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Friday, May 22, 2009

World Creative Youth Forum (2009): When People Unite and Believe

A mere idea that was never taught to be possible. That was the general impression given to the World Creative Youth Forum (WCYF) way back 1998 when it was just conceived as a forum for the youth discussing on pease and sustainable development issues.

Eleven years after, the World Creative Youth Forum (WCYF) 2009 had been made possible by the more than 70 delegates and participants around 75% from the Philippines and 25% from other countries together with the hardworking and optimistic organizing committee which never in one minute halted against the many obstacles that could have prevented the event from becoming a success. WCYF 2009 is a symbol of innovation, of sacrifice, of test of values and the question of ideas turning into reality. It was a test of confidence, friendship and trust. WCYF is also a story of high hopes and some delinquencies. What is important is that the hardship and sacrifice of the people behind and within WCYF will not be in vain because it had been such a fruitful, inspiring and worthwhile journey.

The World Creative Youth Forum (WCYF) 2009 and its initiator Frederick Von-Saxe Lauenberg had not been very successful in fund raising for the event although this would not hinder fellow members of the core to pursue the event not because of him but because of the idea behind WCYF. It had been pursued because of the potential of making a difference and changing people's way of thinking and mindset.

Brotherhood of Destiny (BROOD), a neophyte, unfunded and low profile organization took on the challenge which no one had dared took way back 2007. Despite the many challenges the organization had took the cudgels of leading the way for WCYF 2009. With a team that includes Cesar Amoranto, Joseph Ramos, Andy Moran, Sheila Muescan, Mark Harem Blanquisco, Pamela Fernandez, Chrisel Ersando, Randolph Pilapil, Zabra Siwa, Ninay Verzosa and many more they hurdled from day to day thinking of every possible way in order to make the forum a success.

Support was not easy to come but upon the endorsement and initial funding of UNESCO-Jakarta Cluster there was high hopes for everyone. There were of course many pledges and promises which till the end were broken and failed to come yet support in kind were abundant. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Tourism (DOT), Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), United Nations Association of the Philippines (UNAP), Young Leaders Alliance of Rizal (YLAR), Teatr Sambisig, Inc. (TSI), Voice of the Youth Network (VOTY), World Without Wars and Without Violence, Generation Peace Network, Microventures Inc., Youth for Sustainable Development Assembly, Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment, WOW Philippines Foundation, Rotaract Club of AMA Computer University, Rotary Club of Makati-Legaspi, United Nations Youth Association of the Philippines (UNYAP), World Youth Alliance and others were among the firs one to believe and answer the call for support of WCYF.

It was later on that GMA Network, Manila Bulletin, Free Update joined as media partners and then Shangri-La Plaza and Duty Free Philippines also joined the team of those supporting the event.

We will never forget the help extended to us by Sen. Mar Roxas, he had been one of those who had really come to understand the essence and importance of Sustainable Development to the youth. He graciously supported the event and even gave the venue for Day 4 and Day 5 at Expo Centro for free.

Funding was still aloof but the team never surrendered and went into fund raising which includes the "One Life, One Earth" Green Band, the WOW Philippines CD and the frustrating last ditch effort to raise funds from the Pacquiao-Hatton Green Match. All of these efforts have one aim to make the event happen.

The screening of participants was also not simple. It involve effort from every member of the Executive Committee. There were a total of 85 applicants selected from the Philippines and 100 selected from around the world. They had contributed a modest registration fee to augment the event. The truth though is it had been very modest that it was not even enough for basic accommodation and logistics. With still high hopes at hand and in mind the journey continues.

Now it was D-Day as volunteers gathered and prepared for WCYF 2009 and participants arrived. The event unfolded and the program had been well executed except for some mishaps of course. The lack of funding had taken some toll on the smooth flow of the event as David D'Angelo, who is the event's Co-Chairperson could not be present at all times because together with his team, he must solve every bits and piece of problems that are arising. Slowly problems are being solved together with the participants offering their own help. There were those who are very generous and had given help which you could never have imagined.

In the end it was a very successful 5-day event of great learning, inspiration, experience and of course of bonding together and nights which had made new friends, new acquaintances and new networks. Whoever will say that the World Creative Youth Forum (WCYF) 2009 is a failure would be out of his mind.

Behind WCYF there might be those who are still struggling to put back life to normal as they are the ones who made sacrifices for the event but nonetheless what is important is that the goal for which everything had started had been accomplished. It will be written and remembered that nothing is impossible in making a difference... it may be harsh... it may be hard and it might be impossible... but it can be done.

To all sponsors, organizing committee, volunteers and most specially participants of the World Creative Youth Forum (WCYF) 2009 a grand congratulations. Never ever loose the basic learning of this event that the possibility of a dream starts with the sentence... "I BELIEVE!"

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