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|Asia Pacific Village: diversity unites us!|
Jakarta (1 July 2009) – The Asia Pacific Village is an important breakthrough for the 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) in Bali, Indonesia. This event will be held to facilitate various aspects of civil society as well as to develop joint activities between AIDS campaigns and art performances.
”Through the Asia Pacific Village, community awareness and understanding towards cultural diversity in the Asia and Pacific region is expected to increase. We would also like to show the public that cultural diversity can create unity,” explained Prof. Dr. D.N. Wirawan, MPH, the 9th ICAAP Co-Chair II who also oversees the Asia-Pacific Village.
Carrying the concept of a Balinese village, the Asia-Pacific Village will interpret the main theme of the 9th ICAAP IX, Empowering People, Strengthening Networks into a more fun ambiance. “Its function is to be a place where we can celebrate diversity. It is a place where we can interact, get personally involved, share and exchange experiences, knowledge, and skills with each other, build coalitions, and promote interactive learning amongst people living with HIV (PLHIV) and affected communities, as well as with policy makers and researchers” added Prof. Wirawan.
The focus of the Asia Pacific Village is the community dialogue room Wantilan, which is located in the corner of the Asia Pacific Village. The Wantilan is supported by UNDP together with the Global Fund which will both host for dialogue sessions Meet the Leaders carrying the theme “United Nations and civil society system in responding to AIDS” and “Financial and Civil Society Institutions”. There will also be sessions from several organizations which received the Red Ribbon Award, which is awarded to communities that have provided medical and support services for PLHIVs and to orphaned children due to AIDS.
The community dialogue room has been used in previous congresses,named uniquely by the host country. At the 8th ICAAP in Colombo, the community dialogue room was called Praja Shalaya, while at the 17th International AIDS Conference in Mexico, it was named Tequino, a word from the Zapotec language which means cooperation and to organize communities to reach the same goal. In the 9th ICAAP, Wantilan is selected to honour Balinese tradition. In the Balinese language it means village hall, where villagers gather to discuss and make decisions on all aspects of community life, from Piodalan (temple anniversary ceremonial), cremations, farming, Subak (Balinese traditional irrigation system), to village leader elections.
A series of cultural shows will be held on a mini stage in the Wantilan. There will be 27 non-governmental and community organisations participating in the Asia-Pacific Village who will participate by showcasing cultural and art products and their organization’s activities.
A photo exhibition titled Access to Life (A2L), a collaboration project of the Global Fund and Magnum Photo will also take place at the congress venue. This exhibition aims to document the impact of antiretroviral medicine on millions of people living with HIV all over the world.
There will also be a Youth Corner at the Asia Pacific Village, specifically dedicated to youth for networking and conducting activities such as workshops, plays, restricted meetings, and exhibitions. Youth involvement is expected to motivate important leaders to provide more support to youth programs.
Next to the Youth Corner, there will be a Community Networking area for local and international individuals to gather and plan collaboration or create programs on various topics. Outreach programs of local communities (PLHIV, injecting drug users, interfaith, sex workers, and transgender) will also be exhibited. A relaxation area will also be dedicated for participants to release tension by enjoying traditional Balinese massage, hair braiding, and getting temporary tattoos.
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