February 5-11, 2007
Nine National Coordinators of EASYNet in countries of Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Myanmar participated in this important National Coordinators’ Training held from 5 to 10 February 2007 in the Philippines. The National Coordinators’ Training aimed to assess the 5-year life experience of the National Ecumenical Team building, and provide a venue for the National Coordinators to share their stories and struggles when building the ecumenical network in their respective movements. Additionally, it served to enrich the National Coordinators’ understanding of the ecumenical partnership and cooperation in the midst of living in today’s realities. Also, the National Coordinators’ Training is a time for the National Coordinators to help make plans for the impending Asia-Pacific Students & Youth Gathering (ASYG) in 2008.
For 4 days, the National Coordinators learned on the Foundations and History of Ecumenism, Challenges and Prospect of the Ecumenical Youth Movement, a Panel on Beyond Ecumenism and Interfaith Cooperation with speakers from the Islam, Hindu and Secular communities. The National Coordinators also had a time for National Reporting which they shared on their experiences and struggles in EASYNet work within the respective National EASYNets. At the end of the Training, the National Coordinators contributed very helpful ideas and perspectives to the EASYNet Core Team as it prepares for the ASYG in 2008.
As the National Coordinators’ Training concluded, the Core Team Meeting was held for 2 full days. The pertinent issues on the agenda were the Asia-Pacific Students and Youth Writing Workshop (APSYW) and the ASYG 2008.
The Core Team decided that the APSYW should serve as one of the preparations towards ASYG 2008 and hence, the theme needs to embody a wide range of issues pertaining to young people. The APSYW decides to raise the question of “Where are we” amidst the myriad of situation, conflicts, confusion and oppressions that many young people find themselves in. Moreover, this question highlights the role of youth in social transformation and their capacity to rise above their situation and lay their prophetic voice in the fast changing world. The following themes were suggested:
A concept paper will be followed through and the final theme will then be decided. However, as the budget for 2007 is tight, the Core Team decides that the APSYW will not be a regional programme, instead, it will call on all the National EASYNets to contribute to the resource book of the APSYW that includes the articles and artwork.
With the ideas and perspectives gleaned from the National Coordinators during the training workshop, the Core Team brainstormed on the ASYG 2008 preparations. The possible hosting countries could be India, Taiwan or Korea, depending on the total budget, funding possibilities, availability of facilities as well as the logistical necessities. This will be decided in July.