“The readings made a great impact on me as a woman, a Filipina, and an individual. It transformed me into someone who now knows how precious dignity is.” -Mariane, age 17, Asia-Pacific Summer Camp 2018 alumna
The World Youth Alliance’s philosophy is captured in the Certified Training Program (CTP), the collection of texts that demonstrates human dignity as the foundational value for truly prospering and flourishing societies. WYA members from around the world thrive on its challenge to live excellently. The CTP first shapes our personal mindset by providing a framework of objective truth, and secondly, it allows us to reorder our lives according to that truth; finally, as we orient our lives toward excellence, we impact our societies to be more fertile for human flourishing.
Early in my internship, my co-intern from the Philippines discussed her experience with the CTP with me. Her cultural background gave her unique insights into the CTP, especially regarding the culture of extrajudicial killings which target suspected drug users in the Philippines. I was privileged to delve further into her experiences and those of her fellow Certified Members from our Asia Pacific region, to illustrate the CTP’s impact on society.
First and foremost, the Asia Pacific youth agreed that the CTP shaped their personal outlook on the world. Mariane, from the Philippines, and Anusharan, from Nepal, agree that the CTP transformed their framework of thought by providing them with a lens of objective truth through which they process daily decisions. Secondly, the youth concurred that their CTP learning, with its framework of objective truth, guides their daily decisions so that they order their external lives according to excellence as well. While the personal aspects of formation are shared by many members from all cultures, the Asia Pacific youth brings these ideas to bear amidst the unique challenges that their own countries face.
Through their responses, the Asia Pacific youth revealed an intense energy to solve the political and social issues of their region, with a determination to form themselves into individuals who can make a difference; however, they did not always know that the integral development of the person was the basis for authentic development. A major sociopolitical issue that they described in their country is the pervasive culture of extrajudicial killings within the Philippines, fueled by anti-drug political agendas, in which suspected drug users are targeted and killed both by police and vigilante groups.
“It felt like every problem deserved a violent solution,” Mariane recounts. However, the CTP introduced her to the concept of person-centered solutions, which solve social issues by seeing people as the solution rather than as problems. Ultimately, the CTP changed her mind: “I realized that the real solutions to these problems here in my country are education, stronger family ties, and holistic self development.” Mariane’s testimony demonstrates how WYA’s foundational beliefs – the family as the fundamental unit of society, and the integral development of the person as the key to social development – came to life within her cultural experience.
Once the CTP had changed their perspective, the Asia Pacific youth responded to the CTP’s challenge to excellence by founding local WYA chapters, embarking on WYA internships, and approaching social problems in a new and vibrant way.
Though initially intimidated by the CTP’s length and complexity, these members of the Asia Pacific region now call the readings “life changing” and wish that more people would engage with them. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to hear from these extraordinary youth!
By Kathleen Mawhinney, a 2018 Batch 3 Intern from North America