December 7 to 14, 2004
The Asia-Pacific Student and Youth Gathering 2004 with the theme “Together in Action for Peace and Reconciliation” organised by the Ecumenical Asia-Pacific Students and Youth Network (EASYNet) on 7-14 December, 2004 in Cipayung, Indonesia. A total of 104 delegates from countries of Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, East Timor, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand came together to learn and be challenged on the need to work in solidarity on pertinent issues of Peace, Justice and Reconciliation in today’s world full of unpeace and injustice. The ASYG included a general keynote presentation on the theme, daily faith reflection, a 2-day exposure programme, 4 thematic workshops, an Open Space Forum for students and youths to facilitate discussions of social concerns, movement night, a visioning process for the future work of EASYNet, and a cultural night to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures of Asia-Pacific.
The objectives of ASYG are:
The programme started with a Keynote address by Max Ediger who is a peace activist in Asia. Max is attracted by the ASYG theme, in which “Together” means unity with inclusiveness and bringing people together; “Action” implies not only words, but question of what am I willing to do; “Peace and Reconciliation” refers to struggles among the marginalised/grassroots. His presentation emphasized on the importance of the word and meaning of Just Peace; justice comes first, without justice there is no peace and justice.
Following the keynote address, the participants set of to the 2-day exposure programme where they stayed one night with the communities that host them. The exposure issues touched on Inter-religious dialogue, globalisation, Internal Displaced People, Peace and Education. The exposure provides a local perspective while participants were expected to reflect in relation to their own country’s and the Asia-Pacific perspectives.
The students and youth also participated in 4 thematic workshops on Peace and Human Security, Globalisation and Economic Justice, Culture and Education, and Ecumenism and Interfaith. An Open Space Forum was also created for the students and youth to conduct their own discussion groups. These discussion groups consist of topics on Tourism: A Challenge to Ecumenical Youth, Current Situation of East Timor, US Military Presence in Asia-Pacific, Women in the Bible, Women Fighting Against HIV/Aids, Global Network for Advocacy, Celebrating Diversity in Cultural Exchange, and Struggle of the Farmers and Farm Workers in the Philippines and Caste System of South Asia.
A night of Movement Introduction saw the six student and youth movements—Asia-Pacific Alliance of the YMCA, YWCA, CCA, WSCF Asia-Pacific, International Movement of Catholic Students and the International Young Catholic Students, shared on their mission and vision of student and youth work. The participants were given a Movement Introduction in songs, dance, and even a quiz with prizes for the correct answers.
The ASYG closed with a worship that recollected the 7-day of celebration of togetherness in learning and working not only on social concerns but also on faith reflection that challenges the students and youth to interlink social action with our faith. The pledge to continue the ecumenical journey in peace and reconciliation closes the ASYG with a high but reflective mood.
The full report of ASYG will be out in early 2005. For more information, please contact Glenda, EASYNet Coordinator, at easynet[at]born2create.ph