bilateral and multilateral cooperation and solidarity: A Partnership
between AMAN and ACTION ASIA seen
By Kaloy Manlupig, Posted 6 February 2011
AMAN Secretary-General Mohammad Abdus Sabur.
In December 2010, Emma Leslie
of Action Asia and Director of the Center for Peace and Conflict
Studies (CPCS) asked me to contact General Raymundo Ferrer (the “Filipino
Peace General”) and request him to be a speaker in the Asia Muslim
Action Network (AMAN) Conference. She also asked me if I would be
willing and available to represent Action Asia, and present a paper
and share my thoughts and experiences on peace education in the
workshop titled “Trends and State of Peace Education and Peace
Research in Asia.”
Gen. Ferrer immediately said
yes. Of course, I also immediately said yes. But the general’s
travel was disapproved by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of
the Philippines (AFP) because of urgent beginning-of-the-year
concerns and the very little time left to process his official
I decided to go ahead with my
trip to Thailand despite that development.
The Asia Muslim Action
Network (AMAN) 20th Anniversary Celebration
4th Assembly and the
International Conference on Multiculturalism and Global Peace
Pattani, Thailand, January
From January 26-28, 2011,
about 300 AMAN network members, representatives of partner
organizations and invited guests from all over the globe came
together in Pattani, Thailand to celebrate AMAN’s 20th Anniversary
and 4th Assembly. Back to back with the Assembly was the
International Conference on Multiculturalism and Global Peace”.
Pattani was selected as the
venue because Southern Thailand has been experiencing protracted
conflict and violence since 2004, resulting in loss of lives and
setbacks to development. In fact, a bomb exploded in the city on the
last day of the conference. Despite the violence in this historic
city of unique cultures, the conference became an opportunity for
both local and international participants, academics and activists,
to interact, learn from each other and find ways to promote peace
and enhance bilateral and multilateral cooperation and solidarity.
I was there to represent
Action Asia. It is a network of individuals and organizations in the
Asia continent committed to action for conflict transformation
through the sharing of skills, knowledge, experiences and resources.
It carries a vision of a world of justice and peace, where basic
needs are met and dignity and human rights are respected.
Action Asia recognizes Balay
Mindanaw as among the key players in the network. AMAN recognizes
Action Asia as its partner.
During the opening ceremonies
on 26 January 2011, I was asked to read before the Assembly the solidarity
message prepared by the Action Asia Secretariat. AMAN’s
Secretary General Mohammad Abdus Sabur expressed his appreciation to
Action Asia for participating in their activity.
In the afternoon, I presented
my short paper titled “A
Peacebuilding Course Called OP Kors!” in the workshop “Trends
and State of Peace Education and Peace Research in Asia”.
Balay Mindanaw’s peacebuilding initiatives, both lessons and
hurdles, especially with our experience in helping build peace among
the military that had actually stirred good passionate discussions
with the participants.
Jacqui Chagnon of American
Friends SC also attended the workshop and talked about our work in
East Timor, Myanmar, and the Philippines.
Way Forward: Another world
The conference was a series
of plenary and workshop discussions. Like many other conferences,
the informal chats were big opportunities to meet old and new
friends, compare notes, discuss various topics and explore prospects
for the future.
In my conversation with
Sabur, we talked about the possibility of creating an inter-network
working group (composed of AMAN, Action Asia and others) to deal
with common concerns like peace processes. During the plenary
session on the second day, he announced this possibility.
I think working together on
matters that are immediately do-able is a practical way of
establishing a partnership between AMAN and Action Asia. I have
suggested to Action Asia that we pursue this prospect.
I think Balay Mindanaw thru
Action Asia can actually offer our solid on-the-ground experiences
and learning to AMAN as they continue to find creative and
appropriate interventions in the pursuit of peace. I also think that
we can gain from AMAN’s rich experiences in intra-religious and
inter-religious initiatives, their work in the Muslim context, and
the contribution from their prominent academics.