A Learning Reflection of Asia Pacific Council 2017 by Jenny Toppo

An international student camp was held in Bangalore, India. Student representatives were present in this camp and I had opportunity to meet and interact closely with the students and activists from other countries.

                       It was imperative that students from all parts of Asian countries participated actively in all relevant of decision- making process because it affects their lives today and has implications for their futures. In addition to their intellectual contribution and their ability to mobilize support, they brought unique perspectives that need to be taken into account.

            From group activities I learnt that the environmental problems in other countries are no less than ours. Strengthening the participation of youth in environmental protection is partly a matter of increasing opportunities in governmental organisation, established NGOs and restoration projects; partly a matter of student themselves devising new forms of action, as the preceding example of innovative activism made clear; and partly question  of more effective environmental education and media presentation of environmental issues.

                The cultural night was very enjoyable as we saw each other’s colourful culture, their costumes etc. All the sessions of the camp were interrelated and did justice to the theme of the camp. It has been argued that a focus on the global environment is important because it helps to control for displacement across place. However, global aggregates obscure important local variations, which are substantial. Both environmental well-being and environmental stress are distributed unequally across globe, meaning that issues of distributive justice intersect with environmental concerns.

                  After all this deep study about the camp thing which bothers me is, why has environmental education so far failed to deliver the anticipated benefits? Part of the reason may lie in the kind of education delivered. According to my thought the real problem may not lie in the kind of environmental education being promoted, but rather in the difficulty involved in translating the environmental values commitments into action of any kind, be it terms of lifestyle adjustments or political activism. If so, the right kind of environmental education may not be enough to make much difference.

                       It’s around the time of the year that my mind feels most like a cool deep lake, a place where there is plenty of sustenance and the clarity is remarkably inviting. I say this because I had distinct pleasure to attend the Asia Pacific Council camp and I can’t even express the words of appreciation and admiration I have for this camp. I have feebly attempted to explain my thoughts. I have written this in hope that when I am old and grey, my memory of camp will never fade…….

Visit to IMCS Nepal

Mr. Ruki Fernando, lay chaplain of IMCS Asia Pacific paid visit to IMCS Nepal and conducted a half day orientation as well as interaction session for the members of IMCS Nepal. Orientation was mainly focused on Spirituality and Identity of IMCS. Ten members actively participated and benefited a lot from the program.

Mr. Ruki explained on the history, role and structure of IMCS. He also provided opportunity for us to discus about issues pertaining to students and church in which he divided us into two groups for the discussion. Each group were given a topic to discuss and then from the group discussion, we presented the issues in regards to the students and church in Nepal to the whole group. From the issues presented Mr Ruki, gave us various ideas on how to tackle it. Since, being newly formed group, he said that working on these issues can be the road map to move forward for the group.

From these sessions, we got clear perspective and vision about being IMCS member and the role we have to perform. We came to realization that the spirituality and the action should go hand in hand and he told us to explore ourselves with discussion and debates. Mr. Ruki used parables from Bible and clarified about the spirituality and made us aware about our responsibility towards students, church and society.

Probably this program was the first where we discussed about the issues, as compared before where we were only limited with mass. Everyone got opportunity to put their views which made us to know each other very well and know capacity of our group. This program gave us the “We” feeling.

Ecological Conversation – All Gujarat Students Development Movement, india

An Ecology Camp was organized by the A.G.S.D.M (All Gujarat Students Development Movement) at Ashadeep – Human Development Centre, Vallabh Vidyanagar Gujarat on Sunday 23rd July, 2017. Trupti, Priyal, Nikunj, Ketan and Ratnadeep were mainly responsible for organizing the camp as a follow up  of the International Environmental  Workshop, “Laudato Si in Action”, which they five attended at Indian Social Institute Bangalore.  The first activity was the registration done by the youth.

The camp began seeking the blessings of the Almighty. Ketan shared some information on ‘Food sovereignty’. The points he raised was on how the farmer was getting less procurement price for his produce.  This phenomenon leads to frustration among the farmers who had taken huge loans and were unable to repay those loans leading to suicides. He also explained to the group that the amount paid for the food we buy from the market is proportionally much greater than the actual price. By providing examples Ketan’s message was well received by all.  Finally, it meant that the poor are the most affected.  This led to interactions among the participants,

Trupti Parmar spoke about ‘Global Warming’.  She dwelt upon how people were polluting the land, air and water. This is something we have experienced as we have seen this around us. There is an excessive use of Plastic which has replaced paper and cloth bags. The misuse of polluting vehicles has choked up the cities. Many trees have been cut down to broaden the highways. This has harmed our environment.

Ratnadeep Macwana explained about ‘Climate Change’.  He interacted with the youth and made his talk interesting. He spoke about ‘Laudata Si’ the Holy Father’s encyclical which was appreciated worldwide. Pope Francis had through his book had given a clear message that God created the nature and human beings alike. We as his creation ought to preserve and save Our Common Home (Earth). We as human being are responsible for what we are experiencing today. Through the discussions the participants were made aware that they are equally responsible in nurturing Mother Earth. It was due to our lack of interest and irresponsibility that we are feeling the effects of Global warming.  There are many organizations who are involved not only in organizing tree planting programs but are challenging those forces that are actually indulging in harmful activities resulting in creating damage not only to nature but to the all of humankind.

After a short break time, a few participants shared their experiences through which they expressed their desire that the youth get more involved in showing their concern and taking care of the environment.  One of them spoke about air pollution and the hazards it poses on our health.

We also conducted two activities in which the youth wrote and drew some beautiful and inspiring messages and on the need to nurture and save the environment.

We then had the tree plantation ceremony in the open plot. We planted around ten saplings mainly medicinal plants.

The team strongly felt that the outcome of our experience at Bangalore led us to organize the one day camp, with the aim of imparting information and creating awareness among the youth, on the dire need of caring and nurturing Mother Earth.

 

 

 

Yahweh! the God of Indigenous

By Sana Mariam

“Sana Mariam, is a graduate in Social and Cultural Studies from University of the Punjab. She is a former member from IMCS Pakistan. Through this article she’s sharing her experience of spirituality of Indigenous people of Philippines.”

The mighty, the creator, the provider, the healer, all of these characteristics belongs of the God All things were made to glorify Him. The trees the mountains the lake all things are filled with Gods spirits. Each passing moment they are praising and glorifying Him. Living experience with Indigenous (AETA community) from 12 June to 25th June is a close encounter with God and His people. Experiencing” Yahweh” in all his majestic power. There, I felt a deep conversion inside me. Where my all fears turn into strength, my worries into victory, My anxieties into amusements. Climbing the mountain is a life living reflection in itself already. Some time we walk under the sun very happily without knowing the miseries of life on the way because it seems so beautiful from afar. When we start walking then we realize its tiring and it’s not that easy there are ups and downs. We stop in the journey of life, take a rest, sometimes we continue walking even though its hard.Sometimes we need a hand to push us up, sometimes even cry and think to give up. That time kind word from a companion can boost up the energies and make you continue and not to forget the mission and purpose of life.

We the so called Literary “literate world” claims all the intelligence and knowledge belong to us. The small world of indigenous peoples still holds the treasure of wisdom simplicity though mystical in nature. The beliefs in the spirit in that’s all the spirits are sacred and everything has a spirit is a way of respecting life (the breath of life from GOD)whereas this respect brings a question mark for the oneness of the GOD for the modern religion. Wherein the book of Genesis supports the idea where God sees everything and he said its good. Everything is good because it is filled with his spirit. God’s spirit is within all the creation therefore they are all sacred and must be respected with love and reverence. Therefore Pope Francis in His encyclical Laudato Si’ calls our attention toward the Care for creation where all things magnify God’s Holy name. Consequently I find nothing that can challenge the oneness of God. If we give respect to the water, the trees the mountains, the wind and mother earth. Actually they are all life giver. Without air there will be no life, without water there will be no life, without mother earth where shall human kind stand where we will grow and what will we eat. We just need to accept their presence that is essential for us.

I found the mightiness of God. The infiniteness of God. Owns the beauty of all of it. The indigenous peoples are the one holding the wisdom of God in all His purity and simplicity, All the majestic power. I find myself so limited. My teachings were God stay/live just in the defined places like churches and the blessed sacraments. Indigenous peoples experience God everywhere. Even in the simple Umpukan (group of people sitting together). Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.Due to our busy life we are forgetting those values, whereas those values are still being practiced by indigenous people.

They are still keeping their values of being together. They are still sharing the cup of joy which reminds me the breaking of bread and communion everyday. Which bring community together. Being a city girl at first it was hard to understand that I was surrounded by the ancestor’s spirit, living in the 21st century one could say its useless to talk about that Moreover: the stories being taught to us through horror movies and dramas, where spirits are bad, they take revenge and disturb Us but knowing all those facts I felt a sense of security among them. Sense of protection, guidance knowing some objects specifically represents those spirits. I was not afraid my faith grew deeper and deeper. I experience sitting under the trees which was specifically residence of ancestral spirits and they did guide our discussion. There I learnt the culture of Respect.

Visiting Mount Pinatubo The sacred mountain where the Apo Namalyari (Creator-God of the Aeta) resides the experience is very challenging to put into words. It cannot describe in words where someone find oneself so small under the majesty of God. The breeze over the deep blue water and the mighty mountains automatically brings me to the prayer mode when I want to praise and worship God, the vastness of the nature is so clear though deep that I want to be lost and be one with nature in her immense beauty. What If I die today and God ask me; how was Heaven?The beauty of the deep blue wavy sea surrounded by the majestic mountains towering into the blue sky bring me to the depth of the Mighty One where God dwell with all divine majesty and beauty and where frail humans like me can dive deep down in himself consequently finding inner peace.

We become so private nowadays so much so that everyone has created her/his own God. And religion is just trying to impose over other religion. This is my God and these are God’s characteristics.Moreover my God/Religion is more powerful than yours. At least among the Aeta’s they are practicing the universal God that is everywhere. The rituals and practices being practiced since centuries immemorial have been transforming of the “civilized” cultures, with the same sense of reverence of the spirits that makes the Aeta community unique. The uniqueness stands out first of all in the rituals of praying with songs and dancing around the fire, and second, the (Umpukan) brings about the strong community spirits among the Aeta. Caring for each one in the community adds life to the community. Respecting nature, the trees and the fire flies, mother earth, the sun the moon, the stars, the rain, the wind, the thunderstorm are part of their daily lives as they acknowledge the Spirit’s strong presence with them and in a way nature is also communicating with them. Therefore, the Aeta’s culture is respect and reverence of nature which they learn from their elders by communicating with the nature and they continue to experience the rhythm, sacredness, depth and limitation of the land and the mountains, the streams, the deep blue lake, the forests, the moon, sun, the stars, the milky ways and galaxies.

Unfortunately, I found myself so selfish and limited.The community is practicing great values like respecting elders, women and children. And having code of conduct of how to stay together since the time immemorial.

They do have female kapitan/village head. Where my religion my teaching teaches me only my God and my salvation, where in Indigenous Believes in communion, they stay and practice communion. Where there is great love and respect for the women. Which make me thinks and rethink A community practitioner of such a kind values. How comes followers of other than God. I can sense a strong sense of Merciful Father, the protecting brother and the guiding spirit as Holy spirit. Where the whole concept of Trinity meet.

Unfortunately,the Government of Philippines under the tourism department open this sacred place for tourism. Where people are not given proper orientation how to pay respect to this sacred Place. Secondly The Indigenous Peoples are losing their land because of some political interests and of course the money which serves as a “God/Idol” for some. Through the given exposure I wish and pray for Indigenous peoples for their strong hold on their ancestral land where they can live dignified life. Moreover, I hope and wish that they can grow in their faith in Apo Namalyari, the ninunu and anito through the gospel of creation and umpukan.

At the end I want to make a request to all the readers to pay respect if you are visiting those sacred places because God Is everywhere and you never know when will you encounter God and when God will encounter you.

Youth Alternatives – “Care for our Common Home – 2017” Competition

STL Competition 2017 edited 18 July 2017-resized v5 FSchool Transformative Leadership (STL)

Presents

Youth Alternatives- “Care for our Common Home – 2017” Competition

 

  1. International Movement of Catholic Students – Asia Pacific

International Movement of Catholic Students – Pax Romana is a Catholic faith based movement that works with university and tertiary education students across the world. Founded in 1921, under the name Pax-Romana, in order to promote peace at a global level and then established the Asia Pacific coordination in 1954. IMCS promotes the holistic formation of students by involving them in social action, representation and community building. It links together over 80 national federations of university students. In the Asia Pacific region, under 4 sub regions (South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia and Pacific) there are 10 member national organizations and 6 contact groups.

As a movement, we believe in ‘investing’ in students as ‘social capital.’ The holistic formation of students contributes in the long term construction of civil society. As a Catholic faith based movement IMCS is not ‘literalist’ or fundamentalist. It promotes peace building, social cohesion and respectful interreligious dialogue.

  1. The School of Transformative Leadership (STL)

The School of Transformative Leadership (STL) aims at creating an Asia Pacific pool of Young Leaders committed to the transformation of global society in the aspects of political, economical and socio-cultural. STL is designed in 4 parts to reach to above said goal (Research, Social Immersion, Skill building & Application of learning).

  1. About “Youth AlternativesCare for our Common Home 2017”. Competition

One of the biggest challenges of our times is that there is a huge deficit of Critical Thinking and Emotional Intelligence in skillful analyzing, assessing and reconstructing the thinking process together with personal and social competence.  IMCS Asia Pacific has been committed to address this creatively through the School of Transformative Leadership (STL) and has decided to conduct the “Youth Alternatives” competition under STL annually. As a concrete step, STL proudly presents, “Youth AlternativesCare for our Common Home 2017” competition.

 This competition is enabling an environment for the young people to be creative, to express,  to give the ability to relate well, to lead with empathy and to have effective communication and problem-solving abilities, as well a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and socio-ecocentrism.

With this, the competition is in a way is to break the culture which have been normalised by a continuation of ignorance and silence in the society and create a voice against inequality, discrimination, marginalization, exploitation of environment and people which is done systematically by some sectors of the society to any particular communities or environment.

This is an Asia Pacific Competition for tertiary students daring them to critically think on Climate Change and express creatively. Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment. Almost in every natural disaster it has been evident that climate change is real and can no longer be denied. And with the recent Encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato si. This document also talks very much of the Sustainable Development Goal and with all other recent development in  United Nation on Climate Change,  IMCS have taken up Climate Change as thematic area to work on for three years. IMCS AP recently conducted Study session under the theme of “Laudato si in Action: Addressing Ecological Crisis in Asia Pacific – Capacity building of Asia Pacific Students to be critical and analytical educators and advocates of Environmental Justice”. And as a follow-up activity, to engage the students to apply their learnings, analysis and reflection further to take up actions as a educators and advocates in concrete manner in their own locality.

  1. Details of the competition:
  Topics (In the context of environmental justice and climate change)
1. Urbanization and Redevelopment- What are the alternative models of development
2. Impact of industrialization on marine life and resources
3. Climate change and its implication on people’s migration
4. Land grabbing  and Extractive Industries-It’s Impact on Communities and The Environment
5. Children in Hazardous Workplace
6. Effects of Climate Change on Women
7. Impact of Climate Change on Marginalised  Community
8. Governance and Democracy- Who has the real power, Politicians or Corporations
9. Air and water pollution’s impact on health
10. Sustainable Farming and Food Sovereignty – Why it is important for the planet

* Multi-Lingual (In your Local Language with English Translation)

You may choose any of the topics presented by using any of this medium/segment below. For each topic you can only use one medium.

Essay Painting Photography Poetry Cartooning Story Writing Social Song Stand-up Comedy Poster Short Video

 

  1. Prize: (3 winners in each segment irrespective of the language)
  • The winners under each competition shall receive a certificate from IMCS Asia Pacific – School of Transformative Leadership (STL) and winning segments will be exhibited in IMCS website and in publications.
  • Winners will get fully sponsored (travel, accommodation…etc) invitations to participate in the IMCS AP – SLT Immersion and Training programme to be held in The Philippines in January 2018.
  1. Terms:
  • Entry is free
  • One person can apply only for a one category.
  • All events are solo and multi-lingual (with duly translated English script of your work)
  • The competition is open to IMCS members between age 17 to 30 only.
  • Each National Movement/Contact Group can send up to 10 entries for a one category. (Will be taken into consideration under 1st sent 1st taken basis.)
  • Content should be Critical, Non-Religious, Non-Romanticized, Non-Abusive.
  • All events will be judged on Originality, Content, Theme & Creative presentation.
  • Results will be announced on 10th October 2017.
  • Each entry must be original in concept, design, and execution and may not violate any copyright laws; off topic discussions shall be disqualified and strictly no plagiarism is allowed.
  • IMCS AP – SLT shall use the content once submitted
  • Entrants will be deemed to have accepted these rules and to agree to be bound by them when entering the competitions.
  1. Segment Guidelines:
Guidelines  Submission
ESSAY

●                 Essay can be in your Local Language with English Translation

●                 Should have a minimum of 1000 words & a maximum of 2000 words.

●                 No image or artwork should be used.

E-Mail us the Typed Essay in PDF Format
PAINTING

●                 Artwork should be two dimensional

●                 Each artwork should be no larger than A3 (16.55 x 11.69 inches)

●                 Any type of paint can be used (oil, acrylics, watercolour, etc.), no crayons or colour pencil should be used.

E-Mail us the scanned copy of your painting in PDF format

 

PHOTOGRAPHY

●                 One photograph submission per participant is allowed

●                 Hard Copy photograph submission must be in matte and 4in x 6in in size

●                 Digital manipulation of the images will not be allowed.

●                 All submitted soft copy images must be less than 10MB in size.

E-Mail us the Photograph
POETRY WRITING

●                 Poem can be in your Local Language with English Translation

●                 The poem must have titles and contain minimum of 10 lines.

E-Mail us the Typed Poem in PDF Format
CARTOONING

●                 Size of the submission should be A4

●                 Submissions may include different sizes of cartoon – Single panel, strip or a two-tier strip

●                 The text can be in your Local Language with English Translation

E-Mail us the scanned copy of your Cartoon in PDF format

 

STORY WRITING

●                 Story can be in your Local Language with English Translation

●                 Should have maximum of 1000 words.

●                 No image or artwork should be used.

E-Mail us the Typed story in PDF Format
SOCIAL SONG

●                 Song should be contestant’s original work, may have multiple co-writers but only one name will be considered.

●                 Song can be in your Local Language with English Translation

●                 Time limit for the performance is 4+1 minutes

●                 Only non-electric instruments are allowed.

E-mail/Upload the recorded Song in the google drive and share it to this email: imcsap.stl@gmail.com

 

 

STAND UP COMEDY

●                 Submit recorded

●                 Time limit is 5+1 minutes

●                 Content should be contestant’s original work, may have multiple co-writers but only one name will be considered.

E-mail or Upload the recorded Performance in the google drive and share it to this email: imcsap.stl@gmail.com

 

POSTER

●                 No computer graphics are allowed.

●                 Each poster should be in A1 size

E-mail us the copy of the poster in pdf format
Short Video

·        Video should be contestant’s original work, work can be in a team people but only one name will be considered.

·        Time limit is 2+1 minutes

·        No copyright violation if any other video clip used in the production  in the case of necessity

E-mail/Upload the Short video @ google doc and share it to this email: imcsap.stl@gmail.com

 

  1. Submission Form
Full Name  
Date of Birth (Please attach your ID Proof)  
Contact Details (Email, Phone Number…etc)  
Passport Number (Not compulsory)  
Address  
National Movement  
Segment/Category (Video, Essay, Poems….etc.)  
Topic (From above mentioned 10 topics)  
Title of Your Artwork  
Submission Date  

Submissions up to August 26, 2017

 Send your Submissions to: imcsap.stl@gmail.com

 For more Information: Email: paxromanaimcsap@gmail.com

Other reference: http://iefworld.org/ddahl15d

To download this competition details and form, please click this School of Transformative Leadership-Youth Alternatives 2017-final5 july17