Some 13,500 youths from diverse social backgrounds, faiths and ethnic groups came together and pledged to be the transformative source of hope in society over the weekend of 25 and 26 August 2018.
Their key objective — to co-create a harmonious and resilient society as the future generation of Singapore who will embody the Singapore spirit of never giving up, and to shape the country’s future together as one people.
Held at Our Tampines Hub, the Youth Summit event organised by the Youth Division of the Singapore Soka Association saw Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Culture, Community and Youth & Communications and Information, Ms Sim Ann, as Guest of Honour on the evening of 26 August. Among the guests present were His Excellency Mr Nimal Weeraratne, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, Ms Thitiporn Chirasawadi, Minister Counsellor of Royal Thai Embassy, leaders from the local interfaith, civic community and grassroots organisations. Some 90 youths from neighbouring regional countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand, also participated in this event.
The Youth Summit is a culmination of many activities that the Singapore Soka Association Youth Division has been planning with the community since March this year. Some of these activities include dialogues with youth on issues of concern to them, and community projects for the elderly. There have also been dialogues with youth from vulnerable backgrounds, as well as learning journeys on appreciating cultures and practices of various faith and ethnic groups as part of the SGCares’ initiatives.
Highlighting the importance of preserving Singapore’s racial and religious harmony, SMS Sim Ann said, “In our multi-racial and multi-cultural country, we need to constantly ensure that extremist and segregationist views do not take root in Singapore and harm the social cohesion which we have built over the years. This is why it is so important to bridge understanding among ethnic and religious groups from young. This will strengthen the foundation for trust and respect between diverse communities, for us to face future challenges together as one people.”
Earlier in the day, Dr Gillian Koh, Deputy Director (Research) of the Institute of Policy Studies facilitated a conversation with some 50 youths discussing on the topic “Strengthening the Unity of Our Communities, how can we make a difference?”
Over the 2-day event – the Youth Summit carrying the theme “Choose Hope ~ Embracing Diversity, Empowering Lives”, culminated in a one-hour programme of youth testimonies and cultural performances, and saw the pledging of youths to build social cohesion towards an inclusive and caring society. An exhibition of the same theme is also on display from event date till 31 August 2018.
Supporting organisations include MCCY, PAYM, Jamiyah Singapore, St Joseph’s Church Bukit Timah and the Young Sikh Association.