Young Asian Leaders Attend Bangkok Summit
Written by Delia Javanasundara, UPF-Thailand
Friday, August 7, 2009
Bangkok, Thailand - Nearly 500 youth from 15 Asian nations attended the second annual International Young Leaders Summit, August 7, 2009, in Bangkok, co-hosted by the Youth Federation for World Peace International, Universal Peace Federation-Asia, and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. At the inaugural session, Hon. Apirak Kosayodhin, Advisor to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, said that social harmony and reconciliation are essential for sustainable peace in Thailand and in the region.
Hon. Kosayodhin was given the outstanding executive award this year. He had been named Youth Ambassador for Peace two years ago when he was governor of Bangkok. This honor was given by the sponsoring organization, Youth Federation for World Peace.
In conclusion, he departed from his prepared speech and talked about his teenage son. As a father, his desire is for his son not only to become a good person, in terms of the development of his personal character and family bonds, but also to make a substantial contribution to his society and the world.
Mr. Jin-Soo Kim from the international office of the Youth Federation for World Peace emphasized that the purpose of the conference was to bring young leaders together from all over Asia to help build one global family of humankind — both substantially by working to fulfill the UN’s Millennium Development Goals and in spirit by breaking down barriers that have divided people for centuries.
The Regional Chair of Universal Peace Federation-Asia, Dr. Chung Sik Yong, highlighted “one of the most critical issues of our time,” which he said was, the breakdown of the family. He said it was important for youth to be educated about the importance of family values.
Dr. Yong then outlined the five basic principles of peace that UPF advocates:
- We are one human family under God.
- The highest qualities of human beings are spiritual and moral in nature.
- The family is the “school of love and peace.”
- “Living for the sake of others” enables reconciliation of the divided human family.
- Peace comes through cooperation beyond the boundaries of ethnicity, religion and nationality.
Hon. Issara Somchai, Minister of Social Development and Human Security, was represented by Mr. Kitti Samanthai, Director of Welfare Promotion, Protection and Empowerment of Vulnerable Groups at the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. He expressed appreciation for the work of the Youth Federation for World Peace and said their goals and objectives were appropriate for Thailand as well as for the global situation.
In the sessions that followed, Ms. Kallayaphorn (Jasmine) Jaruphand, the Asia Programme Associate for the UN Millennium Campaign, UNESCAP, spoke about the role of youth and in achieving the MDGs.
“The Stand Up and Take Action campaign is one of the largest global mobilization efforts,” she said. She explained that it provides a platform to engage youth and encourages common citizens to pledge their solidarity with the world’s poorest people. She then reminded the audience that only six years remain to achieve the MDGs and reduce poverty by half by 2015.
Atty. Rene Saguisag, Jr., of the Philippines called on people to become catalysts for change by looking inside themselves. “Let’s start with the man in the mirror; let’s ask him to change his ways,” he appealed.
The “Power of Ten Sen” (ten cents) was a successful, high-profile program in Malaysia that brought together institutions of government, education, national NGOs, and international NGOs to stimulate school children collect donations for children in Gaza. Although they raised US$45,000, the main point was not money, Dr. Su Thye The, Secretary General of UPF-Malaysia, told the audience. “It was about teaching children to give.”
Dr. Michael Zablan shared about the successes of programs in the Philippines that are reaching out to many provinces. Although it involves music, marching bands, media, and multi-ethnic groups, it also has a strong community service component. Dr. Zablan explained that “service is essential because love is more than words.”
A member of the Constituent Assembly from Nepal, Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, passionately described the role the Universal Peace Federation had played (and continues to play) in the on-going peace process in the land of Lord Buddha and Mt. Everest.
Speaking of the highest mountain in the world, Mr. Da Dendi Sherpa talked about being part of an expedition that reached the summit of Mt. Everest on May 20 with a banner entitled, “Mt. Everest Expedition for New Constitution and World Peace.” Mr. Sherpa, who only received a second-grade education, brought applause from the audience when he said that members of the Nepal government should also be willing to risk their lives, endure sleepless nights, and work together as a team for the sake of writing Nepal’s constitution and rebuilding their nation as a republic.
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