The 2nd Young Ambassadors of Peace in Asia (YAPA) 2017, a week-long training programme, was organised by the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) from 28th May to 3rd June at Payap University at Chiang Mai, Thailand.
YAPA training programme sought to facilitate the role of young people as ambassadors of change in peacebuilding processes, and to build a network of young peacebuilders in Asia bridging the missing links in promoting peace in society. The training programme consisted of interactive sessions on non-violence and peace with justice through theological foundations of peace from various religious perspectives, skill development to peace implementation programmes at the grassroots level. The programme further buoyed up the young people to be peace makers not among humans alone but within the whole creation commencing from one’s own inner self.
25 young participants from various Asian countries – Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand – with representatives from the Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim communities who are committed to promoting interfaith collaboration in peacebuilding and conflict resolution participated in the programme.
During the week-long training, participants developed action plans for peacebuilding through interfaith platforms in their local communities. The participants further came out with a statement.
YAPA 2017:The Youth of Asia calls for Peace with Justice
We, the participants of Young Ambassadors of Peace in Asia (YAPA) 2017, from different countries belonging to different faiths, attended the YAPA 2017 training programme, organised by the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) at the CCA Headquarters at Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand from May 29 to June 2, 2017. During this time, we were trained in intercultural and interfaith learning as a base for addressing conflict transformation and nurturing our role as peacebuilders in our respective societies across Asia.
- We affirm that peace cannot prevail without justice to attain a dignified existence. Peace is a journey towards a relationship with God, neighbour and the whole creation in transforming and reconciling through inter-religious, interfaith and intra-faith dialogue.
- We emphasise upon celebrating diversity, we acknowledge our own differences and reaffirm inclusive communities in the household of God.
- We value inner peace, interpersonal peace, peace within communities and peace with nature as holistic approaches to peacebuilding.
- We emphasise that justice removes obstacles to peace; peace that sustains the co-relation of the whole creation where equality dwells. Equality resides across gender, class and every sector in society.
- We condemn all violations of human rights and dignity that deny the celebration of the fullness of life;
- We condemn all human rights abuses in terms of human trafficking, child labour, extra-judicial killings and sexual violence for the benefit of the few in power;
- We condemn discrimination and oppression on the basis of race, caste, class, creed, ethnicity and gender;
- We condemn the misuse of militarisation that denies the rights, security and liberty of the innocent people;
- We condemn religious intolerance and the enforcement of fundamental religious ideologies and practices against the will and consent of others.
Call For Action
As a new generation of activists committed to work for structural transformation that promotes harmony and peace based on justice in Asian communities, we call upon:
- Religious leaders and bodies to bridge the gaps in relationships across religious boundaries to foster peace with justice and religious harmony to uphold our cultural roots and ethnic identities;
- Young people and peace advocates to unlearn concepts that invite exclusions, prejudices and stereotypes, and to relearn notions that inculcate critical thinking to establish an inclusive community;
- Municipalities and corporate organisations to engage in community-based services that enhance the livelihood of the common people;
- The governments to review, revise and contextualise laws based on contemporary perspectives that are beneficial to all members of societies;
- And, every individual who believes in building peace in society to practice reconciliation. This redemptive process is the path towards valuing the good in humanity.
Youth Concerns, NCCI