Images of whistling water pipas, Survivor-style team building, rose-giving, and indigenous musical instruments crooning the hallways of the picturesque MM Leadership Development Center complement the program arranged by Sarah Talcott (URI Director of Youth Programs), Sharon Vaswani (YLP Steering Committee Rep for SEAPac), and Jahangir Piara (YLP Steering Committee Rep for Asia).
Youth delegates from Australia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Nepal, and the Philippines, shared stories, played games, engaged in heart listening, visioning exercises and interactive workshops, which aspire to empower the youth and inspire them to become active in grassroots communities and in building cultures of peace. The Young Leaders Program took place on April 13-15, 2010 in Antipolo City, 25 kilometers east of Manila.
After the YLP, the 12 youth delegates joined the SEAPac Trustees and new CC leaders for the SEAPac meeting with the theme “LIVING INTO THE URI VISION”. The meeting, from April15-18, aimed at deepening appreciation of URI’s vision and goals strengthen CCs in the region and plant the seeds for future growth and expansion in the region. A day-to-day rundown of activities follow:
The opening verse from the Quran, a Baha’i prayer for the youth and nose flute music welcomed the participants at the start of the SEAPac Meeting. URI’s Vision for Peace, the first topic, included a talk about the upcoming anniversary, reading of messages from Sally Mahe and Charles Gibbs, reading of the PPP and viewing of the URI story: “Saying yes to the dream – the first 10 years”.
Shakun Vaswani then presented slides about the SEAPac Region and the facilitators gave practical talks on CC Management, Teambuilding, Leadership and Resource Mobilization tips. Afterwards, the Regional Coordinator led the group in a SWOT analysis to gain insights and a better understanding of the CCs in the region.
The second day introduced the Promoting a Culture of Peace Workshops which included: Creating Safe Spaces for Interfaith Encounters, Non-violent Communications and Teambuilding and Leadership by Dr. Amir Isahak; Understanding Conflict by Dr. Moctar Matuan; Drafting of a project proposal, and; “A Peace Jam” session started by Musa Sanguila.
On Sunday morning, the youth leaders participated in the Sandiwang (Earth Day) celebrations held at the Marikina City Riverside Amphitheatre where they met the Marikina City Mayor and Chief of Police during the festivities, while the Trustees and Regional Coordinator discussed plans for the year.
The group assembled in the afternoon to share ideas for the upcoming URI celebrations – the 10th Anniversary, on June 26, and the International Day of Peace, on September 21.
Overall, the delegates provided satisfactory marks in the evaluation sheets and the aspiration to gather again in the pursuit of peace for the SEAPac Region.