 2003, duly endorsed by the
Position of New General Secretary : Application Closes 30 December
announced in the Headlines, September, 2002, applications have been
invited for the position of General Secretary of the Asia and Pacific
Alliance with my taking up the responsibility of Secretary General
of the World Alliance of YMCAs. All applications should reach Mr.
Kan Tanikawa, Chairperson of the Search Committee for the General
Secretary, by 30 December 2002.
7 members of the Search Committee will short-list candidates who
have applied. Short-listed candidates will be asked to attend an
interview with the Search Committee on 11 and 12 March in Hong Kong.
The Search Committee will then recommend a person for appointment
by the Executive Committee which will meet in Hong Kong on 13-15
Announcement : Acting General Secretary
announced earlier, Mr. Yip Kok Choong, Executive Secretary for Programmes
of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs, will be the Acting General
Secretary of the Alliance with effect from 1 January 2003, until
the new General Secretary assumes the position, at the latest by
Search Committee for the General Secretary of the Asia and
Pacific Alliance of YMCAs will meet on 11-12 March 2003, in Hong
Kong to interview short-listed candidates for the position.
Executive Committee and Related Meetings will be held on
13-15 March 2003 at the Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong.
National General Secretaries' Meeting will be on 16 March
2003, in Hong Kong.
Year-end Greetings and Farewell
is time for me to move again. My period in Hong Kong as General
Secretary of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs since January
1996 has been a very meaningful experience for me as well as my
family. We received so much care, concern and support in pursuing
the work of the Alliance. I am also very happy to see the new developments
in this region, particularly in terms of YMCAs taking up new programmes
on social issues, consolidation and extension of YMCAs, leadership
development and self-reliance. But, much is left to be done, and
I am confident that YMCAs in this region will grow from strength
to strength to pursue the mission of the YMCA in building a society
characterised by justice, love and peace.
this opportunity to thank the President of the Alliance, Mr. Kan
Tanikawa, the Officers, the Executive Committee Members, the National
General Secretaries and all colleagues and friends who have given
so much of their ideas, time, energy, and finances in making the
Alliance what it is today.
God bless each and everyone of you working for a better world. Wishing
you a very happy New Year!
and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs
Kan Tanikawa, President, Sends Letter of Appreciation
Kan Tanikawa, President of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs
has requested us to share the following letter which we received
from him recently.
Mr. Bart Shaha
World Alliance of YMCAs
Greetings to you and Emily as you prepare to leave the shores
of Asia and Pacific for Geneva, Switzerland, after giving
exemplary and visionary leadership to the region and the Movement
as the General Secretary of the Asia and Pacific Alliance
Dr. M.D. David, the author of "A Symbol of Solidarity", the
history of the Asia Alliance of YMCAs (published in 1998),
writes, you "are one of the rare finds in the YMCA family".
And, we have been privileged to have God place you in leadership
in our midst for the past seven years. We have witnessed and
experienced the commitment and dedication, enthusiasm and
dynamism, and, the sense of Spirituality and Mission, that
you have demonstrated and given to the region.
contribution to the Vision and the Mission of the YMCA in
the region is evident in the far-reaching impact of the work
that has taken place during your tenure as our General Secretary.
Your clear leadership style has also contributed not only
to the creating of a strong sense of self-reliance within
the region, but also its manifestation through the successful
establishment of the Golden Anniversary Trust Fund with other
key lay leaders of the Alliance.
working with you as the President of the Alliance since 1999,
has indeed been a rewarding and enjoyable time. We thank you,
Bart, for sharing your life with us!
pray for God's guidance, wisdom and strength to go with you
as you move to share your leadership at the World Alliance.
May God's richest blessings go with you, Emily, Sangita and
Suchinta. The Good Lord BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU ALL.
Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs