Le Ngoc Bich Ly (second from the right in photo), originally from Vietnam, is a faculty member at Payap University’s Institute for Religion, Culture and Peace (ICP). Through various programs, the institute aims to raise awareness around global issues and promotes tolerance across faiths. Le is involved in developing programs as well as serving as a lecturer.
As a peace educator, she is responsible for offering courses such as Religion and Peacebuilding and Gender and Ethnic Identity in Peacebuilding. Even though not all of her students have a peacebuilding background, she enjoys helping them discover what it means to be a peacebuilder. She believes that peacebuilding is for everyone.
Le believes that inner peace is the core of peacebuilding. Inner peace, which means one is able to have peace within her/himself, allows one to have a peaceful relationship with others. At the same time, the theories of peace from the academician will be in vain if there is no action for peace.
Affirming her calling as a peace educator is a process. Part of the challenge is to be able to validate information based on academic research. As difficult as this can be, Le never regrets having chosen this path as she sees it as part of God’s plan for her life.
Le feels blessed being able to work at ICP, especially since she is the youngest among the faculty. She finds it rewarding to interact with people from a variety of religions and diverse cultural backgrounds. She finds that ICP is a flexible and inclusive community.
Le received her Ph.D. degree in Inter-Religious Studies from the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies at Gajah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. With the recommendation from the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, she received a scholarship from the Nippon Foundation. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world and is a very diverse country. Le felt the Indonesian people were very friendly and accommodating. During her studies, she lived with a woman pastor and was involved in church activities.
The three-weeks training with MPI helped her to broaden her network and global knowledge. She learned much from the peacebuilders who dealt with different issues in society with their own cultural approach. During the three valuable courses (Interreligious Peacebuilding: Approaches for Cooperation, Social Cohesion and Reconciliation; Fundamentals of Peacebuilding; and Conflict Resolution Skills) she was inspired to enhance her lecturing performance in front of the other participants. The creative teaching methods, topics and syllabus have also been applicable to the class she teaches. Tools such as the conflict tree, the onion and status of conflict were also helpful. In the end, though, she reminds all peacebuilders of the importance of having inner peace in their lives.