This article was originally published on the Elizabethtown College blog of MPI Facilitator Jon Rudy.

The Republic of Bendora is an island nation surrounded by lesser islands like Renbel, Kula, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Laos and Canada to name a few. Fictitious of course, Bendora is the name of one of the case study scenarios we used in the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute (MPI) Human Centered Security course. Our training design was hands-on and used made-up scenarios with real-world challenges. Newly designed to help those seeking to reframe security paradigms in their countries, this course tasked work groups to use conflict analysis and mapping skills. One starting assumption in Human Security include that nations are most secure when the needs of people (freedom from fear, freedom from want and respect for dignity) are the reference points (click on image for a larger map).

Bendora Island Map

This year at MPI we had a major delegation from the Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation, and Peace in the Solomon Islands. During group work participants from five other countries tackled the Bendoran security issues which included clan tensions, an earthquake, outside meddling by foreign powers and weak governance. I observed that, in the minds of the participants, Bendora was imagined as an island nation among many other islands. The Bendoran mapping exercise proved the truism that our world is shaped by our perspective.

This piece originally appeared in the online Elizabethtown College Faculty Blog of Jon Rudy and is reposted here with permission.

Chicken War Sign saying "Do not tresspass or you will be dead"Things got really tense in Dapat when young John killed the neighbors chicken. In fact, tensions broke out to the point where the lowlanders blockaded the highlanders, threatening to kill any who crossed into their territory. Some tenacious villagers from the highlands succeeded in bringing the two sides together to negotiate a settlement. And then we stepped in and called a halt to the whole thing.

Tense times in the chicken war participants standing guardCalled “The Chicken War,” this fictitious scenario was one of the simulations we use regularly at the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute (MPI), held annually in Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines. Written several years ago, it starts with a young highlander innocently throwing a rock and killing a neighbor’s chicken, which sparks simmering tensions into wholesale war. All too real in its narrative, we regularly cast participants as community leaders, police, apathetic citizens, and peacemakers. Also like real life, there are those present who just don’t want peace.

We are pleased to share with you the pdf Report of the MPI 2016 Annual Peacebuilding Training (5.56 MB) . The report provides an overview of all the activities and events that took place during the three-week training last May 16-June 3, 2016. Here, you will also read some of the reflections, insights and the collective experiences of those who were with us during this year’s Annual Peacebuilding Training.

MPI 2016 Annual Training Report Cover

  pdf Download the MPI 2016 Annual Peacebuilding Training Report here (5.56 MB) .

One important note about the MPI 2016 Report is that this is packaged differently, in an effort to make it more attractive and reader-friendly. We hope that you will enjoy reading this new formatted report. We would greatly appreciate hearing your responses, comments or suggestions on how we could do things better to improve both our reports and future trainings.

If you have not yet done so, take a look at the photos and videos from MPI's 2016 Annual Peacebuilding Training.

On another matter, we are happy to announce that we have already fixed the dates for the MPI 2017 Annual Peacebuilding Training, which will be held from May 8-26, 2017, in Davao City, Philippines. The MPI 2017 Information Packet will be shared with you by the first week of December, when applications will be officially opened. We will be sharing updates and the exciting new courses that we are developing for MPI 2017 in the weeks to come. As always, we ask that you help us disseminate this information to your colleagues, partners, networks, and friends.

Additionally, all updates and announcements about the upcoming 2017 training will be posted here on our website and on our Facebook page. We encourage you to visit these sites from time to time for the latest news and updates about MPI and the training.

We are truly grateful for your continued support to MPI. We look forward to hearing from you and hopefully seeing you next year.

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A Reflection on NARPI’s 2016 Summer Peacebuilding Training

If you would create something, you must be something

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (shared by Hong Soek “Scott” Kim – NARPI Facilitator).

Rudielyn Marquez giving testimony during the 2nd week Closing Ceremony​Being a peacebuilder goes beyond what position you have in your organization or in the community. It is important for everyone to understand what peacebuilding means and how each of us must be a peacebuilder.

That opportunity came to me in August of 2016 when I participated in the Summer Peacebuilding Training of the Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI). Forty-nine participants gathered in Taiwan for the training, most of whom came from Japan and Korea.

​Ice breaker during the Conflict and Peace Framework classBecause I am new to peacebuilding, I chose Conflict and Peace Framework for the first week. I learned that there are many faces of peace, conflict and violence. The definition of conflict we came up with during our discussions was “conflict is something that happens anytime someone is trying to protect or defend his/her vested interests.” Conflict will result in violence if you will not deal with it or if you will just let yourself be taken over by your emotions. We just need to reflect and put ourselves in other people’s shoes first before reacting to something.

Class photo of the Conflict and Peace Framework classI was really moved when I presented myself as one of the Comfort Women in an activity where we used Ho’o Pono Pono and Samoan Circle Process to discuss what happened during World War II. It was a powerful experience, with each of us giving our different points of views of what happened before, what could have been done to prevent it, and what we can do in the future so it will not happen again.

This course was really an eye-opener for me. I grew up with no knowledge of peacebuilding work and ignored the things happening around me. Now, I can say that I’m aware of what we are going through but still searching for the right way to achieve peace. The biggest question I still have in my mind now is, Can fighting with your own countrymen achieve lasting peace? I hope while I continue to learn about peacebuilding I can find peace.

Arts Classed huddled together

MPI is pleased to announce the dates for the 2017 Annual Peacebuilding Training.

May 8 - 26, 2017

Mark you calenders and join us next year for one, two or three weeks. Check back here later in the year for more information.

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