Malaysians find common ground in noble aspirations
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Up to 18 faith-based and youth organizations gathered earlier this month, together with a member of the Malaysian Parliament, for a conference on the critical role of youth in the development of Malaysian society.
Organized by the Baha'i community of Malaysia, the event hosted over a hundred representatives for a series of plenary talks and roundtable discussions on the subject. Attendees shared experiences working in diverse settings at the grassroots and drew up lines of action to take to their communities.
"Appreciating the capacities of young people for the constructive development of our society is a matter of tremendous importance at this juncture of history, in Malaysia and around the world," explained Omna Sreeni Ong, the Malaysian Baha'i community's Director of External Affairs and one of the organizers of the event.
Addressing the participants, Malaysian Member of Parliament, Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Kurup, stated:
"I hope your active participation in this discourse will enhance your qualities, attitudes, and abilities to reflect on the role of youth in community-building and ways in which you can contribute further towards the betterment of society," he said, addressing the conference.
"You will need to break with past traditions and practices and set a true path of fellowship and accompaniment in serving one another in your communities."
"No longer can youth be seen merely as the sign of a hopeful future," said Vidya Subramaniam, representing the Baha'i community of Malaysia, commenting on the integral part youth must play in the life of society. "The time has come for us to see ourselves as vital protagonists."
"The scene was striking," said Mrs. Sreeni-Ong, reflecting on the depth of the dialogue and the diversity of the representatives at the conference.
"The dynamism of the participants was surpassed only by the sense of harmony and peace that pervaded the event."