acrp general assemblies
The 1st ACRP Assembly was held in Singapore in November 1976, and hosted around 300 participants from 17 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The theme of the Assembly was Peace through Religion. A resolution on Indochinese Refugees Relief was adopted at the Assembly, and immediately thereafter, ACRP engaged in relief operations for the refugees in collaboration with RfP International. The resulting Boat People’s Project caught the attention of international media.
With the theme of Religions in Action for Peace, the 2nd Assembly was convened at New Delhi, India in November 1981 with approximately 200 participants from 16 Asia-Pacific countries in attendance. A delegation from the People’s Republic of China participated for the first time in an ACRP Assembly. The Assembly adopted the resolution on the establishment of ACRP Human Rights Center in New Delhi, India to demonstrate the ACRP’s dedication to the protection of human rights in the region.
At the 3rd Assembly, over 400 participants from 22 countries in Asia and the Pacific gathered in Seoul, in the Republic of Korea in June 1986. The Assembly theme was Promotion of Human Dignity and Humanization. Since the unification of the Korean Peninsula was the foremost concern of the participants, the Assembly became a platform to help initiate building a bridge of peace and reconciliation over the two Koreas. This Assembly saw the establishment of the Seoul Peace Education Center (SPEC), a fitting commemoration to the 10th anniversary of the founding of ACRP.
The 4th Assembly was convened at Kathmandu, Nepal in October 1991 with the theme of Asian Religions Towards 21st Century. Over 300 participants from 21 countries across Asia and the Pacific attended the Assembly. One of the issues discussed during the Assembly was the role of religion as society enters the 21st century, in view of the demise of the Cold War. A delegation from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea attended an ACRP Assembly for the first time.
With the theme of Our Asian Neighborhood, the 5th Assembly was held at Ayutthaya, Thailand in October 1996. About 270 participants from 25 countries in Asia and the Pacific participated in the Assembly, which commemorated the ACRP’s 20th anniversary. During the Assembly, the Youth Committee showed its sympathy for the Thai people by collecting US $1,000 in relief funds for victims of a severe flood that had occurred in the region.
At Yogyakarta, Indonesia in June 2002, the 6th Assembly was host to approximately 300 participants from 20 countries from the Asia-Pacific region gathered. The theme of the Assembly was Asia, the Reconciler. The reality and spirituality of Asia were deeply reflected in the Assembly, which focused its dialogue on the topic of civilization rather than the clash of civilizations. The participants viewed that Asian spirituality was a force, which would make people one in spite of their diverse way of expressing the higher nature of humanity.
Around 400 participants from 24 countries in Asia and the Pacific attended the 7th Assembly, which was held in Manila, the Philippines in October 2008. The Assembly theme was Peacemaking in Asia. Prior to the Assembly, the Religious Youth Summit, attended by Asian religious youth leaders, was convened at Mindanao and issued An Urgent Appeal for Peace in Mindanao. At this Assembly, the group was rebranded as Religions for Peace Asia.
The 8th Assembly was convened at Inchon, the Republic of Korea in August 2014 with the theme of Unity and Harmony in Asia. Over 450 participants from 26 countries in Asia and the Pacific participated in the Assembly, where a Special Workshop on the Reconciliation in the Korean Peninsula took place. The Workshop’s key achievement was the issuing of the Peace Declaration of Korean Peninsula. The number of RfP Asia chapters reached 20 with the addition of the Malaysia and Myanmar chapters.
The Assembly Declaration is adopted at each Assembly, and the RfP Asia Executive Committee meeting held in Bandung, Indonesia in 2014 adopted the RfP Asia Strategic Action Plan, which will take effect until the next Assembly is held. Through measures such as this, RfP Asia is in the process of transforming itself from an institution into a movement.