CCA trains Asian youth leaders as Young Ambassadors of Peace

Posted on 17 August 2022
YAPA–2022 participants on the Payap University Campus, the venue of the programme

The week-long training programme, Young Ambassadors of Peace in Asia (YAPA), organised by the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), was held from 7 to 14 August 2022 at the CCA Headquarters, in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The focus of the YAPA–2022 was ‘Youth as Catalysts for Peace with Justice in Asia’.

Twenty-six prospective young peace activists from various faith traditions across Asia who aspire to build just, peaceful, and harmonious communities attended the training.

The interactive sessions and thematic presentations were designed to enable the young participants to take the role as positive actors and catalysts of change in peacebuilding processes, while also strengthening their engagement in peacebuilding amidst conflicts, violence, and human rights violations in Asia.

The issues and themes covered during the weeklong training included ‘Religious and Cultural Identities: The Roots of Ethnoreligious Conflicts in Asia’, ‘Peace and Reconciliation: Religious and Ethnic Intersections’, ‘Peace and Reconciliation: Communal and Geopolitical Intersections’, ‘Peacebuilding: Concepts, Principles, Framework’, ‘Conflict Mediation: Dialogue, Collaboration, and Resolution’, ‘Conflict Prevention: Early Warning and Prevention Mechanisms’, ‘Conflict Transformation: Post Conflict Trauma Healing, Reconciliation, and Rebuilding Community Trust’, ‘Non-violence: Ontological, Epistemological, and Ethical Dimensions’, ‘Non-Violence as Spirituality in Action’, Education for Peace’, ‘Organising Locally for Peacebuilding: Potentials for Civil Society Organisations’, ‘ Interfaith Perspectives on Peace and Harmony’, ‘Emerging Geopolitical Tensions in Asia: Pathways to Peacebuilding’, and ‘Ambassadors of Peacebuilding in Asia: Towards a New Culture of Peace among Asian Youth’.

Among the resource persons for YAPA–2022 were Lian Gogali (Indonesia), Dr M.P. Mathai (India), Dr Reynaldo Racaza Ty (The Philippines), Dr Le Ly (Vietnam), Venerable Dr Thippanakorn Lee (Thailand), and Dr Mathews George Chunakara, CCA General Secretary.

The visit to the Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University (MCU) Campus in Chiang Mai and the dialogue with Venerable Dr Thippanakorn Lee, of MCU, offered the participants an opportunity to learn about Buddhist principles of peace and a way of living that promotes harmony with oneself and the environment—rather than a religion.

A statement prepared by the participants and presented at the valedictory session of the programme affirmed: “We express our commitment to work for building and living in a peaceful, diverse, multilingual, and multi-religious Asia and the world. We resolve to educate ourselves with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to promote peace and be nonviolent in all approaches,  be active actors in peacebuilding in ways that prioritise community needs and perspectives and use ‘do no harm’ principles, to work for peace, justice, and inclusion of the many…”.

“We work towards a long-term process to eliminate structural violence; promote equality and justice, focus on education for peace that will encourage independent thinking, open its doors to new ideas for peace with justice, and holistically engage with dignified human beings in all their local wisdom for global peace…”, the statement continued.

YAPA is an annual programme initiated by CCA in 2016 to train young peace activists in an interfaith perspective. The YAPA–2022 was attended by young people belonging to Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu religions.

The full text of the YAPA–2022 statement prepared by the students can be found here: YAPA–2022 Students’ Declaration

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