Each year, MPI undergoes a very intentional and systematic process of deliberation and selection of courses to be offered for the Annual Peacebuilding Training. The content, design and methodology of the courses are continually updated, revised or modified to address the needs of participants in terms of knowledge and essential practical skills; while also taking into account the emerging landscape of the different areas of peacebuilding, all in close coordination with the respective facilitators.
In the development of new courses, as well as in reviewing and updating the existing training program, MPI holds fast to the principles of applicability, relevance, necessity and social impact. The Institute keeps informed of and familiarizes itself with the latest theories and concepts on peacebuilding, including the local and regional context, and current issues in Asia-Pacific and the rest of the world. It also values highly the ideas and recommendations put forth by its alumni and training participants that are generated through evaluations and surveys, which in turn are considered in the selection of courses each year.
The Classroom-Based Courses
A trait that characterizes all the courses offered by the Institute is its elicitive* and participatory approach to teaching, one that has been painstakingly cultivated by the respective facilitators in each of their classes. MPI encourages this methodology where participants not only learn from their teachers but also from their fellow participants and from their own experiences and perspectives. This, in turn, supports an atmosphere of solidarity within the class that allows them to explore, share, affirm, question and voice out beliefs, opinions, ideas without the limitation that the fear of judgment can impose. To achieve this, facilitators do not limit themselves to lectures and PowerPoint presentations but go beyond the traditional means of teaching, utilizing a wide array of techniques and interactive activities such as role-plays, journal writing, class simulations, and field trips that would best involve participants in the process.
Each of the classroom-based courses is taught by at least two trainers, carried out in a complementary process of facilitation. The overall make-up of the courses, from design and methodologies to content, are all developed by the facilitators, always taking into consideration the needs of the participants. Facilitators also can invite resource speakers into their respective classes, which add more color and substance to the classes and provide valuable insights on a range of issues and topics about peace and justice.
Another way of expanding the learning environment in the classes is through organized fieldtrips arranged by the facilitators. These trips allow participants to interact with known experts and local partners in the Philippines and provide them with first-hand experience.
* “The elicitive approach starts from the vantage point that training is an opportunity aimed primarily at discovery, creation, and solidification of models that emerge from the resources present in a particular setting and respond to needs in that context.” John Paul Lederach, Preparing For Peace: Conflict Transformation Across Cultures, Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1995.
The Field-Based Courses
MPI recognizes the valuable lessons that can be gleaned from individuals and organizations that are actually implementing peacebuilding initiatives and putting into practice conflict transformation theories and concepts that participants learn in the classroom. It is for this reason that the Institute continues to offer its field-based courses, giving participants the opportunity to be immersed in the field and hear stories directly from grassroots peacebuilders and local communities.
Documentation of New Courses
The documentation of new courses is considered an important practice of MPI, not only for tracking and archiving purposes, but also as a valuable reference point for facilitators who wish to make revisions or improvements to the courses and for those interested in how courses at MPI are designed and implemented. The final output of the documentation is not available for public distribution, but it can be viewed at the MPI Office in hardcopy form.