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Participant images from Zoom call

First Virtual MPI-Africa Alumni Roundtable Meeting

Summary of Highlights
September 2020


Since 2005, MPI has trained Africa-based peacebuilders from across the continent. As MPI alumni, these peacebuilders have been sharing their individual personal stories after their training in bits and pieces. For some time now, MPI has been strategizing on how to energize its Africa footprint by invigorating an ongoing interaction for mutual sharing and exchange with its alumni peacebuilders there.

It is with this aspiration that on September 23, 2020, MPI Director, Christine Vertucci, and the Research, Documentation, and Learning Coordinator, Marlies Roth of MPI organized the First Virtual Alumni Roundtable "MPI-Africa Connection." 

Christine Vertucci welcomed the six alumni delegates from Sierra Leone, DR Congo, and Kenya to the MPI-Africa online meeting. She pointed to the fact that MPI has held deep-felt aspirations for increased connectedness to Africa. MPI envisions creating a critical mass of intertwined and connected peacebuilders not only in Asia-Pacific but also throughout the world. “As we gather together today, we are sowing the seed for realizing this vision, as we reconnect, renew our friendships, and plan together initiatives that will re-create and transform our world into a place where justice and peace prevail." 

This is a synopsis of the discussion in that meeting and forms a beginning of a journey of the connectedness of MPI and its alumni peacebuilders in Africa.

: Bowing and placing of flowers during the commemoration of the anniversary of the day that Japan surrendered to end the Asia-Pacific War in 1945.

Be A Piece of Peace: 2019 NARPI Summer Peacebuilding Training Reflection

One step, two steps, then, I stopped and looked around inside the airport, feeling nervous. Can I do this? Can I manage to travel alone and navigate a foreign country? Can I communicate clearly so that they can understand me? Will I be able to make friends? Will I be able to participate in the training as I had hoped? These were just a few of the questions that ran through my mind during my trip to Nanjing, China, to participate in the 2019 Summer Peacebuilding Training of the Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI)

All these questions faded away as soon as I was able to see a secretariat volunteer and some of the participants waiting for the arrival of other participants before departing together to the venue. It was such a relief to see the NARPI signage, the waving hands, and the greeting smiles of the group. Then I realized this must be how most of our participants feel when they arrive at the Davao airport for the annual training. 

The summer peacebuilding training was both a privilege and a blessing for me as an individual who is given an opportunity to study the fundamentals of peacebuilding and is given the chance to learn about the culture of the host country (China) as well as the other participants’ countries. The training gathered 95 students and professionals, primarily from Northeast Asia. 

MPI Statement Regarding COVID-19

All of us have been affected by the unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19 and this rapidly changing, unpredictable situation. We at MPI have been closely monitoring the situation both here and abroad and following the recommendations of how we, our families and communities can remain safe and healthy.

It is important to us that you know what steps we have taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus and to continue our work. For the time being, we are encouraging our staff to work at home as much as possible and have limited in-office presence. Periodically, we will schedule meetings to assess the situation and make adjustments to our work plans. Rest assured that we will continue to support our alumni and network as best we can during this time.

Thank you for your continuing support and communications of concern and solidarity for all of us here and throughout the world. Please keep safe and healthy!

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IMPACT Banner: Imagining Together Platform for Arts, Culture and Conflict Transformation

Making an Impact with IMPACT

MPI is a member of IMPACT (Imaging Together: A Platform for Arts, Culture and Conflict Transformation that describes itself as "… a collective values-driven collaboration of culturally and geographically diverse leaders in the arts, culture, conflict transformation, peacebuilding, higher education, philanthropy, and non-government sectors who understand the critical role that the arts and other aspects of culture play in transforming conflict." In September 2018, MPI was invited to a gathering of almost 30 people from various backgrounds and countries to discuss the creation of this platform and how it would be structured. Out of this meeting emerged a multi-faceted platform that included hubs in different parts of the world. MPI was invited to be the hub for Southeast Asia and takes opportunities to bring together peacebuilders, artists, cultural workers, and educators in its desire to be a catalyst for peace and social transformation.

To learn more. visit IMPACT's website.

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Gebert Andang wearing tribal head scarf in classroom at MPI training

Gebert Manda Andang, 1986 – 2020

Gebert Manda Andang, one of the former Program Coordinators for MPI’s Resource-Based Conflict and Peacebuilding Training Program, tragically died in a work-related accident on Tuesday evening, February 25, 2020.

Gebert, affectionately known as “Terso,” was part of the Resource-Based Conflict and Peacebuilding Training Program team from August of 2014 until June of 2017. He was responsible for assisting with the trainings in whatever ways needed, including being a documenter and helping to prepare the venues, programs and activities. Terso also worked directly with the communities, including following up on the validation of their Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles and Indigenous Political Structure. He was key in the production of the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent guidebook published by MPI to assist the ancestral domains in Northwestern Mindanao and wherever else it could be used.

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