No.26 September 2002

1. World Council Well Attended by Our Region

About 150 delegates from our region including about 30 youth actively participated and gave leadership in various discussions and activities at the World Council of YMCAs Meeting. There were 626 delegates from YMCAs around the world at the meeting.

Held in Oaxtepec, Mexico on 15-21 July 2002, the 15th World Council of YMCAs has inspired and motivated the YMCAs from around the world for the tremendous task of building community and transforming the world. The highly creative morning worship, steeped in diverse cultural richness, strengthened us in our spiritual journey.

Renowned Argentinian theologian, Dr. Jose Miguez Bonino, speaking on the theme, "Building Community, Transforming the World", urged the participants to reflect on the role and position of the YMCA amidst globalisation. He drew attention to the need to understand the conditions in which the YMCA has to fulfill its mission and to engage in actions that demonstrate our faith in God. The Challenge 21 Festival highlighted YMCA responses to crucial issues, and inspired and challenged delegates to more concerted efforts on issues. The issues featured in the tents included Suffering Planet - Protecting the Earth; Rights of Children; Culture of Peace: Overcoming Violence; HIV/AIDS; Ethnic and Racial Justice; Economic Justice, Trade and Development; and, Gender Justice. Specific mandates were also agreed upon as the bases for YMCA actions on these issues.

Rev. Caesar Molebatsi (South Africa) was elected President of the World Alliance with Ms. Alice Pedersen (Denmark) as Deputy President. Ms. Dorothy Chong Hon de Sing (Panama) was elected Treasurer. The World Council also recognised the commitment and dedication of the outgoing President, Mr. Martin Vogler (Switzerland), Deputy President Ms. Betty Black (Canada) and Treasurer, Dr. Cecil S.O. Chan (Hong Kong). Mr. Nick Nightingale, the out-going Secretary General was similarly honoured.

(For more information on 15th World Council, please see www.ymca.int )

2. Asia and Pacific Leaders Elected to the World Alliance Executive Committee We are happy to announce the election of the following leaders from the region as members of the Executive Committee of the World Alliance of YMCAs for the period 2002-2006, at the 15th World Council :

Ms. Toshiko Takeda (Japan), Mr. Jude Simion, (Sri Lanka), Dr. Park Jae Chang (Korea), Mr. P. M. John (India) and Mr. Babu Markus Gomes (Bangladesh).

We Congratulate them on their election and wish them God's blessings in their new responsibilities.

3. New Secretary General of the World Alliance Appointed

The current General Secretary of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs, Mr. Bart Shaha, was unanimously confirmed as the new Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs at the 15th World Council in Mexico. Bart will assume executive leadership of the World Alliance from Mr. Nick Nightingale of England with effect from 1 October 2002. He will move with his family from Hong Kong to Geneva, Switzerland, in January 2003.

4. Search Process for New General Secretary for APAY Begins

The Search Committee for the new General Secretary for the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs comprises the Officers of the Alliance, President - Mr. Kan Tanikawa, Vice Presidents - Dr. Cecil Chan, Rev. Samuel Stephens, Mr. Patrick Loo Nee, Treasurer - Mr. David Lua, and Youth/Woman representative - Ms. Nozomi Hirota.

A Circular announcing the position opening and inviting applications has been sent to all YMCA National Movements on 6 August 2002. The closing date for Applications is 30 December 2002. Short-listed candidates will be invited for an Interview to be conducted by the Search Committee from 11-12 March 2003 in Hong Kong. The appointment of the new General Secretary will be made during the Executive Committee Meeting to be held from 13-15 March 2003, in Hong Kong. The new General Secretary is expected to assume duty preferably not later than 1 June 2003.

5. Youth Exchange Programme

Young people, in many programmes and deliberations, have affirmed the need for youth exchanges that will facilitate cultural understanding and provide hands-on experience of the YMCA work in another context. Thus, a Youth Exchange Programme to provide practical exposures on concrete actions and responses to the YMCA mission, and enable young people to engage in youth issues and development work has been planned for this year. Through this exchange, young people are expected to acquire practical knowledge and skills to organise YMCA action programmes that are relevant in their respective country situation.

Preliminary discussions with a few movements are in progress for possible exchanges for engagement in civil society building, education, youth issues and development work. National Movements interested in either hosting or receiving a youth from another Movement are invited to contact the Secretariat for implementing the exchanges.

6. Regional Programme on Youth Policy and Action

Twenty-nine participants met in Cheonan, Korea on 7-12 August 2002 for the YMCA Deliberation on Youth Policy and Action, organised to formulate a collective mandate on student and youth work as one of the priorities in the region and to develop strategies to facilitate practical work to revive and strengthen the youth involvement in the region. The participants in their deliberations urged the YMCAs to take up the youth focus in Challenge 21 and to give priority to youth and students' involvement in the YMCAs and in decision-making structures. The National Council of YMCAs of Korea hosted the programme.

The participants adopted a Statement titled "Living Challenge 21: Shaping the YMCA Youth Policy and Action" which urges YMCAs to engage in critical self-evaluation and to increase involvement in youth and students' work. It also calls on YMCAs to look into their policies in relation to the YMCA as a membership movement; implementing Challenge 21; youth participation in YMCA structures; and programme involvement.

Dr. Park Jong Wha, a theologian and an ecumenical leader in his keynote presentation called for a search for alternative principles to address the negative effects of globalisation that advances material greed and consumerist lifestyle. He encouraged the YMCA to sustain its self-renewing character in this search for alternative development. The exposure to the Hong Seong community provided an example of this alternative lifestyle that promotes community life rather than individualistic trends through the eco-village concept, alternative education, community cooperatives, etc, and upholds cultural identity, and the building of a life-sharing community that nourishes young people.

7. Networking Exchange to Enhance Work With Migrant Workers in Sri Lanka

Ms. Eloisa Borreo, Special Projects Secretary of the YMCA of Philippines, and pioneer coordinator of the Resource/Coordinating Centre for Migrant Workers in Manila, is in Sri Lanka from 8 - 21 September to facilitate planning and implementation of Migrant Workers empowerment programmes. While in Sri Lanka, she will conduct workshops and training programmes in Colombo and Batticaloa for the YMCAs' Migrant Workers' Centres and foster closer partnerships with other NGOs working on the same issues. She will also have discussions with relevant Government Departments for information sharing. Mr. Aruna Shanta Nonis, Executive Secretary in the National Council of Sri Lanka is coordinating the exchange.

8. Regional Programme on Building Community and a Culture Of Peace

This programme is timely in view of the current situation within our region and beyond. The continuing conflict situations between peoples, between religions, between nations, call us to serious reflection of our faith and to action. The Programme will be held in New Delhi YMCA from 10-14 October 2002. More than 50 participants from various YMCAs in the region are expected for the programme that will include key presentations on the theme and multi-faith panel discussions on working together to build sustainable communities of justice and peace. Case studies from YMCAs will also be featured. Rev. Dr. Prakash Louis, Executive Director of the Indian Social Institute, New Delhi, will be the Keynote Speaker. The National Council of YMCAs of India is hosting the programme with the New Delhi YMCA that will be celebrating its 75th Anniversary, as the local host.

9. Regional Programme on Violence Against Women: Trends, Issues and Action Strategies

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, the Regional Workshop on Violence Against Women will be held on 6-11 November 2002 in Mumbai (Bombay), India. The National Council of YMCAs of India and the Bombay YMCA are the hosts of this Programme.

Since violence against women is not only a women's issue, but also a gender issue concerning both men and women, all YMCA leaders who are involved in women's empowerment, social education and advocacy work and who are willing to initiate action programmes to eliminate violence against women are invited to participate in the programme. Application forms should reach the Alliance Secretariat by 10 October 2002.

10. Writing Team Prepares for 16th General Assembly

The 16th General Assembly Writing Team that met on 4-7 September in Hong Kong discussed about the present reality of a world threatened by on-going global conflicts, impacts of globalisation, marginalisation, and rise of religious fundamentalism. Following much sharing and discussions, the following theme emerged : "Seeking A Spirituality of Transformation, Acting Together for Just-Peace". Just-Peace is understood as a peace resulting from the establishment of justice in the social, economic, cultural and political sectors for all people in the community. A spirituality of transformation is envisioning a transformation of the global forces of injustice into Just-Peace catalysts. To express our hopes and emphasise our transformational role as a movement, the following sub-themes have been chosen: Building Just and Participatory Civil Society; Eradicating Poverty, Working towards Sustainable Communities; and, Action in Solidarity with the Suffering.

Planning then focussed on the Workbook and resources for the Assembly, including speakers and presenters. The Assembly will be held from 2-6 September 2003 in Singapore, preceded by the Youth Forum from 31 August to 2 September 2003.

The Writing Team is composed of Rev. Ng Ee Lin (Chairperson of the Committee on Culture, Religion and Spirituality), Mr. Chim Hou Yan (Immediate Past President), Mr. Song Jin Ho (Korea), Mr. Max Ediger (Documentation for Action Groups in Asia), and the Executive Staff of the Alliance.

11. Planning for Inter-religious Cooperation Programme, 2003

With growing concern about the frequent incidence of religious conflicts in our region, and especially in certain sub-regions, the idea of a joint Inter-religious Cooperation Programme was raised among Executives of the APAY, the CCA and the German Church Development Organisation, EED. A Preparatory Committee Meeting comprising representatives from the APAY, CCA and EED, was held at our Secretariat from 26-28 August 2002. The Prep-com Meeting has planned for the programme to be held from 6-10 April 2003 in Prapat, Northern Sumatra, Indonesia. The programme, with the theme "Living our Faiths - Seeking Justice, Peace and Sustainable Alternatives Together", hopes to bring together representatives from different religions of our region. It will be an interfaith endeavour to learn from each other's wisdom to live together. Participants will include those presently working on interfaith understanding in local communities. Further information on the programme will be circulated soon.

12. 20th Advanced Studies Programme

In another six weeks, the 20th Advanced Studies Programme will bring together around 16 participants from the region, including one from Africa and one from Latin America. The Programme is for 35 days of intensive study and reflection on Globalisation, Civil Society, Contemporary Theological Perspectives and the Mission of the YMCA. Specific workshops on Youth and Gender Concerns, Strategic Planning in Today's Information Technology Era, Information Technology in Movement Building and Networking, and Resource Generation will also be conducted. The Studies will be from 26 October to 29 November 2002 at the Wu Kwai Sha YMCA Youth Village in Hong Kong.

 

Executive Committee and Related Meetings - 2003

The Executive Committee and Standing Committees/Task Group meetings will be from 13-15 March 2003 in Hong Kong. The National General Secretaries' Meeting will take place on 16 March 2003 in Hong Kong.

 

  Bart Shaha
General Secretary
Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs

 

 

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