HarmonyWorks! Conference 2019: Beyond Tolerance
HarmonyWorks! Conference continues to be OPSG’s flagship programme for youths from post- secondary institutions. The Conference provides a safe platform for students to share personal narratives, as well as gather insights and opinions on inter-racial and religious issues in Singapore.
“Beyond Tolerance” was the theme of the 14th edition of the Conference. It was held at Temasek Polytechnic on Saturday, 27 July 2019. 169 participants attended the Conference from 39 institutions comprising Madrasahs, Polytechnics, Junior Colleges, ITEs, Universities, Private Institutions and community groups. 73 facilitators and volunteers came forward to support the event. The Conference saw a robust discussion amongst youths on sensitive issues and novel ideas to deepen race relations beyond surface levels. They explored issues such as racism on social media, immersive cross cultural engagements and collective as well as individual efforts to champion healthy race relations. The Conference concluded with a lively dialogue with Mr Gaurav Keerthi, Founder, Dialectic.sg, Mr Leonard Lim, Former Research Associate and Journalist and Ms Melody Zaccheus, Journalist, The Straits Times. The Dialogue was chaired by Mdm Rahayu Mahzam, Board Member, OnePeople.sg.
For most (95%) of the participants, it was their first experience in HarmonyWorks! Conference engaging on heartfelt issues concerning ethnic and religious diversity. They were able to share their views frankly. Participants valued the safe space for meaningful interactions and opportunities to connect with new acquaintances from diverse cultures.
OPSG’s Youth Advocates came forward to lead key segments of the Conference such as scoping key messages, facilitating discussions and reaching out to fellow youths via social media.
“During the checkout segment, participants said that they were (pleasantly) surprised at how personal, deep and meaningful the discussion was as they had expected a superficial session because race and religion are often contested topics. They were grateful and inspired to have heard one another’s personal stories.” – Junaidah Jaffar, Facilitator
“Learning first-hand about certain stories of discrimination really moved me.” – Ruban Nicholas Ravi, Participant