Asia Pacific youth meet for a dialogue in Chengdu, China

asia pacific youth

By Avalon Edward
October 10, 2016
Chengdu, PRC—The Asian Pacific Youth Dialogue was held at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC) in Chengdu, China beginning on September 20. The forum, sponsored by Perfect World, a China-based video game company, was held in order to provide a platform for discussion on topics of regional interest and a bridge to the 10th UNESCO Youth Forum in Paris next year. It was only fitting that the Asia Pacific Youth Dialogue (APYD) began on the International Day of Peace.
The three day forum was attended by 100 delegates from 46 countries in Asia and the Pacific. Each country had at least two delegates. The delegates were selected after a Call for Applications was issued via national and regional youth networks, as well as to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) online platforms.
Maverick Dores and I were fortunate enough to be selected to represent FSM.
We arrived in Chengdu, excited to meet new people, learn about the different cultures, and share ideas. The night before the official opening day, the delegates kicked off our time together with a Cultural Object Show & Tell – where each delegate had to present a cultural item and explain how it relates to youth dialogue. I spoke about the significance of lapwkopwou and kol as Maverick modeled the cultural objects.


Aside from the many speeches given by selected presenters during the plenary sessions – the delegates were asked to participate in different discussions on themes we mostly related to or were interested in.
Topics included:
Culture in promoting positive peace
Promoting positive peace in a digital era
Gender-based violence, respect for human rights and harmonious societies
Climate Change
Combatting Extremism
Social Development.

After the morning thematic workshops – we had sub-regional discussions in the afternoon on the various themes and drafted recommendations that were to be submitted to UNESCO, who will then send the recommendations to inter-governmental bodies and heads of state. The recommendations submitted by the Pacific Islands 5 Key Thematic Foci follows:
We, the Youth Ambassadors from 8 Pacific countries including Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Aotearoa -New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga, at the Asia Pacific Youth Dialogue (APYD) in Chengdu China, 20th-23rd September, 2016 call upon:
Investing in Youth; Strengthening Action and Implementation
UNESCO member states to work with National Youth Councils across the Pacific to ensure fair and proportionate representation of males, females, transgender and other marginalized youth groups. This will help to facilitate more equitable outcomes through increasing the visibility of the needs and aspirations of a diversity of youth.

asia pacific youth 02
UNESCO member states to work with National Youth Councils across the Pacific to ensure fair and proportionate representation of males, females, transgender and other marginalized youth groups. This will help to facilitate more equitable outcomes through increasing the visibility of the needs and aspirations of a diversity of youth.
UNESCO member states to support youth-led movements for self-determination in the Pacific, enabling youth to greater contribute to defining the priorities of their nation.
UNESCO member states to further invest in entrepreneurship training for young cultural practitioners. This will aid in empowering the creative capacity of Pacific youth through a deeper immersion in their culture whilst also contributing to more sustainable, innovative, people centered economies.
UNESCO member states to further invest in entrepreneurship training for young cultural practitioners. This will aid in empowering the creative capacity of Pacific youth through a deeper immersion in their culture whilst also contributing to more sustainable, innovative, people-centered economies.

Strengthening Intercultural Dialogue and Regional Relationship Building
UNESCO member states to prioritize the preservation of indigenous cultures within national school curriculum as a means to promote a more holistic education system, enhancing intercultural understanding and the preservation of cultural traditions across the Pacific.
UNESCO member states to facilitate more action-based exchanges between Pacific Island states. This will contribute to the preservation of indigenous knowledge and the strengthening of regional relationships through increased intercultural dialogue, particularly around issues affecting youth.

Investing in Health, Cultural Wellbeing and Celebration of Diversity
UNESCO member states to provide greater investment in health and support services for Pacific youth, particularly those addressing mental health. This investment should focus on holistic services which take into consideration the diversity of factors impacting youth health and cultural well-being.
UNESCO member states to make greater efforts to develop supportive environments for its gender and sexuality diverse communities. These initiatives should also facilitate greater understanding and celebration of the diversities in and amongst these broader groupings (LGBTI, MVPFAFF).
UNESCO member states to provide further investment in empowering the creative capacity of young people within the Pacific region through cultural, sporting, artistic and entrepreneurial pursuits such as participatory video-making, as a means to mobilize youth around violence prevention and its linkage with breaking down binary gender norms. Engaging youth through these innovative outlets will help to increase awareness around gender education, conflict resolution and the building of positive peace.

Action on Climate Change
UNESCO member states to provide greater investment in engaging Pacific youth in the integration of indigenous knowledge and scientific knowledge around issues such as climate change. This intercultural and intergenerational knowledge-sharing should take place through facilitated action-based exchanges, internships and investment in social enterprise initiatives, mobilizing a youth-centered approach to enhancing capacity-building around climate change and environmental sustainability.
• UNESCO member states to urge Australia and New Zealand to implement resettlement and displacement policies for Pacific peoples displaced by climate change. These policies should include a climate change refugee quota for small island developing states most threatened by the impacts of climate change.
• • UNESCO member states to conduct a stock take on existing climate change agreements in the Pacific such as the Small Islands Developing States Modalities of Action (S.A.M.O.A) Pathway, the outcome statement of the Third United Nations Small Island Developing States Conference (UN-SIDS) 2014, and the Pacific Climate Treaty. This will enable further recommendations to be made around the implementation and domestication of stated goals and aspirations, with a focus on greater accountability and action.
Communication and Responsible Journalism
UNESCO member states to provide greater investment in the telecommunications sector to ensure that affordable, reliable and accessible internet is available to all countries within the Pacific. This will enhance education and vocational opportunities, particularly for Pacific youth.
UNESCO member states to support youth-led movements for responsible journalism across the Pacific. This will foster greater accountability and awareness around issues of particular concern to youth.

I don’t think I realized the enormity of the event until after a couple of Pacific Islanders and I discovered that there were over 7,000 applications submitted for this forum but that only 100 delegates were selected. Mind you, a majority of these applicants were most likely from the Asian countries but it was still an impressive feat that one of our Fijian brothers told us to take pride in.
I spent four days in China which was not enough time to talk to everyone and to learn their names. In fact, on the third day, I confessed to my roommate, Ms. Archana Reddy from Fiji that I had no idea what her name was and that I referred to her as the “girl from Fiji” when anyone would ask who I was rooming with. This was a familiar song as most of us called each other, not by our first names but the names of our respective countries. Four days may have been short but it was enough for me to make lifelong friends and to create great memories, to learn from like-minded youth from different countries across Asia Pacific, and to reaffirm that the problems that we face in the FSM are not that different from what other countries face.
I share my experience because I know there are youth members out there who are wanting to get more involved and be a part of the dialogue that is happening. We are blessed (and cursed) as we live in an era that has made information instantaneous. I encourage the youth to take advantage of it! Feed your curiosity, educate yourself. Be aware of what is going around the world and take ownership of whatever it is you would like to explore. As Ms. Tanzila Khan, a 25 year old youth activist/ entrepreneur/author from Pakistan said, “It is only when we take ownership of each other’s problems and hold each other accountable that we be able to create a more peaceful world.”
Pohnpei Youth Council is hosting an award ceremony for its competition on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on October 24 at COM Gym. Everyone is invited! And if you haven’t, I encourage you to ‘like’ Pohnpei Youth Council’s page on Facebook where you will be updated on events happening on island and opportunities happening abroad.

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