Historical context

The search for such a network to ensure the continuity of the leaders who have been in the different Cardijn movements has been going on in different countries particularly in Asia from early 1990s. Former leaders from YCW and YCS have been meeting independently and also as a group together with former leaders from IMCS to seek a way of continuing their commitment towards social transformation. This gave birth to many forums at various levels.

For the former YCW leaders, the History Project initiated in 1997 by the IYCW in connection with the 75th year celebrations in 2000 was a great opportunity to come together and to share their preoccupations. In a way, the assembly of thousands of former YCWrs in Belgium gave an impetus to think of continuing the spirit of Cardijn in some form or the other and to contribute towards development and social change.

Networking for Development Conference 2001

After the end of the YCW History Project, Stefan Gigacz, former IYCW Treasurer began to work for CCFD France, a Catholic development organisation, as a project officer for several countries in South East Asia: China, Vietnam, Thailand and Burma. In this capacity, he met CCFD partners and many others involved in development work including a number who had a background in various Catholic lay movements such as the YCW, YCS, IMCS, ICMICA, etc.

During the FABC Second Asian Lay Meeting in Bangkok Stefan met Rungrote Tangsurakit, collaborator for Thai YCW and also treasurer of the Thai Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace and Rungtip Jim Imrungruang, former IYCS Asia team member and coordinator of the Thai CCJP.

Thus, in discussions with Rungrote Tangsurakit and Rungtip Imrungruang, a small Networking for Development conference was organised with assistance from CCFD at Siam Park Hotel, Bangkok from 21-23 July 2001 with a dozen participants from Thailand, Philippines, Burma, Vietnam, Singapore, and Australia.

Present at the meeting were Juanito Penequito and Boy Pascual from Cardijn Center for Development, Philippines, Nguyen Tri Dung, YCS collaborator from Ho Chi Minh City, Nguyen Anh Dung, director of Ket Doan, a member of the Solidarity and Development group, Rungrote Tangsurakit, Jim, Gregory Mahn Htun, a Burmese former IMCS member from the Karen Youth Leadership and Management Training Program (KYLMTP) and his colleague, William Aung Win Shwe, and S. Samydorai from Singapore.

Networking for Development Meeting Bangkok 2001

Creation of the Cardijn Liaison Committee

The outcome of the Networking for Development conference was that it was decided to launch a network to continue working together on development issues.

Initially Cardijn Liaison Committee was chosen as the name for this network: Cardijn to reflect his spirituality and the methodology (see, judge, act), Liaison because we saw our objective as linking people up, and Committee because we were wary of creating a new structure too quickly.

Rungrote Tangsurakit of Thailand was nominated as CLC coordinator and took on the title of President for communication with other organisations.

A number of mid-term objectives were also fixed:

  • To facilitate networking among development workers and groups;
  • To mobilise human and financial resources for development;
  • To organise action and training on development issues;
  • To generate fundraising and self-financing activities;
  • To promote the spirituality and methodology (“see, judge, act”) of Joseph Cardijn, founder of the YCW.

A follow up meeting on 6-7 October 2001 held in Siam Park Hotel, Bangkok adopted a plan of action including the following priorities:

  • Informal Sector Workers campaign;
  • Solidarity with Karen refugees in Thailand;
  • Web development training (2002);
  • Launching a study on fundraising strategies in Asia-Pacific.