Why peace?

4 October 2010, 4:24 PM
group photo

The Peacemakers' Circle | Southeast Asia and the Pacific Region

When the U.S. Embassy in Manila needed a last-minute trainer to fill in for its yPeace Program in August, it knew just who to call. The Peacemakers’ Circle CC had been doing peacebuilding trainings in the Philippines for years, and had a long history of successful initiatives like the Priest-Imam dialogue forum it started in 2008. For the next two days, URI veteran Marites Africa and two colleagues worked with a group of 34 Muslim, Christian and Indigenous youth leaders from the seminary, the military, schools and NGOs, helping them open up to one another and learn strategies for building interfaith trust. Each session started with an interfaith prayer, and the program ended with an Iftar dinner. The students talked about their experiences with interreligious conflict in places like Mindanao, where violence is a fact of daily life, and came up with action plans. “The young leaders were vibrant, passionate, and oh, so inspiring” said Marites. “We are looking forward to the future in their hands.”