Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Sangam Global Gathering

30th Jan - 2nd Feb, 2019

Regional Discussion

Arriving for the second time in India, this time we (me and my husband, Rama) were picked up at the airport, by Mr. Ganesh who held the placard with our names on it. Soon after we arrived, a friend from Cambodia, Mr. Thornin also landed safely and joined us in the same car for the 6 hours trip to Panchgani. It was a cold night outside, but the conversation of updating each other between Indonesia and Cambodia fellowship, warmed the night trip.

The Sangam Global Gathering was preceded by the 4 day-conference themed Breaking Barriers and Building Trust. We arrived in Asia Plateau on the last day of the conference and caught up with the atmosphere of the gathering of the Peace Builders. Four Indonesian friends from IofC Indonesia and Peace Generation were also joining this conference.

The Sangam Global Gathering was attended by 79 participants from 37 countries. Most of the participants are the Program Directors and National Coordinators of each country within the IofC International network. At the opening, Imad Karam, the IofC International Council Executive Director led the first Quiet Time with regard to gratitude for those who made it to the gathering and sending prayers for the people who couldn’t make it. I remember I was looking around the room and could not find friends from Japan, Philippines and Timor Leste. I wish them well with life.

My first impression for the gathering was most of the participants are those who have known IofC for many-many years; a short conclusion when I saw many “silver generation” participants. There were also some people from the younger generation who have been devoted to IofC in other parts of the world. This was how the wisdom of the elderly blends with the freshness and vigor of the youth. I felt hopeful and privileged being amongst them.

The Sessions

On the first day of the gathering, we were given a chance to enlarge our vision and mission of how IofC works. We were asked to grade the IofC team in our own country, about its efficiency and “warm heartedness”. Then to envision IofC starting from our local initiatives and as a worldwide movement. Later in the afternoon, we were given space to do an expo to tell others what we’ve been doing at the local level. It was an experience to see other initiatives as well as explaining others on what we’ve done in Indonesia. At our table, we sold t-shirts as one of our fundraising methods, we also introduced the new way our center operated, how we enrolled in co-working spaces to work with other communities, while still holding the home-based secretariat in one of our friend’s homes. We also explained our partnership connection with Peace Generation and how we use their creative tools for Peace Education. These tools attracted some of the African representatives and inspire them to create such tools or to work together with us in this matter. For me, this expo was a highlight of the gathering as through this we inspire each other; it was fun!

On the second day, we were given a summary of the visions we wrote the other day, and had discussions with those who had the same visions. There were 3 visions and we were divided into 3 group discussions.

Afterwards, we shared, and one of the impressive statements for me was what Suresh Khatri uncle said repeatedly that “Building trust across the world divides” vision is too narrow to what IofC has done all these years. To him the enlarged vision of IofC is “A life changing experience”.

On the third day, the teams from Lebanon, Sweden and North East India shared what they have done in connection with the 3 main focuses of IofC: Trust Building, Sustainable Environment, and Ethical Leadership. What they shared in bridging some conflicts between communities in their country was truly inspiring.

The evening sessions were used for discussions on “How to help Caux” that is currently at the edge of a challenging time with its finances. Also to discuss the opportunity of funding on a trust-building project from IofC USA. The last evening was well-spent as a cultural night. 

Regional Discussion

To sit with Asia Pacific Coordination Group (APCG) was essential, because these are the closest resources we can easily share with. I wish to have more connections with neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Timor Leste, and Australia. Also to work real close with India with its education initiatives.

Quiet Time(s)

Each morning at 6.30, tea was served in the dining room and at 7 am, we had our Quiet Time sessions together. The caring friends, the serenity of AP has always brought QT experience to its higher level. On a personal level, this is always my favorite part although the findings within me are not always pleasant.

The Feeling of Having a Caring Global Family

The rest of the group and I left AP on Sunday, 3rd February. We headed to Mumbai and were happily hosted by Suresh Vazirani uncle and Mala aunty in their mansion on the shore of a Mumbai beach. They were in Dubai at the time we stayed, but the warmth of the house and the family will always be in our hearts.

Mudit Surana, one of our friends who stays in Mumbai, came and spent an evening going around the city and taking us to enjoy Mumbai culinary delights. We enjoyed our time until the next evening when the 4 friends had to go back home to Bandung.

Rama and I continued our journey to Kashmir, visiting some IofC friends. There were no official events, just a short visit that turned out to be the journey we were very grateful for. In Kashmir we were warmly hosted by Tahmeed’s family and managed to meet some IofC friends like Mushtaq.

The journey back home was long, but we were glad to arrive safely and felt content with all our experiences. The gathering helped me to understand IofC deeper from its roots and people who have made it into the big movement it is today. It also helps me to connect to more people and acquire different initiatives as well as inspiring each other. Going back to my team back in Indonesia, I hope to pass on the energy I absorbed in AP, then we will do our best to be the answer to the world while taking care of our own selves.

We thank everyone who made this trip happened, IofC international, the organizing team, Asia Plateau and my local Indonesian Team.

Irna Yugaswatie

My Trip to India

The purpose for my trip to Asia Plateau was to accompany my wife to attend the Sangam Gathering, as I was not officially invited. Fortunately, the committee allowed me to attend the Quiet Time sessions during the event.

On the first day of Quiet Time, the leader of the session asked the participants to mention the name of rivers in each country that represents the participants' origin.The deep meaning about the activity is that the rivers will flow to the ocean and merge with far away lands to keep the earth balanced and in harmony. If the river represents humans, then human beings should be like a river to unite the world and make harmony, because we live in one place that is called earth.

Mohammad Ramadhona