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Learning, Growing and Nurturing: MPI’s Grassroots Peacebuilding Mentors Training Program

Learning, Growing and Nurturing: MPI’s Grassroots Peacebuilding Mentors Training Program

“Knowledge needs to be shared”

The Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute Foundation, Inc. (MPI) began a new and innovative Grassroots Peacebuilding Mentors Training Program with a workshop that on the first day emphasized the need for knowledge to be shared. Participants recognized that when sharing their skills and what they are good at, that knowledge is multiplied. Mentoring, while usually voluntary and unpaid, can bring about mutual learning experiences, as we support one another.

Ashok processing a floor diagram

M Manage the Relationship 
E Encourage 
N Nurture
T Teach 
O Offer Mutual Respect
R Respond to the Learners Need

MPI, along with the workshop’s co-facilitators, Gladston “Ashok” and Florina Xavier, developed and designed the program with the objective that grassroots peacebuilders who are working in the field would be able to enhance their mentoring ability. This will, in turn, strengthen the peacebuilding skills of their co-workers in their organizations and partners in the communities where they work.

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Article About MPI Wins Award

Article About MPI Wins Award

An article about the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute that was published in Misioneros, a Spanish publication about the work of Maryknoll Missioners, won an award from the Catholic Press Association of the United States & Canada. The article, Un Refugio para Fomentar la Paz Mundial (A Refuge for Peacebuilding) took second place in the in the 2018 Awards, "Best Story and Photo Package."

Co-authored by Kimberly Asencio and Fred Goddard, the CPA wrote:

The topic of this story—the work of peace builders in the Philippines—is important and consequential. The translated
story is well illustrated, with a lovely, moody lead photograph and several photos that are used efficiently in a clean,
easy-to-read layout.

You may read the Spanish version here:

The English version can be found here:

Learning by Doing

This piece originally appeared in the online Elizabethtown College Faculty Blog of Jon Rudy and is reposted here with permission.

Chicken War Sign saying "Do not tresspass or you will be dead"Things got really tense in Dapat when young John killed the neighbors chicken. In fact, tensions broke out to the point where the lowlanders blockaded the highlanders, threatening to kill any who crossed into their territory. Some tenacious villagers from the highlands succeeded in bringing the two sides together to negotiate a settlement. And then we stepped in and called a halt to the whole thing.

Tense times in the chicken war participants standing guardCalled “The Chicken War,” this fictitious scenario was one of the simulations we use regularly at the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute (MPI), held annually in Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines. Written several years ago, it starts with a young highlander innocently throwing a rock and killing a neighbor’s chicken, which sparks simmering tensions into wholesale war. All too real in its narrative, we regularly cast participants as community leaders, police, apathetic citizens, and peacemakers. Also like real life, there are those present who just don’t want peace.

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Shaping the World

This article was originally published on the Elizabethtown College blog of MPI Facilitator Jon Rudy.

The Republic of Bendora is an island nation surrounded by lesser islands like Renbel, Kula, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Laos and Canada to name a few. Fictitious of course, Bendora is the name of one of the case study scenarios we used in the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute (MPI) Human Centered Security course. Our training design was hands-on and used made-up scenarios with real-world challenges. Newly designed to help those seeking to reframe security paradigms in their countries, this course tasked work groups to use conflict analysis and mapping skills. One starting assumption in Human Security include that nations are most secure when the needs of people (freedom from fear, freedom from want and respect for dignity) are the reference points (click on image for a larger map).

Bendora Island Map

This year at MPI we had a major delegation from the Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation, and Peace in the Solomon Islands. During group work participants from five other countries tackled the Bendoran security issues which included clan tensions, an earthquake, outside meddling by foreign powers and weak governance. I observed that, in the minds of the participants, Bendora was imagined as an island nation among many other islands. The Bendoran mapping exercise proved the truism that our world is shaped by our perspective.

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We are All Called to be Peacebuilders:

A Reflection on NARPI’s 2016 Summer Peacebuilding Training

If you would create something, you must be something

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (shared by Hong Soek “Scott” Kim – NARPI Facilitator).

Rudielyn Marquez giving testimony during the 2nd week Closing Ceremony​Being a peacebuilder goes beyond what position you have in your organization or in the community. It is important for everyone to understand what peacebuilding means and how each of us must be a peacebuilder.

That opportunity came to me in August of 2016 when I participated in the Summer Peacebuilding Training of the Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI). Forty-nine participants gathered in Taiwan for the training, most of whom came from Japan and Korea.

​Ice breaker during the Conflict and Peace Framework classBecause I am new to peacebuilding, I chose Conflict and Peace Framework for the first week. I learned that there are many faces of peace, conflict and violence. The definition of conflict we came up with during our discussions was “conflict is something that happens anytime someone is trying to protect or defend his/her vested interests.” Conflict will result in violence if you will not deal with it or if you will just let yourself be taken over by your emotions. We just need to reflect and put ourselves in other people’s shoes first before reacting to something.

Class photo of the Conflict and Peace Framework classI was really moved when I presented myself as one of the Comfort Women in an activity where we used Ho’o Pono Pono and Samoan Circle Process to discuss what happened during World War II. It was a powerful experience, with each of us giving our different points of views of what happened before, what could have been done to prevent it, and what we can do in the future so it will not happen again.

This course was really an eye-opener for me. I grew up with no knowledge of peacebuilding work and ignored the things happening around me. Now, I can say that I’m aware of what we are going through but still searching for the right way to achieve peace. The biggest question I still have in my mind now is, Can fighting with your own countrymen achieve lasting peace? I hope while I continue to learn about peacebuilding I can find peace.

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