November 1-5, 2007
Seventeen SCM leaders from Asia-Pacific met from Nov 1 to 5, 2007 at the Student Christian Center (SCC) in Bangkok to discuss important issues facing the national movements. Those who attended were: Annabel Dulhunty, Australia SCM; Ed Franks, Aotearoa/New Zealand SCM; Prince Suman Muzamdar, Bangladesh SCM; Dith Sareth, Cambodia SCM; Lau Kim Ling, SCM Hong Kong; Samuel Jayakumar, SCM India; Jahartap Yustin Pasaribu, GMKI; Doim Bang-joo, KSCF; Kaythi Min Din and Khin Mu Mu Han, Myanmar SCM; Dion Cerrafon, SCM Philippines; Suleman Abdiah, SCM Pakistan; Immanuel Gopala Kitnan, SCM Sri Lanka; Rev. Tan Ho Tek, SCM Taiwan; Pitiphan Areeyat, Thailand SCM; Antonio Da Silva, SCM Timor Leste; Roger Gaikwad, WSCF AP; Michael Edge Perkins, ExCo Member WSCF AP; Necta Montes Rocas, Regional Secretary, WSCF AP; Sunita Suna, Regional Women’s Coordinator, WSCF AP; Rev. Paddy Noble, Human Rights Coordinator, WSCF AP.
The agenda of the meeting included assessment sharing of the 17 national movements, focusing on the 2-year work in the area of movement building, building theological and critical thinking of students, action and participation, relationship with churches and senior friends as well as challenges in organization work, staff concerns and external challenges.
The WSCF regional team composed of Necta, WSCF Regional Secretary, Sunita, Regional Women’s Coordinator and Paddy, Human Rights Coordinator also shared reflection on the recent activities of the regional office and their assessment of these activities. In Necta’s sharing she enumerates the following as the challenges facing the national movements: declining student membership, ecumenical leadership, relationship with the churches, Christian identity and theological formation, limited resources and financial sustainability of the SCMs, relevance and direction of the SCMs.
Roger Gaikwad, WSCF AP chairperson led a bible study on the theme of migration and reflection session on SCM faith and theology. Janejinda Pawadee, senior friend of Thailand SCM reflected on the issue of Migration in the Thai-Burma border, while WSCF vice-chairperson Udan Fernando, led a session on staff development training on strategic planning.
The meeting also discussed preparation for the WSCF General Assembly, which is schedule to be held on August 1 to 10, 2008 in Montreal Canada. In this meeting, the participants raised concern about the difficulty of acquiring visa to attend the GA and recommended actions to address this issue. They recommend for the GA preparatory committee to provide step-by-step information for visa application for participants as early as possible. The Standing Committee was also tasked to follow-through the recommendations and ensure immediate response to difficulties arising due to visa problems. The meeting also agreed to hold the WSCF AP Regional Committee meeting a week before the GA to save on airfare cost in any of the following countries: Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Philippines.
In addition to the GA, the meeting also tackled the Ecumenical Assistance Program (EAP), a funding mechanism set-up to support the work of the national movements. Given the critical impact of possible withdrawal of EAP funding, the meeting discussed alternative funding source for the national movements, which include, movement to movement sharing, senior friends appeal and regional strategizing.