Experience in the Participation of the 5th Youth and 21st General Assembly of APAY

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Embracing Unity and Hope: My Experience in the Participation of the 5th Youth and 21st General Assembly of APAY

By Rinku Barnabas Mankhin

Change Agent, YMCA Bangladesh


September 13th-20th, 2023, In the bustling city of Chennai, India, the vibrant spirit of unity and hope permeated the air as delegates from across the Asia and Pacific region gathered for the 5th Youth Assembly and 21st General Assembly of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs. Among them, I attended as a representative of the YMCA of Bangladesh and a dedicated member of the Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF) program committee.

The theme "Journeying Together as a Resilient Community: Transforming Lives through Vision 2030," set the stage for a week of profound learning and connection. As young leaders, we shared a common goal: to make a meaningful impact in our communities and societies, despite the myriad of challenges we faced.

Throughout the assembly, we engaged in thought-provoking discussions, workshops, and sightseeing,  delving into topics ranging from mental health issues to economic stress and the climate crisis. Despite the weight of these challenges, there was an underlying sense of optimism—a belief that together, we could overcome adversity and create a brighter future.

Alongside my fellow ICF members, one of the most powerful moments of the assembly was leading the choir team for the morning devotion. As the sun rose over the city, we lifted our voices in harmony, filling the room with a sense of unity and hope. Later, we performed a welcome dance, greeting delegates with warmth and enthusiasm, symbolizing the spirit of camaraderie that permeated the event.

Participating in the Youth Assembly and General Assembly was more than just a conference—it was a transformative experience that broadened my perspective, sparked new ideas, and forged lasting connections. Engaging with youth from diverse Asian countries, I was inspired by their passion, creativity, and commitment to positive change. Each interaction served as a reminder of the power of unity and collaboration in driving meaningful progress.

As I reflect on my time in Chennai, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to be part of such a dynamic and inspiring gathering. In the face of the challenges we experience, there is reason to hope—to believe in the potential of young people to shape a better world. Moving forward, I am energized to continue working toward our shared vision of a sustainable and inclusive future where every voice is heard and every individual is empowered to thrive.

In Chennai, amidst the vibrant cultural performances and spirited discussions, I found not only a sense of purpose but also a renewed sense of hope. Together, we are journeying towards a brighter tomorrow—one filled with hope, resilience, and the unwavering belief in the power of youth to shape the world for the better.