Indigenous youth pass the torch to new leaders for international solidarity!
by the Asia Young Indigenous Peoples Network
Siem Reap, Cambodia – More than 100 Indigenous youth from 12 Asian countries convened at the 4th International Indigenous Youth Conference (IIYC) in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from October 26 to 29, 2023. The event, organized by the Asia Young Indigenous Peoples Network (AYIPN) and the Int’l Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination & Liberation (IPMSDL), in collaboration with Cambodia Indigenous Youth Association-CIYA, Land Rights Now, and Asia Indigenous Youth Platform – AIYP, aimed to strengthen solidarity among Indigenous youth organizations and communities.
Indigenous youth from 12 Asian countries gathered for the 4th International Indigenous Youth Conference
After seven years since the last IIYC, and under the theme “Passing the Torch,” the 4th IIYC welcomed a new generation of Indigenous Youth leaders poised to continue the legacy of the network. Through youth-led activities, discussions, performances, and forums, participants highlighted the rich diversity of Indigenous cultures while addressing the unique challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples in their respective countries. The conference provided a platform for participants to discuss their specific Indigenous People’s situations and propose actionable solutions for the Indigenous Lands in Indigenous Hands campaign.
The AYIPN General Assembly also upheld the theme of Passing the Torch by seeing the selection of a new Council of Leaders and Executive Council. Fourteen Indigenous youth leaders were chosen to form the Council of Leaders, and subsequently, the Executive Council was appointed. Funa-ay Claver from the Philippines was elected as the new Secretary General, and Gunjal Ikir Munda from India was elected as Chairman, ushering in a new era of Indigenous youth leadership.
As part of the conference’s efforts to share victories and experiences in environmental and land protection, attendees visited the Champen Protected Area within the Kui Indigenous community. This visit served as an opportunity to exchange indigenous knowledge on environmental protection and learn from the community’s sustainable practices, fostering cultural understanding and environmental awareness.
The 4th International Indigenous Youth Conference stands as a testament to the resilience, unity, and determination of Indigenous Youth. International solidarity among the participating communities have definitely grown stronger and bigger through the conference, and it is projected to grow bigger still in the next years to come. As the conference concludes, the torch has been passed, igniting a new chapter of empowerment, advocacy, and solidarity among Indigenous Peoples across Asia.
Participants of the 4th International Indigenous Youth Conference (IIYC)
This blog is cross-posted; original post from AYIPN can be found here.