APYC 2010 Conference, Malaysia
Change, Commitment & Action –
Discovering Our Role in This Era of Globalisation
30 July - 04 August, 2010, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Report was prepared by Syahrul Azmi
Selamat Datang, the greeting that welcomed participants from 14 countries to the 16th Asia Pacific Youth Conference. The conference was held in the MBS Training & Recreation Centre situated in Kuang, Selangor 45 minutes from Kuala Lumpur.
The opening ceremony kicked off with traditional Malay welcome dances performed by school children. The event was graced by the presence of the Chairperson of IofC Malaysia, Tan Sri Dato Paduka Dr Hajjah Saleha bte Haji Mohd Ali who officiated the conference. She recounted her journey of change while studying at the London School of Economics and her time at Mountain House, Caux.
The keynote address was delivered by Anas Zubedy, a Malaysian businessman who grew up in a multi-ethnic and multicultural environment which has inspired him to practice and promote unity and a multicultural outlook. He spoke about the concept and the will to change. The night ended with a vote of thanks by Mr K. Haridas the chairperson of the conference. Participants then proceeded to their Family groups for introductions and to get to know their group members better.
The following days started with an introduction to Quiet Time. Participants were introduce to the concept and reflected on the Thoughts of the Past, the Present, Future, commitment and Action.
The session after breakfast then continued with discussions of the themes of the day as a precursor to the plenary sessions.
The plenary sessions discussed the themes "Action: Making a Difference", "Change: The First Step" and "Commitment: & Initiatives of Change & Action." The themes started first with inspiring stories of change. It then moved on to the roots of change using the 4 Absolute standards and practice of Quiet Time. The last plenary explored the reasons, commitment and sustainability of initiatives of change & actions by 3 IofC members namely Mr. Bhavesh Patel(United Kingdom), Ms. Star Parulan(Phillippines) and Mrs Tia Haridas(India & Malaysia). The sessions were presented differently each day using Interviews, Presentations, Video Presentations, Skits, Stories and Songs.
After lunch, participants then proceeded to a workshop of their choice. There were 6 workshops to choose from, Art Therapy, Body Movement, Creating Learning Communities, Family, Leadership for Youth and Music. Leadership for Youth was deemed to be very popular and was oversubscribed.
After the workshops, Family group continued as a space for sharing of stories. This provided an opportunity for people to open up to each other. Powerful stories of overcoming difficult situations and finding ways of dealing with personal pain were shared. Some shared of their decisions to take steps in improving and building trust and repair relationships with other family members. The presence of 14 countries in the conference added so many colours to the evening sessions. The Night Market was sparked by performances by the IofC Philippines's SAKADA performing troupe Pagadian City. Their dance, drama and music brought laughter and tears to the participants.
The Cultural Night showcased the beauty of each country in their culture, food and landscapes.
As part of the outing, the participants were taken to Kuala Selangor, 1-hour away from the conference venue to experience the tropical forest and mangrove reserves. They learnt about the importance of preserving the mangrove swamps as it was home to over 100 species migratory birds from as far as Africa and Europe. For dinner the participants were treated to a seafood dinner and then proceeded to Kampung Kuantan, a firefly sanctuary. The participants were taken in "sampans" which are small boats were guided by their boatman to the banks of the rivers to have a closer look at the magnificent creatures who lit up the trees like Christmas trees.
The 5th day of the conference was run using Open Space technology. The theme of the Open Space was "Change, Action & Commitment: What Now?" Participants drove discussions and let their passions lead them to discuss topics close to their hearts. Some of the topics were "Improving the Indonesia-Malaysia relationship, Change - what it means and Rights."
The closing ceremony was evocative with people speaking of their decisions to improve themselves, their families and their environment. The conference ended with the song Go, go with an answer as the participants bid farewell.