Ms. Myla Leguro, President, holds an MA in Peace Studies from the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame in the USA. She has worked for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) since 1991 on peace and development projects in Mindanao, Philippines. As the Program Manager of the Peace and Reconciliation Program of CRS-Philippines, Myla organized two major peacebuilding initiatives: the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute in 2000 and the Grassroots Peace Learning Course in 2003. She has worked as an international trainer in Timor-Leste and Nepal, and has served as a resource person in various peacebuilding conferences in Colombia, Thailand, and the USA. In 2006, she was the first CRS-Kroc Visiting Fellow. Myla holds the distinction as being one of the 1,000 women collectively nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. Myla currently serves as Program Director of a CRS global program on Advancing Interreligious Peacebuilding, an initiative that covers four interrelated projects on interreligious dialogue and cooperation in Egypt, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Niger, Nigeria and the Philippines.
MPI Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is the policy-making body of the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute and has the responsibility to review and approve major program initiatives.
Ms. Marites (Matet) T. Gonzalo, Vice-President, is a candidate for a Master of Arts in Anthropology at the Ateneo de Davao University in Davao City, Philippines. She holds a Bachelor of Elementary Education with a Major in Guidance and Counseling and an Associate Degree in Religious Education. Matet is a member/performer of the Kalumon Performing Ensemble based in Davao City. She has served as Area Coordinator for Agent-based Modeling of sustainable livelihoods for vulnerable people to adapt to the impacts of flood-related landslides in the Philippines under the University of the Philippines Los Banos and Oscar M. Lopez Foundation. Matet has worked as a documenter, research assistant, facilitator and field worker for a number of projects and programs related to the rights of the indigenous and Bangsamoro communities of Mindanao. In addition, she has served as a guidance counselor, pastoral worker, literacy teacher, and clinical instructor. Matet is a member of the Tagakaulo indigenous community of Southern Mindanao.
Ms. Mary Lou B. Caharian, Secretary, started her career as a college instructor but shifted to social development work in 1972, giving her opportunities to relate meaningfully with church workers, Moro people, urban poor and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). As an active member of the feminist organization PILIPINA, her current advocacies are women empowerment and peacebuilding. She is known in development circles as an engaging, effective Gender and Development (GAD) trainer.
Mr. Orson P. Sargado, Treasurer, is currently the Head of Office of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) overseeing the Mindanao operations. He has been with CRS-Philippines since June 2000. Orson attended short peacebuilding courses at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and at Eastern Mennonite University in the USA. He has been a peacebuilding and conflict transformation facilitator at MPI and at the Grassroots Peace Learning Course. Through the years, he has been engaged in various grassroots development and peacebuilding efforts such as community-based peacebuilding, interreligious dialogue, peace education, peace advocacy, peace governance, and emergency and peacebuilding. He believes in program integration as it leads to creating better results and sustainable impact to communities. Orson is now finishing a doctoral program in Development Studies at the Ateneo de Davao University. He lives in Davao City, Philippines with his wife and three teenage children.
Ms. Elvira (Elvie) C. Ang Sinco, Member, holds an MS in Social Work from the Asian Social Institute in Manila, Philippines and formerly was the Coordinator of the Civil Peace Service, a German government-funded service program, for Bread for the World in the Philippines and the Dean of the College of Social Work of Southern Christian College in Midsayap, Mindanao. Currently, she is a member of the MA Ashram Community of Sambo Zen practitioners and the Katilingbanong Pagtambayayong in Davao City. For over 20 years, Elvie has worked as a social worker in various organizations in Europe and the Philippines with a particular focus on the culture of peace and conflict transformation. She is both an alumna of the Summer Peacebuilding Institute of Eastern Mennonite University in the USA and the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute.
Grace Hercyk serves as the Global Peacebuilding Coordinator for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), serving as a resource to peace and development initiatives with MCC country programs, including liaising with MCC Advocacy Offices in North America and supporting evaluation and research work related to peacebuilding. She holds a graduate degree from Eastern Mennonite University in Conflict Transformation. She has experience working with MCC in Cambodia, Search for Common Ground in Liberia, and peacebuilding and evaluation experience in the United States.
Mr. Norodin D. Salam, Member, is the founding Director of the Peace Center and Director of Office on External Affairs and International Relations of Cotabato City State Polytechnic College in Mindanao, Philippines, where he served as Dean of College of Business and Public Administration. Prior to this, Norodin was the Coordinator of the Institute for Interreligious Relations at Notre Dame University in Cotabato City, where he obtained his PhD in Peace and Development. He is the president of the Salam Humanitarian Initiatives for Equity Local Development and Global Associate of Goldin Institute Philippines. Norodin is an on-call consultant to the Bangsamoro Transition Commission. He has been engaged in research projects with national and international organizations in order to develop effective teaching methodologies. He has published instructional materials on Peace Education in relation to gender, conflict resolution and human rights. Norodin was a Fulbright Scholar on Religious Pluralism at the University of California, Santa Barbara.