Executive Committee Meeting of the APAY was held virtually

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Last Updated (Friday, 30 April 2021 22:37)


Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs
Executive Committee Meeting
16–17 April 2021
(Online meeting)

The Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY) held its annual Executive Committee Meeting (ECM) from 16th-17th April 2021. Due to travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, APAY held its ECM 2021 online via Zoom for three hours, from 3:00-6:00 p.m. (HKT) each day on 16th and 17th April 2021. One hundred and ten (110) registered delegates and representatives from 22 movements in the Asia-Pacific region attended the meeting.

Prof. Chen Chin-Seng, President of APAY, presided the meeting and assisted by Mr. Nam Boo Won, General Secretary of APAY. SG Carlos Sanvee, Mr. Tom Valentine, Vice President, Y-USA International Group, and representatives from the Y’s Men International -- Hong Yong Seung, Area President of Korea Area and David Lua, Area President of Asia Pacific Area gave their fraternal greetings.

COVID-19 was first reported in December 2019 and the World Health Organisation declared a global pandemic by the in March 2020. As of 13 April 2021, the WHO confirmed more than 136 million cases, attributing more than 2.94 million deaths, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in history. Governments and health officials struggled hard with policies and decisions between saving lives and livelihood. On the political front, some governments also took the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to suspend the democratic processes and impose emergency rules.

Apart from health concerns, many YMCAs are struggling economically to survive due to the forced lockdowns and cancellation of programs and services. All YMCAs have had to redesign and adapt their programs and services to the requirements of a new normal imposed by the pandemic.

It is under such tough travel restrictions and quarantines procedures imposed worldwide that APAY's Executive Committee is meeting online for the second consecutive year.

Within these contexts, the meeting started with a Mission Review Session with a view to understanding the challenges and relevance of the YMCAs at such a critical time.


Morning Devotions, Mission Review
In the midst of our struggles with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. CHANG Yoon Jae, professor in Theology of Ehwa Womens University and Vice-president of NCY Korea reminded us to be “Anchored on our Rock”, of going back to our roots to strive for unity in diversity. The “C” of the Y.M.C.A is the most important letter out of the four. It explains the reason, identity, purpose and spirit of our existence. It makes our movement distinct from all other youth movements. It is the power to create and to imagine the unimaginable. When we are not ashamed of this “C”, it becomes God’s power to open the ways when there is no way. Real power emanates from our demonstration of the Paris Basis, not in exclusivity and arrogance, but with inclusiveness and humility.

In his opening and welcome address, Prof. Chen enumerated several big challenges That YMCA face today – namely, the climate change and global warming, the COVID-19 pandemic, the military coup in Myanmar and shrinking civic space in many parts of our region. “Times of unprecedented crisis present unique opportunities for unprecedented action”, Prof. Chen said and challenged YMCAs to face these adversities with courage and consider them as unique opportunities for YMCAs to respond and establish our relevance in times of unprecedented crisis.

A powerful testimony from a Youth Secretary of the NCY Myanmar challenged us never to give up working for justice, peace and human rights. In her testimony, Yoon shared how the very creative and largely non-violent Civil Disobedience Movement, led by mostly by young demonstrators against the military coup, were met with violent and deadly response by the military. From 1st February to 14th April 2021, the Tatmadaw has killed 715 protesters. They have arrested more than 3,070 civilians, including 2 staff and volunteers of Myanmar YMCA. The ECM observed one minute of silence in remembrance of the 715 victims killed while protesting against the military coup.

During the Mutual Learning session, Mr. Anselmo Lee, the Coordinator of Asia Pacific Civil Society Forum on Sustainable Development (APSD) discussed about the current status of the SDGs. He showed how YMCAs could contribute towards achieving the SDGs. Anselmo Lee shared that the SDG is the last historic opportunity to stop or delay the global crisis, while finding more fundamental solutions to the global crisis such as rising inequality and global warming. He challenged the YMCA, being the oldest youth movement, to take the lead in monitoring the implementation of the SDGs from the youth perspective and to support youth led SDG strategies and a road map to localising the SDG process.

Committee Reports
The QPP 2020-2023 goals are the following:

  • To strengthen the YMCAs in the Asia and Pacific through capacity building and empowerment related to leadership and governance, partnership and networking, and skills development training
  • To understand and respond meaningfully to social issues that is relevant to the movement to build a vibrant civil society and social transformation
  • To empower people, especially the youth and women to build their full potentials at all levels.
APAY achieved the above goals through the implementation of the eight (8) Program Areas.

Travel restrictions and imposition of social distancing due to the COVID19 pandemic have prevented the APAY from holding in-person meetings and programs. APAY has redesigned

the work and programs in 2020 and restructured them to virtual meetings and online webinars. It has shortened and adjusted some programs with practical activities and some components removed. It also has reorganized other training sessions into a series of online webinars. Although with some reduced effectivity and impact, APAY successfully accomplished most of the work and programs. Learning from this experience, APAY will develop an effective balance for hybrid online and in-person activities in the future.

APAY also contributed to the global community through the World Alliance of YMCAs on the common/shared commitments to combat Climate Change -- as coordinator for the Community of Impact on Climate Change and as member of the global task force to draft a bottom-up strategy and roadmap to increase YMCA visibility and contributions at COP26.

Session with WAY
In the YMCA Vision 2030, Carlos Sanvee, Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs, shared that YMCAs across the globe will share a common Vision, Mission and broad goals. The YMCA would ALL be together on the same journey, each with their own specific and diversity. Rooted, guided and united by our Christian Values the YMCA will focus more on not just being relevant to existing needs, but also anticipating them.

The Executive Committee Meeting concluded with a call for all YMCAs to return to our roots at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic and political upheavals. Even as we struggle for our own institutional viability, we reaffirm our commitment to Challenge 21 and the struggles of our local communities.

In solidarity with the YMCA of Myanmar and the peoples of Myanmar, the APAY calls on the UNHRC and UN member states to urgently institute every possible intervention measure. This includes the immediate imposition of arms embargo and targeted economic sanctions against all businesses related to the military, the Generals and their families as a response to stop the violent suppression of peaceful demonstrations against the military coup.

Deeply saddened by the recent acts of violence against Asian Americans in the US the ECM adopted a statement offering solidarity and support to YMCAs in North America region and around the world who are working with communities to combat systemic problems of discrimination, xenophobia and racism and to reimagine community with safety, diversity and inclusion.