Seven-day Asia Pacific Youth Hoho Conference (APYHC), the first ever in the state began Friday at Shalom Bible seminary Sechü Zubza, 15 km away from state capital Kohima.
There were participants from 13 countries including Australia, Canada, Cambodia, Indonesia, Finland, Vietnam, UK, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea. Participants from India include 10 Naga tribes, Meetei (Manipur), Bodo (Assam) and representatives from parts of India.
Vijitha Yapa, a journalist and former editor of Island, Sri Lanka, Sunday Times and Sunday Island, Sri Lanka and presently vice president Asia Pacific Publishing Association covering 20 countries delivered the opening speech.
In his address Vijitha said he came from a country that had a war for thirty years and claimed over 70,000 lives. He recalled how a Sri Lanka defense minister was killed by a bomb blast near his house and he was still paying to get his home reconstructed after the bomb blast.
He said like him many people were suffering due to war and should help them. The journalist said the theme of the current conference should be to bring change in the society. He encouraged the gathering to make a difference in the society instead blaming God and others.
Vijitha who is coming to Nagaland for the first time said he want to know more about Nagas and write about them in the newspaper. He said as a journalist he was determined to stand for the truth and do what was right.
Noted social and peace activists Niketu Iralu in this speech said the conference should be an eye opener for the youth to inspire the young people of Nagaland and produce individuals who were willing to say “what is right is right and we will fight for it in our own societies even if no one is doing it” .
Later, he declared the Asia pacific youth hoho opened. The programme was chaired by Penuo Heikha co-ordinator APY, Neikuo Sechu chairman Zubza village council delivered welcome address, Yeon Yuk Jeong APY member spoke on behalf of APY, Zubza villagers presented folk song.
Resource persons for the conference were Leslie Nazareth on music, Liu Ren Jou on family, Nandor Lim on sensitivity, Vijitha Yapa on leadership and Clara Cheong on creative play.