22nd Asia Pacific Youth Conference (APYC)
Bandung 6-14 August 2016
'Youth for Change: Ethical Leadership and Trust Building toward Inclusive Global Society'
The 22nd Asia Pacific Youth Conference (APYC) was held in Bandung, conducted by Initiatives of Change (IofC) Indonesia. This conference was attended by 90 young people from 13 different countries and backgrounds. On the opening night, Yudi Septiawan, the chairperson of APYC, welcomed all participants and thanked all faculty members for their hard work and contributions to make this prestigious conference happen and expressed his gratitude to IofC in the Asia Pacific Region, all donors, and all individuals who supported this conference.
In giving the key note speech, Irakli Khodeli, the head of Social Human Science Unit at UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) stated that APYC is a space for youth to build networking, share with incredible diversity, address social issues in each country and region, and take real actions as the young generation. As a Caux Scholar in 2000 with Initiatives of Change in Switzerland, he had developed a commitment to be a changemaker himself. He said youth have a big role in creating peace because they are critical thinkers, changemakers, innovators, communicators, and leaders.
The participants were divided into family groups so that everyone had a chance to get to know people from different backgrounds, share their life stories, and listen to each other. Each family group was led by a main facilitator who enabled each member to listen, share their thoughts and take care of each member as well. The participants also learnt about Quiet Times: a time to be still, examine life choices and do self-discovery. Through the Quiet Time, we listen to our inner voice and thoughts. The singing team sang a song, Friends we haven’t met: ‘There are no strangers in the world, only friends we haven’t met.’
Miftahul Huda, member of Asia Pacific Coordination Group (APCG), said that IofC is a global family from different backgrounds and demonstrates that if we want to see global change, we need to start with ourselves. Dr Agus Mulyana presented on Youth for Change: Ethics, Integrity, and You. He said that we can take initiatives to change by starting within each individual. The motto of Indonesia is Unity in Diversity especially religions. Inayah Wahid, the founder of Positive Movement Indonesia delivered a presentation about Pursuit of Happiness to Create Change. As the youngest child of the former of President of Indonesia, Abdurahman Wahid, she realized that she could take responsibility in creating change for Indonesia.
During the conference, there were six workshops on the themes of: Leading Change for a Sustainable World, Women Creators of Peace (CoP), Conflict Resolution and Global Citizenship, Creative Recycling, Sensitivity Training, and Music, Movement and Art Playshop. Each participant chose one to join. Kexin Lim, Singaporean activist, shared about her life story. ‘Many of us look into the mirror but we do not see.’ We tend to excuse not doing certain activity instead of appreciating the time given to us. She said life is not only about choice but also how we have balance within our choices and give our full hearts to the things we are doing. In the end, she stated that you can be anyone who you want to be when you believe in your decision.
Nandor Lim, founder of Akasha Foundation Malaysia, shared about how his parents divorced when he was 12 years old. He was too young to understand the reason. He finally ran away from Malaysia and continued his study in Taiwan. He said it is easy to express what changes we want to see in the world, yet it is a big challenge to know what action to take to improve the situation. ‘I finally surrendered myself and forgave my parents for what happened in the past and I am ready to move forward to create change within myself, my family, and my country. I believe once we change, we can engage others.’
Budi Rahman Hakim, the owner of Jagat Arsy Boarding School, gave a presentation on Promoting the Wonderful Islam Indonesia. He shared about his life journey and his thoughts related to what he can do for global change. He finally took an initiative to build a boarding school based on his vision for respect for religions, science with love and care, entrepreneurship, and global-mindedness.
In Talking about Peace Session, Francine Berabose, Congolese-Australian and Barbara Lawler, Australian volunteer, shared about prejudices and stereotype issues existing in Australia starting with Barbara asking Francine 'I heard someone say in this conference that they thought of Australia as a paradise. Is that your experience as a migrant?” In a dialogue about the challenges of cultural diversity in Australia, we learnt about the history of racism starting with indigenous Australia and the slow progress of reconciliation and creating a cohesive culturally diverse society.
Irfan Amalee and Erick Lincoln, founders of Peace Generation shared about how they created peace among different religions. Irfan, a Moslem and Erick, a Christian, developed Peace Generation programmes especially for schools and young people. Erick said that if we can embrace others and the diversity, we can reduce conflicts. This can happen when we listen and respect people. Siddarth Singh, from IofC India, led a plenary session about Finding My Calling which inspired people. The participants were asked to reflect, write down, and share their talents and gifts, passions, and the world they want to see. The idea was how to bring the problem to everyone’s awareness and believe that change is possible.
Margaret, from IofC Australia, said that it was a golden opportunity for participants who come from various countries to talk with their neighbouring countries about violence, conflict, and war.
The participants were put into discussion groups: Vietnam and Cambodia, India and Afghanistan, Taiwan and The Philippines, Japan and Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia, Australia, East Timor and New Zealand. We had fruitful conversations and thought of steps that we can take. We also enjoyed an outing in one of the tourism destinations in Bandung, Floating Market Lembang, and discussed any current issues around the world, had night market, and had a cultural night performance.
On the last day of the conference, we started by having quiet time with the inputs: What is my calling? and What is my first step towards my calling? The participants shared their action plans to create change and looked forward to building friendship and taking real action in which we made commitments for our own lives, family and surroundings to make a better world. We believe each of us can take part in creating inspired and needed changes.