S!NERGY International #Korea
“Youth means fire. Without the youth, there can be no hope for the future”
Now more than ever, a positive outlook towards a hopeful and positive future is essential in moving forward in our lives. Empowering the youth of today is key to ensuring society’s success tomorrow. With this in mind, IAYSP hosted a global Rally of Hope. This event took place in the World Center, South Korea with more than 120,000 youth and students watching and engaging with the program online.
The event commenced with performances and words of advice from people with experience in specific fields.
The first part of the program involved YSP holding the YSP Peace Prize Award Ceremony, which recognises and supports innovative peace projects initiated by young people.
The prize was awarded to the Cambodian singer and actor Oun Batham. Known widely by the nickname “Sai,” Batham launched the project “Run With Sai.” He has contributed tremendously for Cambodian children. He ran across 2,408 KM over ninety-nine days throughout twenty-one cities and provinces in Cambodia and raised $500,000 US dollars to support the Angkor Children’s Hospital in Siem Reap. Private citizens, government, private companies, and civil society acknowledged the project and this lead to building a collaborative relationship with UNICEF. As a result, thousands of Cambodian children who needed urgent medical care could receive the appropriate medical attention they required. Throughout this project, Batham clearly displayed his encouragement, determination, public-mindedness, and heart of living for the sake of others. Through witnessing and experiencing Batham’s actions and values, many Cambodian youth were motivated to exude similar characteristics and approaches in their own lives.
The final part of the program was deciding the winner of this year’s S!NERGY competition. With a panel of judges present, the audience also had the opportunity to actively participate by watching finalists’ presentations and casting their own votes in support of their favourite finalist.
First to present was Ms. Tatiana from Russia representing the Good Food Project. An initiative that arose from one of our peace designer workshops that combats the issue of food waste.
Secondly, Ms. Eunji Kim from Korea spoke on the UniUs Project that aims to aid the reunification of South and North Korea. She wants to challenge the negative stigma of reunification.
Similarly, the Together for Tomorrow Peace Project was presented by two half Korean, half Japanese young women. They aim to improve relations between the two countries by coordinating more events for young people with Korean-Japanese mixed nationalities.
Second place was awarded to Mr. Oscar Ruiz from Nicaragua, presenting his Arsenic Degrading Bacteria project. He explained that for him, the most pressing issue is the pollution of heavy metals. There, we can find this Arsenic degrading bacteria. He explained how this pollution has dangerous effects on our bodies and how we should do our best to clean our planet.
Finally, the first place prize was awarded to Ms. Rica B. Marfil from the Philippines. She founded Nurturing Children’s Talents (NCT) to reduce inequalities associated with disabled children. She explains, “I see hope in their disabilities, just as someone has seen hope in my vulnerabilities.” All finalists were awarded financial support for their projects.
IAYSP hopes that through engaging with these innovative solutions to issues found in today’s society, young people around the world can feel inspired with a clear determination and take the initiative in finding and acting upon resolutions for the issues they are passionate about.
IAYSP Korea had organized a total of twenty-five Peace Designer Seminars in five different cities: Seoul, Busan, Chonan, Changwon and Suwon. A total of 1,470 youth and students participated. Through lectures and shared group discussions, youth emboldened their understandings of SDGs and the steps necessary in starting projects. Furthermore, by gaining a broader appreciation for even the minute actions that contribute to SDGs, youth were motivated to more carefully consider each step in the development of their projects.
One of the projects focused on creating peaceful relationships between South Korea and Japan through youth exchange programs, and it is expanding to many young people residing in these two nations.