Statement of MPI on the Passing of Nelson Mandela
10 December 2013
Last Saturday evening, President Jacob Zuma called upon all South Africans to pray, reflect and celebrate the life of their beloved Nelson Mandela, who passed away at the age of 95 on 5 December 2013. The Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute (MPI) echoes this call and asks its friends, colleagues, supporters, alumni, and networks to take some time this week to pray and reflect upon the life of this extraordinary man. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, affectionately called Tata Madiba, truly was a peace builder since he transcended hatred and anger and sought reconciliation among all the people of South Africa in order to build a new society founded on love and forgiveness. Nelson Mandela is a model for all of us to follow who seek a world where justice and peace will prevail. Let us stand in solidarity with the people of South Africa and the rest of the world who now pay tribute to this gentleman who was a "light in the darkness," as one parish priest in Soweto described Nelson Mandela, and celebrate his life by deepening our commitment to build a just and peace-filled society within our families, communities, and nations.
The following websites can serve as a resource for more information and for preparing a prayer service or ritual:
The Nelson Mandela Foundation: http://www.nelsonmandela.org. You may leave a message of condolence and tribute here. You may also read about the call to unite in prayer.
Mail and Guardian Tribute Site to Nelson Mandela: http://madiba.mg.co.za.
A video tribute poem by Maya Angelou: http://www.iol.co.za/news/special-features/nelson-mandela/tributes/video-maya-angelou-s-tribute-to-mandela-1.1619104#.UqXmL5F5hyo.
Find a song that pays tribute to Nelson Mandela: http://entertainment.iafrica.com/music/890188.html.
Find out the meaning of Nelson Mandela's names: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/nelson-mandela/10501587/Nelson-Mandela-Madiba-Tata-whats-in-a-name.html.
Special coverage of Nelson Mandela on Democracy Now!: http://www.democracynow.org/topics/nelson_mandela.
A video of the life of Nelson Mandela from the New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/video/world/africa/1247465446832/nelson-mandela-1918-2013.html
United Nations Video on Nelson Mandela's Life Story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9xtS57534Y.
The third annual NARPI Summer Training once again brought together participants from across Northeast Asia to share and learn during two weeks of peacebuilding training and field trips. Participants, facilitators, staff and volunteers built understanding and friendship in and out of the classroom. Thirty-three participants from mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, South Korea and Taiwan joined NARPI for two weeks of training from August 5 to 16 at the DMZ Peace-Life Valley in Inje, South Korea, which is, perhaps ironically, in one of the most heavily militarized areas of the world. The training offered the following courses: Conflict and Peace Framework; Theory and Practice of Peace Education; and Trauma Awareness and Healing in the first week; and Restorative Justice: Aiming for Healing and Reconciliation; Gender, Peace and Everyday Life Security; and Nonviolent Communication and Facilitation in the second week. Aside from the courses held, there were cultural nights, musuem tours, visits to the DMZ, and even rafting down a river and catching of fish by hand.
As a peacebuilding training institute working to find ways to connect and provide space for solidarity to as many peacebuilders as possible around the world, MPI enters into a new collaborative relationship with the Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, USA. The partnership was formalized this October when the two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding stating their intention of cooperation for collaboration on mutually beneficial grant opportunities and curriculum development.
Elizabethtown College is a community of learners dedicated to educating students intellectually, socially, aesthetically, and ethically for lives of service and leadership as citizens of the world. As a comprehensive institution, the College offers academic programs in the liberal arts, sciences and professional studies. In the same way that MPI marries theoretical and practical skills and knowledge, and lessons from experiences in its courses, the College combines classroom instruction with experiential learning to promote independent thought, personal integrity and social responsibility as the foundations for a life of learning. They believe that learning is most noble when used to benefit others and affirm the values of peace, nonviolence, human dignity and social justice.
The connection between Elizabethtown and MPI was established through the efforts of one of MPI's mainstay facilitators at the Annual Training Program. Jonathan Rudy who is also currently a peacemaker-in-residence at Elizabethtown College has been with MPI since 2002 as a facilitator for courses such as Fundamentals of Peacebuilding, Active Nonviolence, Religion and Peacebuilding, and a field-based course on grassroots peacebuilding.
The two instiutions hope to cooperate and collaborate on mutually beneficial training opportunities and facilitation of peacebuilding/conflict transformation topics. This may include, but not limited to, the areas of facilitation for praxis refinement, faculty visits, student interns, and ongoing academic research and interaction. It was also agreed that the parameters of the roles and responsibilities of each institution will be determined on a project-by-project basis.
In behalf of the two institutions, David Kenley, the Director for the Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking at Elizabethtown College, and Christine Vertucci, Director of MPI, signed the Memorandum of Understanding. The MoU will be applicable for a duration of three years and at the end of which, an evaluation of the relationship will be conducted.
MPI intends to nurture this relationship with Elizabethtown as it sees this as an opportune time to take advantage of its networks especially its pool of experienced facilitators and reach more peacebuilders not only in the Asia-Pacific region but also beyond.