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19 August 2015

WASHINGTON, DC—For many young people, summer is synonymous to enjoying time out of school or getting a summer job. However, for a few hundred youths, this summer was about delving deep into the heart to learn more about themselves and develop the skills they need to be effective leaders.

Some 600 youth participants from over 20 countries are gathered for the 5th International Youth Fellowship World Camp, a Christian-based program aimed at enhancing spiritual and mental growth, expanding global awareness, promoting intercultural tolerance, and developing leadership skills. The IYF World Camp is taking place in the Long Island University Post Tilles Center in New York from 17 to 21 August 2015.

Self reflection and “navigating the heart” are major thrusts of the IYF World Camp, and participants are encouraged to establish strong spiritual roots in order to set a solid foundation for leadership and initiating change.

Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., who is a staunch advocate for youth leadership, was one of the guest speakers at the World Camp opening ceremony on 18 August. In his remarks, the envoy shared his experience engaging with youth and his insights on the link between spiritual development and leadership.

“During my travels to different states across the country, I make it a point to meet with the youth and listen to their concerns and aspirations. One of the common traits I have seen among the youth is strength in spirit. Each young leader I have met has shown immense hope and a strong desire to create change even in the most adverse situations,” said Ambassador Cuisia.

He added, “A vital part of the World Camp’s mission is spiritual development, and that includes personal reflection. This is a good opportunity to spend time getting to know yourself better, find out what drives you, and reflect on the kind of change you would like to bring about in yourself and in the world.”

The Ambassador also expressed his optimism for the future and what the participants of the camp have to offer.

“I am convinced that the youth is the hope of the future. I have witnessed time and again how young people have confidently taken it upon themselves to organize and advocate for things they believe in. With boundless energy, resilience, and faith, young people such as yourselves are now laying the foundation for a brighter tomorrow,” said Ambassador Cuisia.

Other distinguished guests at the opening ceremony included H.E. Oliver Wonekha, Ambassador of Uganda to the United States; Ms. Marianela Casas from the Office of the Governor of New York State; and Dr. Betty Rosa from the New York Department of Education.

Participants and guests at the opening ceremony were serenaded by the Gracias Choir, an internationally acclaimed, award-winning vocal group founded in South Korea as a means to praise God through music. Cultural and dance performances were also enjoyed by guests that evening.

Throughout the camp, participants will be given the opportunity to learn from other leaders through the Leadership Speaker Series. This year’s Speaker Series will feature David Turnbull, renowned architect and founder of Atopia Research; David Carson, renowned graphic designer; Sandra Cauffman, one of NASA’s top women engineers; and Chris Broussard, award-winning sports journalist.

The International Youth Foundation is a Christian-based global youth initiative of International Youth Fellowship Educational Foundation (IYFEF), a non-profit organization in the state of California. It was founded by Pastor Ock Soo Park, who is known to be a “Youth Problems and Mind Education Expert.” ###

Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. delivers his remarks during the opening ceremony of the IYF World Camp on 18 August 2015 in the Long Island University Post Tilles Center in New York.