Youth with Borders 2

Manila Bulletin, May 24, 2004 | Go to article overview
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Youth with Borders 2


Byline: REA J. UY, San Beda College of Law

When I travel to a place for the first time, I usually look up the place on the net or buy books on the subject. But all the good reviews I read in books and newspapers and all the great things I heard from people who have been to Thailand did not prepare me for the beauty and grandeur of the Golden Wonderland.

YOUTH WITHOUT BORDERS PROGRAM

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has always emphasized the linkages between culture and the broader aims of human endeavor. This has been part of its core constitutional mandate of "advancing, through the educational, scientific and cultural relations of the peoples of the world, the objectives of peace and the common welfare of mankind".

In 1972, UNESCO adopted an international treaty called the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Its mission was clear: to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.

Faithful to this mission, UNESCO Club Philippines- Culture Committee, under the guidance of its then vice president, now, president- Frederick Epistola initiated the first cultural immersion in Bangkok, Thailand dubbed as Youth without Borders: Getting to Know Thailand last December 2002. Encouraged by the success of this endeavor, UNESCO Club Philippines' Culture Committee, the Student and Youth Affairs Unit of the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Special Concerns, Office of the President of the Philippines and Youth without Barriers Movement, in coordination with, the Department of Foreign Affairs- Southeast Asia Division, the Royal Thai Embassy in the Philippines, the Philippine Embassy in Thailand and the Centre for International Understanding- Thailand, had organized the cultural immersion cum cultural study tour to Thailand entitled: Youth without Borders 2 (YWB2).

This project aimed to forge partnerships in promoting sustainable development thru cultural immersion and to promote understanding of the imperatives of cultural development and preservation in the evolving global order.

PRE-DEPARTURE SEMINAR

Fifteen youth and student leaders from different universities (including University of Santo Tomas, Far Eastern University, San Beda College, Miriam College, University of the Philippines, Ateneo De Manila University, DLSU-College of Saint Benilde) and the local government (San Fernando, La Union) formed the Philippine delegation to the cultural study tour to Thailand.

The delegates attended a seminar on intercultural education in Malacanang, which was sponsored by the Student and Youth Affairs-Office of the Presidential Adviser for Special Concerns. The Honorable Phairoj Vikiniyatanee, Minister of the Royal Thai Embassy and Prof. Felipe De Leon of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts shared and former UNESCO commissioner to us each country's experience on youth empowerment by way of intercultural education.

Indeed we found much truism to what De Leon imparted to us that day when he said we cannot explore, much more appreciate, the culture of other nations without first knowing our own culture, when we set for our five day immersion in Thailand.

THE CULTURAL STUDY TOUR

The 15 of us were assisted by the Public Affairs Office of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from the time we check in at the airport to the instant we boarded TG 625- the aircraft that will take us to the Land of the Free.

At around 10:30 in the evening of April 16, we reached Bangkok and understood why it was called the City of Smiles because everywhere we look , the Thais had no other cares but to make one feel welcome in their country.

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