Greetings of Peace and Solidarity
from WSCF AP Region!
I am delighted to write this message as the newly appointed Regional Secretary of the WSCF AP. In January 2012 I joined in this new role to continue my ecumenical journey with the WSCF. The year 2011 was a productive one to achieve most of our objectives set forth for this year through our programmes and activities. However, 2011 was a challenging year as we witnessed two devastating natural disasters in the course of the year. The flood in Thailand almost brought the country to a standstill with severe damage to life & properties, the tsunami in Japan and nuclear radiation that ensued brought flashbacks of the 2004 catastrophic tsunami and that of Chernobyl. The SCMs in this region, could not sit back with their regular planned activities. They jumped into providing immediate relief to the victims and what followed was a massive voluntary effort by the students and youths.
In the beginning of 2011 the WSCF AP had its 20th Standing Committee Meeting and Regional Women’s Committee meeting to evaluate the past two years programmatic interventions and identifying new directions and action plans for the region for 2011-12.
WSCF AP leadership also organised two regional level leadership programmes on Human Rights Justice and Peace (HRJP) Training of Trainers (ToT) and Women Doing Theology (WDT). These events brought together 40 students from National SCMs of 18 countries in the AP Region to do valuable and life transforming work. The HRJP training mobilized young Christians around advocacy work for human rights, justice, and peace, by providing them the faith motivation, knowledge, skills, and framework analysis needed to effectively work for change in their respective contexts. The WDT Workshop in Thailand brought young women leaders together from across the AP region to share their experiences, learn about women’s issues in Thailand and their own contexts, and to develop feminist biblical interpretation and frameworks for combating women’s oppression from a biblical standpoint.
The region also held an Ecumenical Creative Workshop in Hong Kong, through our ecumenical network EASYNet, which helped in highlighting the dynamism, talent, and creativity of young members to bring messages of peace and justices through alternative forms of drama, dance, music, and art. This was also a space to celebrate our differences, as this workshop brought together people from diverse backgrounds.
The region also witnessed the communal violence in Indonesia, when the religious extremists burned Churches in Pekanbaru-Riau province. The Christian minorities concede that various forms of intolerance including religious, are threatening the very basic tenets of the Indonesian people – the values pluralism freedom of religion as a democratic state. In response to this situation the Indonesian Student Christian Movement (ISCM) organized a nationally coordinated action to uphold religious freedom and integrity.
Towards the end of the year, students and youth in many countries in Asia hit the streets to protest massive budget cuts in education, seen as a deliberate attempt by corrupt governments to safeguard the thriving business of monopolistic corporations in privatisation of education. In the Philippines, WSCF AP members joined thousands of other students to protest these measures in November, which eventually saw some success in restoring a portion of the cuts.
All these interventions in various fields would not have been possible without the active support and participation of the students and youths, senior friends and our resource partners. We offer our heartfelt gratitude and thanks to all of them. Their support and solidarity has strengthened to continue our ecumenical journey among the student communities.
WSCF AP Regional Secretary
Dear Friends, Partners of WSCF Asia-Pacific,
2011 was also a time for us to reflect and engage on the issues of just peace. The Human Rights Justice and Peace Training of Trainers, held on the theme: Militarization and Just Peace in Asia-Pacific – “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you” (John 14:27) in Seoul, South Korea. This has not only raised awareness in understanding the context for critical analysis on the impact of Militarism on the Human Rights situation in many countries in the Asia-Pacific region, but also have provided a Biblico-theological foundation in understanding ‘Just Peace’ as an on-going discourse among ecumenical bodies and churches.
I understand that the Women Doing Theology Workshop has created space for women to bring their own stories and life experiences to share with others and also to develop critical feminist analysis framework of women’s oppression and to develop hermeneutical frameworks and methods to enable the participants to re-read the Bible together as young women, from critical feminist perspectives.
The year 2011 was momentous for the Asia-Pacific Region as we went through the search process for new leadership for the region. This was a time for us to come together with prayers and deliberations in seeking God’s guidance for our decision. WSCF AP anticipates the challenges involving leadership changes for both the Regional Secretary and Women’s Coordinator positions. We hope the transition process will be smooth and successful; and help to better serve the young people who are the hope for the present and future generations.
I invite you to read the Annual Report critically and give your valuable feedback to the Regional Office of the Federation for improvement, if any. Finally let me take this opportunity to thank you all as I complete my term in the year 2012 from the present leadership position and therefore, will not be able to present the Annual Report next year. It was a great opportunity to serve the WSCF AP region as the Chairperson and to be part of the ecumenical student community. My heartfelt thanks to all for your support and cooperation to the AP region to continue this challenging yet unique mission of young people to witness Christ in our communities, society and the world!
God bless and Terima Kasih!
Jahartap Yustin Pasaribu