BJ at the ISF

This year’s International Solidarity Forum, which was held at the United Nations in New York, engaged the impossibly difficult issue of good governance, alongside with one of its main deterrents, corruption. Working with the participants to the Forum was a triad of distinguished and accomplished speakers from various fields who imparted their experiences and insights from their particular fields and contexts. The speakers were: Hakim Malik from Lebanon, former Senator Francisco Tatad from the Philippines and Kathryn Hoomkwap from Kenya.

The three speakers not only served to enhance the ISF experience in terms of imparting knowledge, but they also provided guidance as well as a framework upon which the end-product of ISF would be based. With their guidance, the delegates to ISF were able to formulate the WYA Declaration on Corruption and Good Governance, which, in essence, linked human dignity and the achievement of a person’s full potential to the need for good governance. The declaration further denounced corruption as a breach of the dignity of the human person as a member of a larger social unit. This year’s ISF was said to be unique in that it was the very first ISF where a declaration was discussed and agreed upon in its entirety despite having only had three days to discuss it.

True to the precedent that the World Youth Alliance has followed in the past, however, ISF was not an event that was solely dedicated to work related to good governance and corruption. Apart from being an event where a significant World Youth Alliance document was formulated, the International Solidarity Forum also served as a place to meet other people, and share ideas and experiences with one another. For the first time in the history of the Alliance, the Asia-Pacific region sent a sizable delegation, and as such, delegates from other regions were eager to hear from and learn from their counterparts from the WYA’s youngest region. This was reciprocated by delegates from the Asia-Pacific region. Activities outside of the working part of ISF such as eating out, watching concerts, watching movies and attending parties consequently became a significant part of the experience of attending the Forum because of the opportunities they presented for people from different backgrounds to interact with one another. ISF 2006 was therefore also unique because of the opportunities to interact with people from more regions than there were before.

One may say, then, that ISF 2006 was clearly a milestone in the history of the World Youth Alliance in that aspects about it were unique. Despite its distinctiveness, however, it was still an event that remained consistent with what the World Youth Alliance stands for. Not only did it serve as a venue wherein young people worked together to promote the dignity of the human person, it was also an event where the celebration of life took place because of the cultural activities that took place that allowed delegates to come together and just celebrate living.