Asia Youth Conferences in Asia

Aug 2012
156
Recife, Brasil
#1


Bidor Youth Conference
Malaysia | 9-11 August 2013

The youth conference in Bidor, Malaysia, opened with a rousing song that was specially composed for the occasion. The song, entitled “Bangkit lah Belia”, Bahasa Malaysia for “Arise, O Youths”, called on young people to arise and scale the heights of service to their communities, in particular by empowering those younger than themselves to contribute to the transformation of society. Many of the 400 youth present had travelled for hours to get to the conference site, on foot, in trucks, and by bus, including some from the mountaintop villages in the nearby Titiwangsa Mountains.

Since there was no adequate venue available for the expected number of participants in the rural setting of Bidor, organizers took the initiative to build, from the ground up, structures for conference sessions and lodging.This was only possible, of course, with the wholehearted support and sacrificial efforts of many of the residents of the Bidor area, in particular those of the Kampung Chang village where the conference was hosted. Children, parents, and grandparents all collaborated weeks in advance—by clearing the land, transporting materials, raising the structures, and feeding volunteers—to create befitting spaces to host such a special gathering.

Bidor, Malaysia Youth Conference - Bahá'í World News Service
 
Aug 2012
156
Recife, Brasil
#2


Ulaanbaatar Youth Conference
Mongolia | 9-11 August 2013

The rich strains of a trio playing the morin khuur, a stringed instrument traditionally made with strands of a horse’s tail, stirred the hearts of participants at the conference in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The melody and rhythm of the morin khuur evoke images of the free-spirited horses native to the grassy steppes of eastern Asia, both revered and essential to Mongolian culture, and considered symbolic of the harmony between the soul and nature.

Surrounded by immense stretches of gentle hills and open grassland under a dome of blue sky, Ulaanbaatar is considered the coldest capital city in the world, with temperatures below freezing for the majority of the year. Inhabitants cherish the short span of summer, especially the months of July and August when it is the season for celebrating and enjoying the good weather.

Over 800 youth, hailing from all corners of this vast country, chose to spend some of this precious time at the conference in that city from 9 to 11 August, eager to discuss what it means to be a young person and what their role might be in contributing to the social and spiritual advancement of their neighbourhoods and villages.

In a country that in recent years has been experiencing rapid economic growth, and where social forces encouraging self-indulgence are increasingly directed at young people, the gathering was striking for its high aims—such as learning to not only be concerned with one’s own well-being but to work with others for the welfare of all.

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia Youth Conference - Bahá'í World News Service
 
Aug 2012
156
Recife, Brasil
#3


Macau Youth Conference
Macau | 16-18 August 2013

In 17 locations on five continents, thousands of young people from over 48 countries came together on the third weekend of August to discuss the unique characteristics of the age of youth, the forces that affect them, the role youth can play in the betterment of their communities, and their responsibility towards the younger generations.

In East Asia, over 430 youth from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Macau, and Taiwan gathered in Macau where they spent three days reflecting on their part in this world-embracing endeavour. In a region so blessed with richness of culture, the gathering was indeed unique and vibrant. On meeting their peers from other countries, the Japanese group was distributing origami doves that they explained to be “symbols of peace from Japan”. The gathering, cosponsored by the Secretariat for Social Affairs & Culture in Macau, the Macau Foundation and the School of the Nations, provided the opportunity for these young people to reflect on ways they could help improve their communities and in turn assist in bringing about a more peaceful world.

Macau, Macau Youth Conference - Bahá'í World News Service
 
Aug 2012
156
Recife, Brasil
#4


Port Dickson Youth Conference
Malaysia | 16-18 August 2013

The youth conference in Port Dickson got off to a high-spirited start as participants assembled early in the morning in the auditorium of a conference hotel on the south-west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. This small scenic coastal town, normally a tropical and tranquil holiday destination, was host to 1,150 like-minded youth, gathered to explore the ways in which they can contribute their talents and energies to efforts that are conducive to the progress of their communities.

The main hall was unable to cope with the overflow of participants and many were led to a space nearby, well equipped with chairs and a live video feed. While they waited with anticipation for the programme to start, a video of the youth conferences that have been taking place around the world was shown, and the participants applauded and cheered at photos of friends from the conference in Bidor that had taken place the week before. The opening ceremony took off with youth entering the hall performing a traditional stick dance accompanied by a style of music that fused a diversity of genres. The conference theme song named "Belia Boleh" ("Youth Can") followed, and there was a devotional period with prayers and songs in English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil.

Port Dickson, Malaysia Youth Conference - Bahá'í World News Service
 
Aug 2012
156
Recife, Brasil
#5


Almaty Youth Conference
Kazakhstan | 17-19 August 2013

Almaty rests at the foot of the majestic Trans-Ili Alatau mountain range in Kazakhstan. Within view of its green slopes and snow-capped peaks, almost 300 young people from countries in central Asia, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, assembled to consult about how to contribute to the betterment of their communities. Those gathered were joined by Continental Counsellors Gloria Javid from India and Zebiniso Solieva from Kazakhstan, both participating as representatives of the Universal House of Justice.

Conversations explored how the call to arise and serve one’s community necessitates that youth collaborate and encourage one another. “The most difficult thing when you talk about the idea of the betterment of the world,” one participant said, “is that people do not believe that it can happen. It helps when we explain that if we are united, this hope can be realized.”

Almaty, Kazakhstan Youth Conference - Bahá'í World News Service
 
Aug 2012
156
Recife, Brasil
#6


Kadugannawa Youth Conference
Sri Lanka | 19-21 August 2013

“Each person gets a chance to dedicate his or her life to the betterment of society. Today the time has come for the current generation of youth to step up to the challenges of the world,” said a youth at the opening of the conference in Kadugannawa, Sri Lanka.

Reflecting Sri Lanka’s national diversity and culturally rich heritage, a traditional welcome accompanied by exhilarating drum beats and exuberant colours, was performed to formally usher in Continental Counsellors Ms. Enkhdelger Banzragch and Mr. Omid Seioshanseian, present as representatives of the Universal House of Justice, in a beautiful gesture of honour and hospitality.

Under the banner of “Spirit of Service Stimulating Purposeful Action”, the youth conference began. Inspired by the vision of Bahá’u’lláh, 800 young people from 12 localities across the island came together to consult on the ways and means of community building. The gathering was remarkable for bringing together youth from ethnic groups that have been embroiled in armed conflict for the last two decades in an environment distinguished, instead, by unity.

Kadugannawa, Sri Lanka Youth Conference - Bahá'í World News Service
 
Aug 2012
156
Recife, Brasil
#7


Seberang Perai (Sungai Siput) Youth Conference
Malaysia | 30 August - 1 September 2013

Addressing the youth of the world as “light bringers” with the aim to “raise up hope and the younger generation”, the song Gemuruh Belia with lyrics composed by a group of young people from northern Malaysia enthused the 350 participants gathered in Sungai Seput from 30 August to 1 September. Friends speaking English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil came together in this youth conference—to strengthen their common vision of how they could work with members of their communities towards progress.

Sessions began by considering the responsibility and potential of youth to contribute to the prosperity of their communities by aiding the social and spiritual development of those younger than themselves. “Young people are inherently good,” one young woman said. “The period of early adolescence is the time when we begin to investigate our reality and see the world with new eyes,” another participant said. “It is important that younger youth have positive influences in their life as they are making new choices.”

Seberang Perai (Sungai Siput), Malaysia Youth Conference - Bahá'í World News Service
 
Aug 2012
156
Recife, Brasil
#8


Bhopal Youth Conference
India | 6-8 September 2013

Bhopal, located in the heart of India, is the capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh, lying just north of the Vindhya mountain range. It is known as the city of lakes, most famous for Bada Talab and Chota Talab, two beautiful lakes that frame its edges. It was here, from 6-8 September that over 730 youth gathered from the province of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh to reflect on how they could join hands on a path of service to their communities.

The first morning began with a traditional Chhattisgarhi dance from central India to welcome the two Continental Counsellors, representing the Universal House of Justice, and a member of the National Spiritual Assembly. The venue was filled with the beautiful sounds of music and cheering as those gathered expressed their excitement and eagerness to consult together on how they could bring about constructive change in their villages and work towards a vision of prosperity illumined by the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh.

Bhopal, India Youth Conference - Bahá'í World News Service
 
Aug 2012
156
Recife, Brasil
#9


Bhubaneswar Youth Conference
India | 6-8 September 2013

Dressed in classical traditional attire, local youth performed a tribal dance along the entrance pathway, joyfully welcoming 630 of their peers to the youth conference being held in the centre of Bhubaneswar, India, the capital city of eastern province of Orissa. To accommodate everyone, large canopies of colourful fabrics had been set up on bamboo frames in the park grounds. The youth were gathered to consult on ways that they, along with rising generations could refine their characters and prepare to assume responsibility for the well-being of their neighbourhoods and towns.

Continental Counsellors Rajan Sawant and Delafruz Nassimova represented the Universal House of Justice at the conference, which took place from 6 to 8 September. Mrs. Nassimova remarked on the beautiful tribal art and the tribal dance performed by the youth, saying: “The richness of culture when imbued with the Teachings of Baha’u’llah is amazing!” She further elaborated that even dance and art, “need training, need unity, and need to be systematic”, in very similar ways to the efforts needed for community-building.

Bhubaneswar, India Youth Conference - Bahá'í World News Service
 
Aug 2012
156
Recife, Brasil
#10


Battambang Youth Conference
Cambodia | 10-12 September 2013

At the Battambang, Cambodia youth conference, held 10 – 12 September, the sounds of the Chayyam– —a traditional song performed for ceremonial occasions—could be heard, as a group of youth escorted Continental Counsellors Lee Lee Loh Ludher and Myint Zaw Oo, representing the Universal House of Justice, into the main hall of the venue. In this city, built along the Sangkae River, over 500 youth from Cambodia and Vietnam gathered to reflect on the spiritual and material progress of their communities and the ways in which they can prepare themselves for a life of service. Although the region has experienced a tumultuous period of war and conflict in its recent history, in the last decade and a half groups of youth have contributed to a community-building process inspired by the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, that is well underway in a number of villages and towns.

In the opening welcome, the Deputy Governor of Battambang, joined by members of the local and regional government, praised the efforts of the youth for their service endeavours.

After the welcome, the participants sang a song, composed for the conference:

“Welcome to all the youth that have the will to serve communities
We unite, we believe, loving peace
Loving justice, with pure hearts, we must arise to serve…
Helping all of humanity towards unity along the right path”​

In workshops, the participants discussed themes that included characteristics of the unique period of youth, the positive effect of service on spiritual and intellectual growth, and the capacity of the younger generations to contribute to social progress.

Battambang, Cambodia Youth Conference - Bahá'í World News Service
 

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