Who are we?
The ALL Forum situates itself as a pan-Asian movement aimed to empower lay Catholic leaders of all Church-related NGOs and organizations, With its center on “social ministry”, it includes those working in development, including peace, justice and ecology.
- The Center for Asian Peace and Solidarity (CAPS) was established under the Woori (People’s) Theological Institute in Korea by lay persons. Dr. Paul Hwang has been director of CAPS since 2010. He has organized regularly the Asian Youth Academy (AYA)/Asian Theology Forum (AFT) since 2007 with young lay leaders working for ‘social ministries’ on a pan-Asian level. AYA/ATF is unique in its approach of combining a training workshop supported by a theological forum to deepen and broaden their perspectives, followed by implementation of an action plan. Some of these forums and papers have been published into books. There are gaps that cannot be met by any one association; and to reach a wider and deeper platform in Asia, this idea of the Asian Lay Leaders Forum gradually emerged through consultations.
- The Institute of Formation, Fondacio Asia (IFF Asia) based in Manila has been offering a holistic formation program for young Asians since 2006. Fondacio is an international lay movement and have been active in lay leaders’ formation, evangelisation & pastoral work since the 1980s’. The students at IFF Asia undergo a year-long human, spiritual, social and pastoral formation. They return to their communities and serve in diverse areas such as education, health, HIV/AIDS, indigenous peoples, youth and campus ministry, etc. One of the constant challenges they face is the lack of ministry support on the ground. As part of formation available to larger numbers, the IFF Asia Board resolved in 2013 to devolve part of its program to local Churches and assist them to start Youth Leadership and Development Centers (YLDC) locally. Alice Tan is the director of IFF Asia, and Charles Bertille is the international vice president and regional coordinator of Fondacio Asia.
- The Research and Training Center for Religio-cultural Community (RTRC), Chiangmai, is well-known for its work with the indigenous communities in northern Thailand. Fr. Niphot Thianvihan is the Director. The RTRC Association works for agricultural development and the promotion of fair trade, in order to improve the living conditions of these minorities. The RTRC includes different ethnic groups (Karen, Hmong, Lahu, Lawa, Akha…) to promote their religio-cultural exchanges. Thus, they can share their experiences and gain new knowledge that they can put into practice. The RTRC has been exploring how to support the young from these communities to have a wider exposure and formation in Asia.
- The Jesuit Centre for Indigenous Ministry (JCIM) is headed by Fr Jojo Fung, SJ. A new program designed to foster understanding of Indigenous Peoples and their culture among Christian religious and laity was formally launched in April 2015 in the Philippines. The first Asia Pacific Contextual Theology Program for Engagement Project (ACOTEP) makes use of the “pastoral spiral” recommended by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, which requires lived experiences or immersion, prayerful and critical analyses of data gathered from these experiences, discerning theological reflection, and a resulting faith response. Fr Jojo has written and lectures on indigenous spirituali He has also been the past Chaplain of the international movement of catholic students (IMCS), and has been a resource person to CAPS and IFF Asia.
- Pax Romana- International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) Asia Pacific is based in Manila, Philippines who working for empowerment and capacity building of students in tertiary or university level, in Catholic Social Teaching and human rights issues. IMCS represents Catholic students within the Church as an international association of the lay Catholic faithful with a special relationship with the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Secretariat of State of the Holy See. In Asia Pacific region, IMCS is recognize by Federation of Asian Bishop Conference, and partner of FABC Youth desk.
While CAPS and IMCS AP focuses more on urgent matters in social action fields, Fondacio Asia provides a more spirituality-based holistic formation program with young lay leaders from various ecclesial institutions. RTRC invites the other three partners to its focus on eco-spirituality coming from the very lives of indigenous peoples (IPs); and JCIM could theologize on the IPs’ lives which give the young lay workers a tool on how to contextualize various realities in their countries and regions to strengthen their Christian identity.
We intend to establish the necessary office structure in Manila, located within the Radio Veritas compound in Fairview, Quezon City. The project director will be Dr. Paul Hwang given his wide experience in organizing such theological forums. He will be supported by a project coordinator and office staff. They will be employed for the promotion, organizing and coordination of the project, with additional support staff needed especially for the duration of the annual ALL Forum event. The staff members will also have the support of a lay community and students at IFF Asia. A once-a-year partners’ board meeting will be held just after the ALL Forum to evaluate the learnings and make decisions.
ALL Forum has a concrete and well-prepared process through various and effective consultation meetings. It intends to focus more on the approach or methodology of the mission work and mutual support than actual and detailed mission activities. This is left to individual organizations to pursue.