Photo not directly realted to the writing, Photo by @glenncarstenspeters
Yeang is currently a Senior Technical Specialist for Adolescent and Youth Participation, at Cambodia, World Vision International. He is a youth participation and social inclusion advocate, and Cambodia & Southeast Asia Peace Leadership and Nonviolent Communication Practitioner.
+85577455285 / firstname.lastname@example.org / https://www.linkedin.com/in/yeang-sethsamprathna/
When I first became a member of the UNESCO Youth and Sports Taskforce in 2017 after I participated in the Fun-shop that was hosted in the Philippines, I was barely aware of UNESCO ICM or neither of its activities. Martial arts are fascinating for me, yet I have never had my hands involved in this particular sport/physical education. Until early this year of 2020, I was introduced about an opportunity to be a youth representative of an Editorial Advisory Member, then I applied, and I got in. Being an editorial advisor, I got the opportunity to share my experiences and expertise through commenting on UNESCO ICM’s periodicals; ICM News and ICM Insight. I also had one of the five editorial members voluntarily be my mentor who supported me throughout my journey. My experience with UNESCO ICM as an editorial advisor has enriched my inspiration to raise my voice to different stakeholders on sports4development, and potentially provided me the insight to see the crucial role of martial arts in improving quality of physical education. Therefore, I would like to highlight two main catalysts of my reflection through this experience below.
First, I got to learn about the role of martial arts and youth in tackling societal challenges. I remember I had to read 18 pages of the first periodic advisement session and other related (more than 100 pages) documents to understand the perspective around sports and martial arts in school and out of school. It was just a voluntary role, but it was my first time being editorial advisor for an International Organization, so my anxiety to make a better advisement for my first session was too high. By reading these documents, especially exploring the two proposed themes for ICM Insight and its contents, I believe that martial arts are not just competitive sport. With safeguarding in place, vulnerable populations are involved, adequate policy is well implemented; this can be effective approaches toward quality physical education. At the same time, young people play a crucial role in martial arts development. The youth are normally the potential population group to set the rule of the game whether or not it is inclusive, fair, empowered and healthy. Getting to know more about martial arts help me feel confident to provide comments on the ICM News and Insight, particularly from a youth perspective myself. For a moment, I felt a bit challenging as I had no direct experience with martial arts, but somehow I believe that an outsider can see something different that might be useful for the editorial group as well. In December 2020, when I finished up my one-year term as editorial advisor, I still continue to learn more about martial arts and think about how I can apply sports, particularly martial arts in adolescent programs that I am currently leading.
Second, my voice is not only heard and seen; it actually contributed to ICM News and Insight. When I received the feedback of the first periodic advisement session, I was very excited that some of my comments are used for updating ICM News, especially how they capture young people’s experience in practice around martial arts. Being part of editorial advisor offered me the opportunity to build up my aspiration to contribute, insightful new knowledge and network partnership which are the keys to support my driving passion to engage young people more broadly in development efforts. The last periodic advisement session was very inspiring as I could share more general perspectives on youth participation as well as providing comments on Professor Emerson’s writing on “Providing youth-friendly martial arts training”. By far, it was one of the meaningful participations I have experienced.
Summing up, I was glad that I got this opportunity to be one of the editorial advisors along with professors and experts from different parts of the world. It was an eye-opening experience for me to learn about martial arts and inspiring experience to make impactful contribution.
※ Opinons in the writing are the author's own.