No.30 September 2003

1. Quadrennial Programme Plan 2004-2007

Representatives from the four sub-regions of the Asia and Pacific Alliance met at the YMCA of Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City to prepare a draft Quadrennial Programme Plan (QPP 2004-2007) from 6 to 11 August 2003. They observed the work and programmes of Vietnam YMCA in Ho Chi Minh City and appreciated the impact and the difference the YMCA had made to people's lives and the community.

The work of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs as expressed in the Quadrennial Programme Plan 2000-2003 was reviewed and analysed. Based on the review and current trends within our region and the world, four broad focus areas were proposed for the draft QPP 2004-2007. These are:

a. Strengthening the Movement emphasising strategic and collaborative consolidation and extension efforts;

b. Youth Development and Participation highlighting the role of YMCA as a youth movement;

c. Women's Development and Involvement that will further advance women's role as partners and leaders within the movement and in the society; and

d. Building Community and a culture of peace, including actions of interfaith collaboration, poverty alleviation programmes and other pressing issues impacting on the poor, the marginalized and socially disadvantaged.

We thank the following who worked with the Alliance's Executive Staff on drafting the framework of the QPP 2004-2007: Mr. Kohei Yamada (Japan - in place of Mr. Susumu Iguchi), Mr. T. Thomas (India), Ms. Phyllis Tan (Singapore - in place of Mr. Eu Eng Kong); and Mr. Bob Nicholson (Australia). We also thank Mr. David Lua, Treasurer of the Alliance for his presence and interest in the meeting.

2. Nominations Committee To Meet

It was most encouraging to see the keen interest of leaders of our national movements in serving as officers of the Asia and Pacific Alliance in the coming quadrennium. On the closing date, 15 August, for nominations, we received the following: President (3 nominees); Vice Presidents - North (1 nominee), Pacific (1 Nominee), South East Asia (4 nominees) and South Asia (2 nominees) and Hon. Treasurer (2 nominees). As per constitutional provision, the full list of nominees has been circulated to all national movements on 4 September 2003.

The Nominations Committee will meet from 10-12 October 2003 in Hong Kong. A slate of nominees will be drawn up for recommendation to the Council meeting that will be held during the 16th General Assembly in March 2004, in Singapore.

The Nominations Committee for Election of Officers for the next quadrennium comprises Mr. Kan Tanikawa, President (Chairperson), Dr. Sun Te-Hsiung (Taiwan - North Asia); Mr. Liew Mun Khai (Malaysia - South East Asia); Atty. Joseph John (India - South Asia) and Mr. Richard Edwards (Australia - Pacific).

3. Advanced Studies Programme Commences on 1st November

Sixteen YMCA senior secretaries will participate in the 21st Advanced Studies Programme from 1 November to 5 December 2003. The Advanced Studies Programme, a base for interaction, networking, and fellowship, focuses on Leadership for Movement Building. This year's participants are from Bangladesh (1), Hong Kong (1), India (2), Japan (2), Korea (2), Malaysia (1), Myanmar (1), Singapore (2), Sri Lanka (1), Taiwan (2) and Norway (1).

Dr. Ninan Koshy, formerly Director of Commission on International Affairs, World Council of Churches and former Visiting Fellow, Harvard Law School; Mr. Basil Fernando, Executive Director of Asian Human Rights Commission; and Dr. Hope S. Antone, Executive Secretary for Faith, Mission and Unity of the Christian Conference of Asia, will be the main Resource Persons of this year's Studies. They will lead in the study and discussions on the major components of the programme: Globalisation, Civil Society Building, and Contemporary Theological Perspectives. The Executive Staff of the APAY will facilitate the Study of YMCA Mission and Community Development, another key component. The Programme also includes workshops on Youth, Gender, Strategic Planning, Networking and Information Technology, Exposure Visits and the writing of a Contextual Response. Worship will be an integral part of the Studies.

4. Youth Exchange Programme

Two young persons will be the first participants of the Asia and Pacific Alliance's Youth Exchange Programme from September to December this year. Ms. Asha Paul from South West India Region YMCA, India will be with the Daegu YMCA, Korea for experiential learning on youth work and civil society building. She will share about the work of the YMCAs of India. The other participant, Mr. Hideki Ishibashi, a Japanese working with the Daegu YMCA will spend time with the Indian YMCAs, particularly the Ranchi YMCA and the South West India region YMCAs, working on the issues of youth, the poor and marginalised in India. We appreciate the collaboration and support of both the host and sending YMCAs in this Programme.

It is hoped that these exchanges will stimulate interaction among young people and help to revitalise the youth work programmes of YMCAs in the region. We invite interested young people and YMCAs to write to us about participation in the exchange programme.

5. EASYNet Updates

Asia Pacific Students and Youth Week 2003

The war in Iraq, war on terror, religious and ethnic conflicts, and the overall threat to human security set the focus for this year's Asia Pacific Students and Youth Week. The theme is "Blessed are the Peacemakers - Building Peace Among Students and Youth Towards Human Security". The annual event is celebrated every 3rd week of October. The national ecumenical teams already formed by EASY Net are expected to organise worship, seminars, group discussions and other similar and creative activities during the week. Member organisations of the Ecumenical Asia Pacific Students and Youth Network (EASY Net) including the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs are encouraged to celebrate the event, to seek to understand the meaning of our faith and mission as we work towards a transformed community. A resource book containing liturgical guides, and resource for reflection and meditation on the theme has been published for the Celebration.

Asia Pacific Students and Youth Gathering 2004

In 2004, EASYNet plans to hold the Asia Pacific Students and Youth Gathering (ASYG) with the theme "Reclaiming Peace in the Pluralistic Society of Asia Pacific - Continuing Challenge to Christian Youth and Students". The EASYNet Core Team that met in Manila on 4-5 September 2003 agreed to organise the ASYG in 2004 to further promote and strengthen grassroots ecumenism.

YouthNetters Discuss Concerns

After very lively discussions on "Peace" at the time of the war in Iraq, the YMCA YouthNet is now discussing what they consider as the most pressing issues faced by youth today in their countries. So far, we have received interesting comments from YouthNetters in Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore. Some issues raised: suicide, education, unemployment, poverty, media violence, globalisation, gender equity, injustices, communal disharmony, environment, lack of social responsibility or apathy, political instability/poor governance. Young YMCA leaders who wish to participate in this and future discussions are invited to join the YouthNet by registering at: youthnet@asiapacificymca.org

Congratulations to National Council of YMCAs of Japan and Seoul YMCA, Korea

The APAY extends its congratulations to the National Council of YMCAs of Japan and the Seoul YMCA as they celebrate their Centenary in October. Both these YMCAs have played significant roles in their nations through their commitment towards realising the YMCA Mission. We wish these YMCAs, and their past and present leaders, God's blessings as they continue to serve their communities and their nations. Congratulations!

16th General Assembly Updates

The 16th General Assembly of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs and related meetings will be held on 9-13 March 2004 at the Novotel Apollo, Singapore. The Youth Forum, Council Meetings and Executive Committee Meetings will be held in conjunction with the Assembly, as follows:

07 - 09 March Youth Forum
08 - 09 March Executive Committee Meeting (16:00-18:30, 08 March; 09:00-12:30, 09 March)
09 - 13 March 16th General Assembly
09 March Council Meeting (20:00 - 22:00)
12 March Council Meeting (20:00 - 22:00)
13 - 14 March Executive Committee Meeting (15:00-22:00, 13 March; 9:00-16:00, 14 March)

We are looking forward to maximum participation from all movements in the region and a motivating and fruitful Youth Forum and General Assembly!

Please submit your Registration Form available from local YMCAs and the APAY website www.asiapacificymca.org to the Asia and Pacific Office by 25 November 2003.

Details of the Assembly may be found at the APAY Website and at the Assembly Website www.geocities.com/apay16ga/home set up by the Host Committee for the 16th General Assembly, Singapore.

16th General Assembly Logo

The dove winging upwards symbolises spirituality and our thrust towards the vision of just-peace. The symbol of the leaf reminds us of the growth and transformation that we are seeking and working towards in the community and the world.

9. Implementation of Global Operating Plan Moves Ahead

At a Global Staff Team (GST) Meeting held in Geneva on 7 and 8 October 2003, plans for the implementation of the Global Operating Plan (GOP) were finalised for its initial phase. The national movements involved are Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Angola, Ethiopia, Senegal and East Timor, and the Africa Alliance of YMCAs. To date over USD 500,000 have been pledged by the YMCAs of the USA and the Council of YMCAs of Hong Kong. Other national movements within our region are also considering contributions to the GOP and we look forward to your pledge soon.

10. Concluding Remarks

August and September have been busy months. As the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs, we were invited to participate in the First Asian Christian Bishops and Muslim Ulama Conference and a Symposium on "Pacem In Terris" (Peace on Earth) by the Federation of Bishops' Conferences (FABC) in Manila, Philippines from 17-24 August 2003. These were significant meetings as we seek ways to build bridges between the different religions in countries within our region. The openness and the spirit of the "open arms" were clearly evident as we worked together to discover the common grounds for building communities of peace within our region. The need for increased dialogue, building of harmony and sharing of compassion was recognised and embraced.

Representing the World Alliance of YMCA's Liaison to the Y's Men International Committee Meeting in Manila from 21-25 September helped to forge new links with the Y's Men International leaders from the different Y's Men's regions, and the Y's Menettes. The Y's Men and Y's Menettes support several of our YMCAs' action and training programmes in our region, particularly in the areas of women empowerment, youth empowerment and children' education,

Meetings were also held with the National Council of YMCAs of the Philippines. We were updated on the current situation of the YMCA of the Philippines. Discussions also focussed on the implementation of the National Strategic Plan that was drawn up at a National Planning Workshop held in June 2003 to seek positive steps towards strengthening of the Philippine YMCA.

The Mid-autumn Festival was celebrated in Hong Kong as in many parts of Asia and Pacific. Though a Chinese Festival, it would surely have been enjoyed by all peoples in those countries. In Hong Kong, colourful lanterns of all shapes and sizes lit up the darkness of the night together with the light of the full moon. As we witnessed these lights, we are reminded of the light of Christ, ever with us, bringing hope amidst the seemingly dark and hopeless situations in our region and the world. Let us share this Light and the signs of hope as we work together for the common good of our communities and the world.

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.

Yip Kok Choong
General Secretary
Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs

 

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