World’s peacebuilders arrive in Davao City for a 3-week peace training
A total of 115 peace advocates from 22 countries worldwide have arrived in Davao City this week for the 12th Annual Peacebuilding Training organized by Asia’s premier peace resource center, the Davao-based Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute (MPI).
Participants started the first week of training, held at the Brokenshire Resort and Conference Center in Davao City, last May 16 and will conclude on June 3, 2011. They have come from as far as Nigeria and Sierra Leone in Africa, Spain and Germany in Europe, United States and Canada in North America, Afghanistan and Pakistan in South-Central Asia and Japan and Laos in Asia. They represent diverse sectors in those countries such as the government sector, civil society organizations, peace movements, academe, military, legal profession, religious sector, and the youth sector.
The course modules they will be learning over the period of three weeks include Foundation Courses (Introduction to Conflict Transformation, Fundamentals of Peacebuilding, Peace Education: Concepts and Approaches, Active Non-violence: Philosophy, Theory and Practice); Thematic Courses (Conflict Resolution Skills: Mediation, Negotiation and Dialogue, Religion: Peacebuilding in Multi-Cultural Societies, Trauma Healing and Reconciliation in Divided Communities); and Field Exposure Courses (Indigenous Peoples' Peacebuilding Mechanisms, Approaches to Grassroots Peacebuilding, Interreligious Dialogue and Zones of Peace, and People's Participation in Peace Processes).
Four new thematic courses are offered this year: Theory and Practice of Mediation; Working Towards Change: Peace and Justice Advocacy; Gender, Peace and Everyday Life Security; and Advanced Civilian Protection.
MPI Director Christine Vertucci said the diversity of the modules offered in this year’s training program seeks to address the increasing complexity of conflict issues and socio-political contexts from which the participants come, while at the same time, showcasing the success stories and other lessons from Mindanao.
In addition, MPI is offering two special events which complement the learning environment of the course structure—the forum on “Peacebuilding through the Lens of Mindanao and International Civil Society” to be held on May 21 in coordination with another peace-oriented organization, the Mindanao Peaceweavers, and the workshop entitled “The Living Symbol of Song as a Resource for Nonviolent Action” to be given by a visiting American PhD student on Conflict and Peace Studies from the University of Manitoba, Ms. Christy Reed.
“I feel that the first special event (peacebuilding forum) serves as a bridge for MPI to connect with more local civil society organizations and peacebuilding movements which answered our need to strengthen not only our international alliances but also our local networks,” said Ms. Vertucci. “The special workshop on the living symbol of the song, on the other hand, is for participants to identify historic and current ways in which music is being used as a community resource and to imagine future ways that these musical forms could be used to mobilize and invigorate nonviolent action.”
The training program is being facilitated by nine international facilitators and eight national conflict transformation experts including the recently-awarded University of the Philippines 2010-11 Outstanding Alumnus for Peace Professor Alzad Taradji Sattar. Other than individual facilitators, MPI is also tapping a partner organization—the Ecosystems Work for Essential Benefits, Inc., (EcoWEB), a non-profit NGO based in Iligan City and other partners—to facilitate the Field Exposure Courses.
Other countries represented are Burma, Cambodia, China, Croatia, Fiji, Indonesia, India, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Timor-Leste, and the Philippines which has 59 out of the 115 participants. (Arvin Yana)