Youth conference seeks to empower young people






KUCHING: The first International Youth Cultural Conference (IYCC), held in Kuching this November, aims to empower young people to be the best they can be through sharing ideas on culture and uniting people of diverse cultural background.

The conference, which will be held at Sarawak Cultural Village from Nov 28-30, expects to host around 350 youths between 18 and 25 years old from Malaysia and countries such as Japan, South Korea, Australia, Britain and America.

This joint initiative is believed to be one of the largest youth meetings ever organised via collaboration between Yayasan Perpaduan Sarawak (YPS), Sarawak Development Institute (SDI) and Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd.

According to SDI CEO Datu Aloysius Dris, events such as this are pivotal in helping youths develop an understanding of something greater than themselves.

“I believe that it will inspire participants to have a more comprehensive platform where we can nurture a greater understanding and acceptance among local youths, as well as those from other countries, of our respective cultural heritage,” he said in a press conference at Kompleks Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) yesterday.

The idea of the conference came from Sarawak Cultural Symposium organised by SDI every five years since 1988, and the encouraging response to their last one.

“There is a need to get youths more involved,” he said. “They may think that our generation is out-of-date, which is why they want change. At the same time, change is ongoing.”

There is a great need to restore harmony by narrowing the gap in communication, understanding, appreciation and ideas, he added.

“We all experience this gap, especially those of you with children,” he said. “I think if we narrow that gap, it would help a lot.”

The organisers are confident about the conference, as they believe that Sarawak has a lot to share with the world.

“Although we are seen as harmonious, living together peacefully, and working together well compared to other countries, we feel that there is room for improvement or progress.”

Participants can look forward to many exciting programmes including talks and simulations relating to understanding unity, a series of forums, a cultural night, and a cultural concert. All these will show the importance of culture to people from all over the world.

YPS secretary Mark Bonchol said the conference would feature local and international speakers with strong convictions of building better societies.

Among those who will be coming are Lauren Prince from the USA, who will be speaking on Promoting Cultural Harmony through Social Media; Jessica Gut from Switzerland, who will talk about Dialogue and Mutual Understanding based on her work experience in Libya and other countries; and Blair Daly from the USA, who will speak on the value of international education exchange in fostering cross-cultural dialogue and genuine appreciation of differences.

There are still drawing up a list of local speakers who can speak on relevant topics such as Heritage and Modernity – the Way Forward, Youth Aspirations, Cultural Unity and Harmony through Social Media, Dialogue and Mutual Understanding, Youth in Action, Sarawak Identity, Tolerance vs Understanding and Acceptance, Youth Identity and Voice, and Intermarriages.

“All these are very interesting topics which I believe will spur greater awareness and appreciation of the cultural heritage of other youths from around the world. This will help them adopt a global perspective in the way they view trends and issues that affect their day-to-day lives,” Mark added.

Since the outset, YPS has been initiating a host of events that builds on its yearlong programmes focused on building unity and harmony among youths.

Among events organised were ‘Young Professionals dialogue with the Chief Minister’, ‘Unity Talks’, and ‘Smiles of Unity Short Film Competition’.

In the run-up to the conference, there will be a series of Inter-cultural Film Screening that will travel to Miri, Sibu and Kuching. These screenings will showcase foreign cultural films as well as shortlisted entries from the Smiles of Unity Short Film Competition.

The conference is open for volunteering opportunities as conference staff.

For further information on the conference, logon or call Evelette Robin at 082-415484 or 082-416484 during office hours for registration details.


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