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Alumni News

News from and about MPI Alumni

From the World of Physics to the World of Peacebuilding

From the World of Physics to the World of Peacebuilding

Prior to MPI’s 2019 Annual Peacebuilding Training, Physics Professor Franklin Savarimuthu of Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, knew nothing about and had no special interest in peacebuilding. Frank finished his PhD in Physics in 2009, conducting research on crystalline structures. Nine years ago, he became a physics teacher for undergraduate science students at Bishop Heber College (autonomous) in his home town, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu. In January 2019, the principle of the college informed the members of the different faculties about the United Board for Christian Higher Education (United Board).

Franklin and his colleagues were asked to look into the offer and apply for the Faculty Enrichment Program of United Board. He checked the website of United Board and saw the announcement for an Intensive English Learning Program that interested him, but due to some constraints, Frank was not able to apply for it. The very next program listed on the website was a scholarship for the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute’s 2019 Annual Peacebuilding Training.

“Since peacebuilding was not a known word to me, I was not interested in it initially. Since no other projects were listed, I simply went through it to see what is there,” Frank explains.

The information he found about MPI and its Annual Peacebuilding Training Program fell on fertile ground. “I already had the long-term wish to serve the society.”

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Sri Lanka Post-War Reconciliation and Now

Sri Lanka Post-War Reconciliation and Now

During MPI’s 2019 Annual Peacebuilding Training, Jude Mahendren gave a presentation on post-war Sri Lanka. The following article is a study guide for the online posting of his slide presentation below (click on Read More), focusing on the long-term effects of the war, political climate, introduction of transitional justice and the current state of the country.

Sri Lanka’s 26-year-long armed conflict came to an end through military means in May, 2009. The final operations resulted in heavy human causalities and disappearances. More than 500,000 people were internally displaced, mostly detained in camps. After heavy pressure from the international community, most of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) were resettled.

The discrimination of the Sinhala majoritarian government and ongoing ethnic riots against the Tamil people resulted in their option for an armed struggle. The Tamil people’s cultural nationalism started to evolve into a political nationalism. They then claimed the north and eastern provinces as their homeland (see slide 6) and the Tamil language and Tamil culture became its identity markers.

The consequences of the war were that all three ethnic communities suffered, especially with the way the war ended in 2009. There were no hard data on how many were killed, arrested, and surrendered, with even entire families gone missing. A Catholic Bishop estimated that there were 146,679 missing persons during the final phase of war based on government and NGO data.

MPI Alumni Gathering in Cotabato: MPI, a game changer

MPI Alumni Gathering in Cotabato: MPI, a game changer

Another town, another setting, another gathering of people from diverse backgrounds. Last July 23, 2019, 17 MPI alumni from and around Cotabato came together for their first MPI Cotabato Alumni Reunion. However, some who joined the meeting came from very far away. One MPI alumnus came all the way from Myanmar. Another alumnus from 2011, Mr. Shecku Kawusu Mansaray from Sierra Leone, who happened to be visiting Mindanao with his wife Isata, was also welcomed and added a special flavor to the meeting.

An Interreligious Response to the Crisis in Cameroon

An Interreligious Response to the Crisis in Cameroon

Rev. Ebai Gustav Tabi, Executive Secretary for Information and Communication, Director of Protestant Voice Radio PVRadio FM 105.2, Council of Protestant Churches of Cameroon CEPCA, gave a presentation on the crisis in Northwest and Southwest Cameroon at MPI’s 2019 Annual Peacebuilding Training, where he was a participant. Gustav introduces the presentation here with a statement from the National Council of Religious for Peace in Cameroon. You can view the slide presentation below (click Read More to view the slideshow).

National Council of Religious for Peace in Cameroon (NCRPC)

The crisis in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon has mutated into a stalemate and the sufferings of our people keep increasing day and night. Loss of human life and loss of property is especially mounting; and fear, suspicion, blackmail, and hatred are on the rise.

We have traced the following six different stages of evolution of the crisis since independence and reunification.

Stages of Conflict

  1. Expression since independence of the feeling or the sense of marginalisation on the part of English-Speaking Cameroonians.
  2. The demand for equality of Education and Legal sub-systems.
  3. The Trade Unions joined in with other demands concerning other syndicates.
  4. It evolved into political demands on the different forms of government, including Federalism, Secession, Unity and Decentralisation.
  5. The rise of new actors, many armed and unknown.
  6. The evolution into online threats, extortion and a xenophobic campaign of the English-speaking versus the French-speaking and confusion in various camps.
Post-conflict peace work: experiences from Sierra Leone

Post-conflict peace work: experiences from Sierra Leone

Written by: Patrick van Wersch

DAVAO CITY (July 24, 2019) - In a Public Dialogue entitled ‘Peace Work in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone,’ hosted jointly by the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute (MPI) and the Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia of the Ateneo de Davao University, MPI alumnus Shecku Kawusu Mansaray shared his insights working as an adult educator and peacebuilder in Sierra Leone. The participants, including representatives from Mindanao-based civil society organizations (CSOs) and Ateneo de Davao University faculty members, were challenged to reflect on Mansaray’s lessons learned and encouraged to draw and discuss comparisons between the peace and conflict dynamics in Sierra Leone and Mindanao.

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