A TOAST TO 50!
Early this year, Amnesty International Malaysia embarked on a quest to find 50 Youth Ambassadors. The mission of the 50 – to turun padang on an exciting road trip throughout the country to engage young Malaysians to be more human rights active. Now, the 50 have been identified.
Come Saturday, 28 May 2011, the 50 youth ambassadors who herald from diverse backgrounds will be unveiled to the public during the 50th anniversary celebrations of Amnesty International at Annexe Gallery, Central Market.
The youth ambassadors will undergo a Human Rights Education and Creative Activism training camp which will equip them with a basic understanding of human rights and activism. “The AIM office is very excited to be facilitating this project”, says Nora Murat, Executive director of AIM. “Such a project has never been carried out before. We hope that this project will take activism beyond being perceived as an urban culture to involving all Malaysians”.
The program aims to build capacity not just for AIM but for the nation. To have a network of young leaders who can inspire and motivate other young people not just to demand their rights but who also engage productively and creatively in the process. We will be travelling to Pahang, Johor, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Penang and interacting with the youth there through an array of activities. The best part about the Youth Ambassador Project is that the Ambassadors themselves will have autonomy in deciding the kind of activities they want to engage in whether it be a gotong-royong, a futsal match, photo exhibitions and many more.
Besides the introduction of the 50 youth ambassadors, the celebrations beginning at 3.00 pm will bring together a melting pot of young talents who have agreed to join in solidarity with us to spread the message of freedom through art. There will be performances by Aaron Teoh from vocal quartet Caipifruta, indie band PHLOX and a short skit by Rumah Anak Theatre, a troupe of local theatre mavericks. Our very own ambassador, actor Zahiril Adzim and unconventional director/actor/writer Ayam Fared will also be reciting their own respective poetry work. We will also feature the personal experiences of Prisoners of Conscience from all across the globe.
In line with the global celebrations of Amnesty International‟s 50th birthday, the theme for the anniversary is “A Toast to Freedom”. The theme commemorates the genesis of the movement which was spurred by the unfair imprisonment of two Portuguese students who raised their glasses to freedom.
This prompted British lawyer and founder of Amnesty International, Peter Benenson to write an article which was published by The Observer, titled „The Forgotten Prisoners”. The letter sent out a powerful plea calling for the world to unite in common action to effectively do something about the abuses committed by those in power. Referring to the emancipation of slaves, Peter Benenson called for everyone to “insist upon the same freedom for his mind as he has won for his body”.