by Janessa Cinco and Richelle Medenilla
On June 10 Saturday, the first day of Asian Humanism Conference returns to the Philippines with the theme “Game Changers”, hosted by Humanist Alliance Philippines (HAPI) and International Ethical Youth Organization (IHEYO). It was held at Bayleaf Hotel, Intramuros Manila.
The Asian Humanism Conference inspires the youth to be a Humanist advocate. Its main goal is to help build connections between people and humanist organizations in the region. The theme ‘Game Changers’ seek to inspire the youth to gain knowledge about Humanism.
The conference started with the message of HAPI Founder Ms. Marissa Langseth to all the participants and speakers of different nations of the said conference. Followed by conference director game changers Ms. Danielle Hill, as she explained the Asian Humanism conference. The first session started at 9am with the first speaker Mr. Xiao Chua with his topic ‘Reason, Enlightenment, and Love as the foundation of Imagining the Filipino nation’ and ended up with the 4th session with Mr. Abd Rahman – Malay Mail Online.
Ms. Danielle Erika Hill, Director for Youth affair shared her views on the successful 2017 asian humanism conference. Ms. Hill said that she was happy that people from all around the globe were able to share their experiences both positive and negative.
“This conference is a way for people who don’t wants the youth to be subjective to those unfair treatments to figure out how to get the message out, because everybody probably already has the same view, but conveying the message to the people who are not like us, that’s the challenge and its a challenge that humanist have to rise to face.” She added.
Meanwhile, Mr. Christopher Barredo gave brief explanation about the book ” From superstition to reason: A journey towards Humanism”
“How people suddenly open their eyes to religion… Contradictions with ourselves regarding how we treat other people.” Mr. Barredo said.
The four remaining sessions on the last day of the conference were divided into talks, panel discussions, workshops and breakout discussion groups. The topics that were discussed are about humanism, views on politics and religion, advocacy and culture —relevant issues that are happening in our society.
The event started with a thematic introduction about fear by Will Davidson, mental health consultant of Humanist Alliance Philippines- International followed by the speakers for the fifth session Carlos Celdran, Red Tani, and Atty. Jesus Nicardo Falcis III which they talk about changing the society through art, problems in the church and the current administration and guide to surviving dystopia. After their talks, there is a panel discussion moderated by Lucy Sambilay, Grand Chancellor of LPU Debate Society.
Sixth and seventh sessions are workshops about using comedy as a platform to overcome cultural sensitivities and mental health awareness. Speakers of the said workshops are Reggy Hasibuan from Indonesia and Jinjin Melany Heger from the Philippines, respectively.
The last three speakers for the eight-session talked about humanist advocacy and humanism in feminism and human rights. Delegates from different parts of the world were given a chance to give their insights and learning together with the speakers during breakout discussion groups.
The event ended with a video presentation of the highlights of Asian Humanism Conference 2017 and an announcement from Jason Sylvester, president of HK Atheist and Skeptics Society, that Hong Kong will be hosting the next conference in 2018.