South Asia has possibly the largest percentage of young generation, which is likely to transition into adulthood. One-fifth of the total population of South Asia ranges between age of 15 to 24. A group of South Asian Youngsters decided to tap into the potential of youngsters of this region, and solve the problems faced by these largely ignored set of youngsters. And this led to the birth of South Asian Youth Congress in Turkey, during the 5th World Youth Congress. The theme of this coalition is mutual co-creation and peace through activities in arts and sports.
South Asian Youth Conference covers Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives. Beginning in 2011, SAYC has covered India, Pakistan, and Nepal so far, in their annual conferences. 2014 was a unique year when the conference was held online, and this year its stop would be Colombo, Sri Lanka!
There is strong focus on the gender equality and ethnic diversity while selecting participants each year for this conference. While every year has brought forth a new perspective on challenges faced by youth of these countries, it has also brought together some great initiatives by the change makers of this region, and some tangible and wonderful outcomes of the efforts through this coalition. The coalition has raised local funds for an NGO based in Islamabad, procured scholarships for girls in Afghanistan, has launched a South Asian Youth Magazine, along with a South Asia Good news radio channel. The key outcomes from annual conferences have been:- touching Kashmir through consultation, launching an E-school on religious harmony, conducting an Indo-Pak peace pilgrimage, establishing a youth-led think tank and working on translation of religious texts.
While this year SAYC opens in Sri Lanka, from 11th – 15th December 2015, you can expect lot of reflection and discussion on current situation, and several action items emerging from the workshops conducted with change makers of the society, in this part of the world. Several enriching conversations, culture appreciation sessions and equally fun-filled events await all participants in this conference, in the beautiful city of Colombo.
Stay tuned to Youthopia to read more about the experiences and key take away of participants from the conferences held in Nepal and Pakistan.