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Alumni News

News from and about MPI Alumni

Reconciliation and Peacebuilding in Post-War Sri Lanka by Fr. J. M. Joseph Jeyaseelan, CMF

Reconciliation and Peacebuilding in Post-War Sri Lanka by Fr. J. M. Joseph Jeyaseelan, CMF

The Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute Foundation, Inc. is please to share with you that Claretian Publications is publishing a new book by MPI Alumnus Fr. J. M. Joseph Jeyaseelan, CMF (2018) titled: Reconciliation and Peacebuilding in Post-War Sri Lanka: through the Healing of Memories and the Role of the Catholic Church.

The Claretian Missionaries in Sri Lanka are organizing a book launching for Saturday, June 2, 2018.

About the Book

This book explores the role of the healing of memories for post-war reconciliation in Sri Lanka. In the intervening years since the 26-year civil war came to an end in 2009, hardly anything substantial has been done in terms of healing the past wounds and building a new and reconciled Sri Lanka where all her citizens could live with equal dignity and in peace. Moreover, even in the meager post-war reconciliation efforts that are in place, the efficacy and role of the healing of memories have been grossly disregarded. Anyone interested in the role of the healing of memories for post-conflict reconciliation, explored primarily through the lens of practical theology, will find in this book useful insights and recommendations that can be adapted to other contexts as well. Since healing of memories is related closely to psychology, this book has integrated insights from the field of modern psychology, namely cognitive theories. The concept of the Moral Imagination has also been applied to come to certain conclusions and recommendations. This book suggests many ways the Catholic Church can better contribute to the post-war reconciliation efforts in Sri Lanka, and initiate certain projects geared toward this end, using the healing of memories as a primary route.

J. M. JOSEPH JEYASEELAN is a Catholic priest and a member of the Congregation of Claretian Missionaries. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Peradeniya; a Bachelor of Theology from the Pontifical Urban University, Rome; and a Doctor of Ministry from Catholic Theological Union at Chicago, USA.

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Keep Spreading Peace through Trauma Healing

Debbie Satentes-DasangParticipating in the Trauma Healing and Reconciliation in Divided Communities course, as part of the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute Foundation, Inc.’s Annual Peacebuilding Training in 2015, was a great experience for Debbie Satentes-Dasang, a Guidance and Counseling Director at Southern Christian College (SCC), Midsayap, Mindanao. The topic that influenced Debbie the most was “Prejudice Bias on Social Dimensions of Education.” She learned how to become a tolerant person in different contexts.

Dimensions of education are actually part of the curriculum in SCC, an institution where Debbie also lectures. The trauma healing course enhanced her knowledge and contributed greatly to her performance as an academician, counselor and postgraduate student. During the time she was with MPI, she was also fulfilling her last academic requirements in her graduate studies prior to her thesis writing. As such, she was able to use the course material—methodology, concept, and strategies—as reference sources for her lectures and her thesis.

As a counselor, she firmly upholds the principles of neutrality and impartiality. Finding the best solution without offending any parties is an important value in her work. Many students rely on her trustworthiness and advice. Debbie prioritizes her time so she can be a good listener during their emotional sharing even if it disrupts her schedule. Feeling discriminated against in society and family issues that interfere with academic performance are the frequent problems of students with whom she deals every day. Every time the students thank her and express relief, she feels contented and satisfied. Helping students to regain their confidence and passion to finish their studies is a meaningful achievement in her life.

Rekindling MPI Memories

Rekindling MPI Memories

MPI Alumni Local Gathering
Southern Christian College, Midsayap, Mindanao
On March 17, 2018

Top picture, MPI Alumni, SCC staff and MPI staff: Left to right in front: Debbie Satentes, Maechille Quĩnones, Elma Neyra, Mely Lengkong, Novee Rafaela, and Jeanyline Alvarado. Left to right at behind: Mary Jorolan, Joseph Reyson, and Jonathan Deluvio

Mely Lengkong and Novee Rafaela sharing the purpose of MPI Alumni GatheringThe Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute Foundation, Inc., in partnership with Southern Christian College (SCC), Midsayap, successfully held the first MPI Alumni local gathering in Central Mindanao, Philippines. The event took place on March 17, 2018, at Southern Christian College in Midsayap. Seven MPI Alumni from different years and some faculty members from SCC attended the gathering. The alumni included: Joseph Erson Reyson, Maechille Quĩnones, and Jonathan Deluvio (2007); Jeanyline Alvarado, Redentor C.Alejado, and Mary Jane Jorolan (2013); and Debbie Satentes (2014). The three representatives from MPI were: Peacebuilding Training Program Officer, Novee Wila Rafaela, MPI Alumni Outreach Assistant, Mely Sabina Ester Lengkong (Mely on the left and Novee on the right in picture), and MPI Student Intern from the University of Southern Mindanao, Datu Beds Kali.

The activities began with welcome remarks from Dr. Elma M. Neyra, the Vice President for Research and Extension of SCC. Mely Lengkong and Novee Rafaela also delivered short speeches regarding the purpose of the alumni gathering. After that, the activities turned to the short introductions from each alumni when they shared their inspiring stories.

Young People and their Role in the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Negotiations

Progress Study on Youth Peace and Security - colored hands in a circleMPI alumnus and facilitator Michael (Mike) Frank A. Alar wrote a report on young people's involvement in the Government of the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace talks as a country case for the UN's Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security. Along with other country case studies, the report is available for download here.

This report contains the stories of only some of the young unsung heroes of peace in the Philippines.

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Promoting Peace, Preventing Extremism through the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL)

Promoting Peace, Preventing Extremism through the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL)

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from Island Provinces and mainland Mindanao attended a three-day event from February 18 to 20 in Marawi to promote peace and solidarity from the city that was the center of a major armed conflict less than a year ago. The summit was jointly organized by the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society headed by Ka Guiamel Alim and the Mindanao State University through the Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao. The activity was supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

People forming a large peace signThe summit was the result of series of consultations in different areas of Mindanao. The first day, February 18, was the Solidarity Peace Summit. Participants were active at all levels of the summit. I was a facilitator during the workshop with former MPI board member and resource person Guiamel Alim. The workshop explained ways forward.

During the morning of the second day, February 19, there was a Solidarity Peace Walk with Press Conference with the People of Marawi especially the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). IDP representatives voiced out their sentiments and CSO leaders expressed their solidarity messages with the people of Marawi. Local Government Units, Police and Military were invited as well. Fifteen thousand people joined in the peace walk, mainly youth and students, far beyond our expectations.

Solidarity Peace Walk BannerIn the afternoon, there was a Bangsamoro Cultural Solidarity Show and Performances. Each CSO cluster region performed a solidarity cultural show for the people of Marawi. I was the main facilitator.

On the last day, there was a solidarity visit and reflection at the “Marawi Most Affected Area” or “Ground Zero,” where we offered prayers. I served as the guide during the visit that we arranged with the military. A debriefing and a closing program—the crying moment—followed the visit.
In addition to these activities, there was also a mural peace signing. Finally, there was an exclusive open forum of the Lanao CSOs with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal in support of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

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