Apply Now! MEKONG PEACE JOURNEY 2013

Annoucement for Mekong Peace Journey
Training Course 2013

25th August – 7th September, 2013
Burma/Myanmar
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Thai Volunteer Service Foundation and the Mekong Working Group for Peace are now seeking for 5 Thai candidates to attend in Mekong Peace Journey Training Course 2013 which will be held from 25th August – 7th September, 2013 in Myanmar. After the course, at least two participants will be required to serve as interns at their preferable host organization in the Mekong countries.

The Mekong Peace Journey Training Course 2013 is a part of the Regional Learning Process on Peace Building initiated by Mekong Working Group for Peace since 2010 consisting of the regional strategic team from Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

The MPJ is designed for young adults in the Mekong Region: Vietnam, Burma/Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and China, who are interested in the practice of peace building in the region, with the following objectives:

• To build trust and inner peace among young adults in the Mekong region;
• To define the concept of peace-building, conflict and its root causes;
• To address other social factors contribute to building peace in the region;
• To identify appropriate and effective strategies for intervention to build peace in the country and the region; and
• To strengthen and expand cooperation and network for further peace building in the Mekong region.

General contents of the training cover peace-related issues such as peace concept, conflict resolution, nationalism, pluralism, and identities. The training methods are in-house training and field trip.

Application Requirement
– The participants must be young adults at 20-30 years old with Gender balance from diverse backgrounds (Ethnics, religious, social works, economics, laws, agriculture, media, etc.)
– Successful applicants must be open-minded, able to travel and adapt to new environment, committed and will apply what they learn from the training into their community and field works
– Having working experience in social issues at least two years
– Basic English skill and strong networks (either formal or informal).
– Young adults from ethnic minority and indigenous groups are strongly encouraged

Applicants are required to submit via email the following documents (PDF files are preferable):

1) Completed Application Form
2) Resume or CV
3) One Letter of Recommendation

Please download more detail information:
1. MPJ Application 2013
2. MPJ_Reference_Letter_Form 2013

Application Information

Interested candidates must download and apply in filling application form as attached, including an updated CV, letter of interest, fill application form, recommendation reference and copies of relevant documents and send to benjapornsinchai@gmail.com. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted for interview.


Timeline for MPJ Selection Process

Call for application 5 July 2013
Application deadline 7 Aug 2013
Shortlisted candidates 10-15 August 2013
Interview shortlisted candidates 15-20 August 2013
Announce successful candidate 22 August 2013
MPJ Training 25 October – 7 November 2013(Will be confirmed by 15 Aug 2013)

Closing date: 7 Aug 2013

Please directly send the completed application form and other compulsory documents to:

Ms. Benjaporn In-Ngam
MPJ (Thailand) coordinator
Email: benjapornsinchai@gmail.com
Tel: (+66) 8 0596 9535

Contact address:
Mekong Peace Journey
Thai Volunteer Service Foundation
409 Soi Rohitsook,
Pracharajbampen Rd.,
Huay-Kwang 10320 Thailand

MPJ Weblog: www.mekongpeacejourney.wordpress.com

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PEACE WALK ON THE DAY OF VESAK

Picture2The Peace Walk has been organized by Working Group for Peace (WGP) in Cambodia in cooperation with Thai Volunteer Service Foundation (TVS) on 24 May 2013. The event have been done with strong commitment through the sharp objective on peace building on the day of Vesak along the border of Cambodia-Thailand at Anlong Veng pagoda, Anlong Veng district, Uddormeanchey province with three main activities comprising of Peace Walk, Peace Dialogue, and Meditation to call for peace along border. There were 144 participants including youth, peace activist who are working on Peace building in Cambodia and Thailand with local people, especially the ethnic people in Cambodia such as Indigenous People (IP), Khmer, Khmer Kampuchea Krom, and Chinese.

At the beginning of the Peace Walk, there were different religion representative encouraged to share peace perspective through their own religion view in the public in the purpose of understanding each other which Christian, Muslim can learn and understand Buddhist as well as Buddhist also getting to know Christian and Muslim. Within the speech is a space to rise up the voice of interfaith (Buddhist, Christian and Muslim) on peace concept, and respect the diversities of religion concept. Toward the perspective from those religions, they have shown a common understanding on peace which all religion teaches people to live together in peaceful way.   For instant, in the beginning of the Peace

Miss Nov Unheng, sharing in Peace Walk

Miss Nov Unheng, sharing in Peace Walk

Walk, Miss Nov Unheng, Third-year student at National University of Management, express in Peace Walk “I came to join here in the representative of Christian. In Bible, it have taught us to love all surrounding people like yourself which show that all people need real love and peace in mind, so we need to build peace from your mind, heart and soul with other people. Moreover, Mr. Les Sann, first year student at Norton University express perspective in representative of Muslim that “I felt so delighted to participate with people here Buddhist, Christian and me who is representative of Muslim. I came here because I want Peace and all people from different religion to find a common sustainable peace as we need. On the hand, for Muslim also show the common goal toward peace even the name which means Peace, especially when Muslim meet each other, we show the peaceful welcome word “Asalamu Alaikum” which means Peace be with you. In Alqura Arn teach that Peace did not discriminate any religion, ethnicity or nationality because we are all human”   

Picture1Additionally, it was a special opportunity of Cambodian-Thai who are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and others ethnic can learn and share together with common understanding on peace building to strengthen close relationship and truth through religion teaching during tension of Cambodia-Thai on Preah Vihea  case as well as others issues, conflict happening along border. Within this, we had conducted a Peace Dialogue between Cambodia-Thai by engaging the representative of each religion to talk and share using religion perspective because the people in both sides following Buddhist, Muslim even Christian.  The Dialogue had been designed with the strong objective; to understand the meaning of  Peace by diverse religion, sharing experiences on peace building through ways of religion, how can youth participate in peace building through religion​ between Cambodia-Thai.   Resulting the above significant talking, we found that to build peace among us, we need to learn from each other and recognize the differences of religion so we would give value and respect others without individualism.

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Local Youth getting to know Peace building by participating in Peace Walk

Local Youth getting to know Peace building by participating in Peace Walk

Mr. Nandavan Naayudhya, Thai participant had shared during peace walk that “I used to come to Cambodia as a tour and I did not know clearly who Cambodia is. Then since there were tension between Cambodia-Thai, and Media had broadcasting many bad things to increase hatred among people even me I hate Cambodia at the time. But through this time, it is more than tour last time, I can do activities by walking talking and sharing with Cambodian so I feel better and change perception reducing hatred and willing to write down to express that all bad things that media shown is not right at all, so we need to explore it directly. Moreover, I also wonder during tension if Cambodian hates Thai or not.” 

Mr. Nandavan Naayudhya, during Peace Walk

Mr. Nandavan Naayudhya with Buddhist flag on left hand during Peace Walk

After the very peaceful walking and talking as Peace Dialogue, we also had another common peace practicing activities called Meditation. All Cambodian-Thai participants including local people had joined together to practice the meditation due to its religion act which Buddhist and Christian did very same act and Muslim did another action by praying following its religion. Even in such different characteristic of meditation, we did it in strong purpose of keeping calm and peaceful in mind to live together in harmony.

The way of meditation by Muslim

The way of meditation by Muslim

The way of Meditation by Buddhist & Christian

The way of Meditation by Buddhist & Christian

The Peace Walk had been completed with its three main activities including Peace Walk, Peace Dialogue and Meditation.   Within those activities had been done successful engaging with different background, nationality and religion of Muslim, Christian and Buddhist, especially participants who are Thai. The project have reached its goal which peace messages and peace understanding had been spread and reach to the rural area along the border of Cambodia and Thailand where conflict happening so far. All the participants were very satisfy to join peace walk which is a chance to get to know peace building activities that many people rarely interested in such walk because there are many people said “I do love peace, I want peace”but it just in words without any action toward it even very tiny things. Their participation is much more contribution in Peace Building.

Give Your Hands for Peace !

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THE MEKONG RIVER FLOWS WITHIN ME

Experience from Mekong Peace Journey (MPJ) 2012

by Nguyen Thi Anh Thu (Apple), Vietnamese

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The Flows of Water, Peace, Insight, Life, Inspiration, Friendship and River are flowing within Me!

I heard the Mekong before I saw it. Yes, I heard the Mekong so many times in geography class since I was young. I saw the Mekong before I felt it. Yes, I used to view the Mekong from the perception of learner. The fact is that the most beautiful thing in the world must be felt, neither heard nor seen… Lucky me, after 22 days in MPJ 2012, I finally could feel the Mekong with all its beauty, abundance, meaning, and life. The feeling when you can feel something strong inside you, something sweeps freely and deeply into your mind and your heart, it should be a moment of illumination and epiphany. I name that moment as the title goes “the Mekong River Flows Within Me”.

 The Flows of Water
I already know that the Chinese government has begun building a series of eight dams on its part of the Mekong. Nevertheless, there is one thing that I did not recognize until I was here in our MPJ discussion over dam construction is that the discussion could get hotter and hotter. Participants together can easily provide a long list of clues in defense of dam construction. Deterioration in environmental landscape and local livelihood are often come first in the list. Things become worse when I actually witnessed, in the community visit, a similar construction works of a bridge across the Mekong River between the border of Thailand and Laos to facilitate the cargo transportation.  I am not sure how much money generated from this project, but it was displeasure to see a Chinese company exploiting the local resources while the indigenous people are not aware of what they are losing. I do not dare to think of someday when the Mekong runs out of fish, and suffers from the changing currents. They are actually creating conflict over the flows that we shared in the Mekong Sub-region, aren’t they? When we consider the pluralism in Mekong lives, we will agree that the impacts will not be small. Is this interference a sign of future sustainable prosperity or the new imperialism in the heart of the “Mother of Water?”.

The fighting of local people and NGO against the construction of damps over the Mekong River has often been ignored due to the absence of media or the lost of the interests from people. We, participants are lucky to hear something of that voice, largely thanks to the persistence of Mrs. Kru Tee (from current Natural Resources Protection Network, or previous Love Chiangkhong Group). It’s really great to know that someone tries to do something on his capacity to protect the Mekong. It’s really true that the Mekong and her people are facing a serious situation “prosperity or destruction”? We need more people like him working to stop destructive developments for the Mekong’s sustainability. Change for peace is that we need as soon as we realize “the flows of Mekong” is under conflict.

The Flows of Peace
In my mind, Peace concept used to be considered in the macro degree of the whole region or the world which embraces the absence of physical violence. In this sense, peace comes from political perspectives and stay far from my life experiences. It was until the game of life mapping that I came to see the light. The creation of my life line not only gave me a chance to look at my life in retrospect, but also a mindful practice to analyze the substance of my inner peace as well as the inmost conflicts. This kind of self-dialogue kept me focused on the question what personal peace actually meant to me, and how to achieve the peace in me. In a mixed group, though different member from different background in different countries owns different life map, we still found it easy to fill in the form of Conflict Transformation for Self-Peace and for holistic Peace. This is to say that in spite of diversified life experiences among us, we, human, are in search of the same kind of peace in mind. Life is made up with sob, sniffles, smile, conflict and peace; however, peace predominates – that is what we all want to make sure in every stage of our life.

Taking Life Experience as a Case Study in the game of Life MappingTaking Life Experience as a Case Study in the game of Life Mapping

Then, it downed on my mind that if conflict is an ongoing evolution of human life, why do we need to resolve it? Of course, peace and conflict are like black and white in the kaleidoscope of our life; for they create the motivation for change in our life. Thus, without personal conflict, life would be easier without challenge but probably less advanced and interesting. If we consider the upward and downward points as peace and conflicts in our life line, just through conflict transformation, we are able to create the next HAPPIER Ups and Downs than previous ones. Therefore, what we can learn from a miserable life experiences is that way to transform the conflict it involves into what we consider peace in our mind. Life, what is it? Is it a lesson of conflict transformation toward the peace in mind? Ecstasy of life, what is it? Is it the road of conflict transformation? Peace in mind, Continue reading

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Flowers in the Garden-with Beauty and Uniqueness

Experience from Mekong Peace Journey (MPJ) 2012

by Kim Kotara, Cambodian

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I start to apply for Mekong Peace Journey 2012 without really understanding what it is about. I haven’t had any background in peace, yet the only one thing that motivates me at that time is to learn new things. Luckily, I am selected among the five participants from Cambodia to join this program. Then my feeling somehow has changed, I start to become nervous and happy at the same time because many things happens at the very last minute. Anyway my real journey has started on the 5th of July on the bus from Phnom Penh to Bangkok and from Bangkok to Chiang Khong district, Chiang Rai province, Thailand. We spend around 24 hours to reach the destination. It is very long travelling which lead to an unforgettable moment. We do learn something by the traveling; we can observe people lifestyle and differentiate between Cambodia and Thailand which flight on air might not give this sense to me.

Our training starts on the 7th of July with many topics such as identity, nationalism, pluralism and conflict analysis. What really catches my attention during the in house training is “Border is a place of where nationalism meets pluralism,” is taught by Dr Jakkrit Sangkhaman. This sentence did change my mind to look at this world again. Before this training, I have thought border is just a place that people need to across if we want to go to another country. There is nothing good to look at in the area. However after hearing this term I can feel that border is a beautiful place to look at and learn. For example, Chiang Kong where the training conducted is a place where Laos and Thai people meet each other. As we are asked to absorb during the session, we can hear Thai song at the Laos size. It is strange to have one nation’s song at the other nations. Nevertheless, it is common because they are living in the border, so they are somehow influenced by the other culture. For instance, some people get married with different nations in this area. It does not mean that they forget about their country, but they accept the pluralism so that they can live together peacefully. It can reflect back to the society that if people have too much nationalism, they will not able to live in peace. Another important thing is the term mainstream and marginal groups lectured by Hannah El Silimy. Mainstream means a majority group while marginal is referred to the minority groups. From what I have learnt each person has both mainstream and marginal points, and we need to know about those. When we can know about our strong points, it does not mean to use our power over the marginal groups. By understanding and knowing our mainstream point is to help the other people that have weak points so that we can stay together. Another important point is the way to react to the conflict. We have power to choose to response or react. We can choose to react immediately when the conflict happens or we can decide to wait until we are able to deal with this conflict. You may say it is a common thing, yet I think that it is very special way to deal with conflict. People including me always react when the conflict happen and never thought about how to response the conflict. It is good if we can control ourselves when there is a conflict happened.

 Besides in house training, all have a chance to see the real situation during the community visit. I can practice some items what I have learnt and experience new things such as way of life, culture, tradition and belief. We try to observe what is really going on by talking to people in the community especially the conflict and link it to the conflict analysis by using 3Ps: People, Problem and Process. For example, in Burma we can find the conflict between Burmese and the ethnic group. Ethnic groups are someway discriminated by the mainstreams which lead to a negative peace, which is the internal issue that people from outsider could not see easily. To elaborate it means that they are not fighting now, yet they can fight in any days that they would like to since these two main groups have their own military. It is a new knowledge that I get from trip to Burma at the same time I really concern about this country political situation in the future.

After three weeks training, Mekong Peace Journey 2012 gives me a picture of Mekong region countries. It looks like a collection of flowers that have different color, leaves, smell, height, places… It has its own beautiful ways that people cannot judge which one is the best among all. Like flowers, country has its own identity which other does not have at all. Some flowers are big while some are a little bit small which is look like the size of the Mekong country and how they play role in this region. Though many differences like flowers, we are still have a common thing together is living along the Mekong River. As what we have discussed, we share some common problems in the region that we need to take action together. We really need peace for all.

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A Collection of flowers I took in everywhere I have been to Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, Give me a feeling of beauty inside them though I did not know some of its names!

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UNFORGETTABLE JOURNEY

Experience from Mekong Peace Journey (MPJ) 2012

by Northernman, Laos participant

Starting of Journey

Starting of Journey….

…more we share…more trust we gainedno trust no peace

I really don’t know where to start and don’t know what I should share as I came back to LLmy country with so many unforgettable memories. It would take me a month or more to record and share all of what I have learnt, seen and gained from attending a three weeks Mekong Peace Training Journey 2012.

Three weeks of training program was long for me so before I decided to join the program, I worried that I would get bored and tired by middle of the training program. However, I finally decided to join the training journey.

5 participants from each country, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam met at Thai Volunteer Service Office at Bangkok on July 6th 2012, then together with organizing members or known as Regional Strategic Team (RST) traveled by a bus to Chiang Khong district, Chiang Rai Province in north of Thailand where the Mekong Peace Journey 2012 would take place from July 7-29 2012. The full name is “A Regional Peace Building Training for Young Adults in Mekong Region 2012.

I was selected to stay in a room number 307 which in total 4 participants from different country. It took me a few days to remember and pronounce my roommate’s names correctly, Sua Sam from Myanmar, Panha from Cambodia, and Ushio from Thailand.   There were 13 female participants among the total 25, 4 people per room with different nationalities and separated between male and female participants.

The guesthouse that we stayed was located on the Mekong River’s bank and the other side of the Mekong River is Houysai district, Bokeo province, Laos.

Various activities during sessions of the first week and discussions I had with my new friends outside training hours were mostly about sharing personal interests… background…life story and experiences. I realized that more I shared about myself to my friends, more I discovered and understood myself.  In addition, we always had to choose a person that we know the least in each pair work activity so after one week spending time living, laughing and learning together, I had a feeling that everyone was very closed and good friend. One night, I talked and told the moon that 24 hours a day was too short as I did not have sufficient time to talk with all of my new friends…then the moon answered to me “that’s a life”.

As training session started at 8:30 and last until 5:00 with 1 and half hours break so by 7 o’clock in the morning, coffee and food were always ready.  When finished eating, each one had to wash one’s plates and glasses…it was one of enjoyable moment for me as the washing task had helped me to slow down my uncontrollable flying thoughts and monkey mind. A lot of jokes, funny as well as greet stories were shared during a time of having meals. I would not deny that sometime I did not enjoy available food very much but at the end I still had a good meal, then I came to the realization that a good meal depends on the place and your meal partners more than the food itself. Moreover, part of family atmosphere was created and developed day by day through sharing breakfast, lunch and dinner together, if not for all, at least for me.

When there was no rain, many participants did morning exercise…most female participants would walk to a local market…some did jogging. For me, I often had a morning walking meditation along a path that lies between the river and the guest house… a series of high and green mountains covered with white clouds in the side of Laos, boats with 8-10 people going and back from one side to the other of Mekong River…birds singing and flying from one tree to other tree…those were some of memorable images for me.  I greeted everyone pass me by giving my smile. Silence…fresh and cool air… and beauty of surrounding nature of quiet morning time gave me a lot of inner energy and in result it created peace in my mind. My morning exercises led me to the discovery and experience the real meaning of inner peace.

Besides sessions during training hours and all discussions and activities with other participants outside training hours, another interesting time for me was country presentation which started from Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia on different dates at night time. The country presentation enriched my personal knowledge and understanding regarding cultures…economic…political system…current issues and challenges of my neighboring countries. Now I know and understand more about my neighboring countries… “Having a friend from one country is worth than reading 10 books or more about that country

Cooking day which delivered by each country on different days was also really enjoyable time. For me, it was not about just had tasted food from different countries but when I ate the food, I had a feeling that it was a taste of care and love that my friends from each country gave to me…as the food was prepared properly with good willing and cared.

Throughout various activities, interesting games and presentations brought by differentll1 resource persons, I had learnt variety useful concepts and knowledge that many of them I could practically apply to solve my personal life’s challenges and apply along my journey of contributions to positive changes of community, society and region. Some of notable topics for me were; understanding holistic peace, positive and negative conflicts, pluralism concept, principle and process of a dialogue, conflict analysis tools, conflicts resolution and transformation. I did not fully understand every concepts or lessons delivered during the whole training but at least I aware that they are existing and when I have to use them I could find and make more understanding about them.  However, the most important thing that I will always keep in my mind is that “Peace could and should start from ourselves but we need peace and love in ourselves before we can share to others”.

Almost every activity in each session, participants had to work in pair…some time as national team…often as task group…many time as a group randomly selected…so participants had to actively and fully involved all along duration of each session. At the end, I had learnt and understood what participatory learning approach is and how it was applied.

15 minutes of refreshment break in the middle of morning and afternoon session was pleasant time…local made snacks and drinks were often served…not only sharing funny stories or jokes…but often it was time for positive gossips…who interested in which person or had a special good feeling for someone. Loud laughing…happy smiles… discussions across tables…all were common atmosphere during a time of coffee break and many times each one would forget time to go back for session. However, as there was a task team that responsible for time keeping of each day so the team would rang a bell…gang…. gang…… gang………gang…time’s up…time’s up…

17-18 July 2012 was a community visit in Thailand it was the community where Lao ethnic people from Laos live. They immigrated into Thailand during a war time long time ago in Laos. The community located alongside Mekong River, we went there by boats, overnight for a night and came back by a bus…people in the community still keep their own cultures strongly which came with them more than 50 years ago, it was my first time to see Laoness in non-Lao state… “It is possible to take someone physically out of his homeland, but it is virtually impossible to take one’s pride of his/her homeland out of his heart” (Apple, a lovely Vietnamese participant)…there was another group people and they are Hmong ethnic people live next to the community we visited, they also immigrated into Thailand long time ago. Really sad to know that though they have same homeland but they do not even talk with each other due to prejudice that was rooted in the blood of the people of the two groups from generation to another generation.

Every Friday evening after training hours, all members which included participants and organization members would directed to Friday evening market…where local grown fruits and vegetables were found mostly… but most people (MPJ) seemed to enjoy a variety of fresh served local food that were sold along a street…in order to try many as possible, each person would buy different food and share with each other. Going to the market, we had learnt local people’s lifestyle. Except, interruption from big trucks on the street in every 20 minutes, it was another impressive experience.

Chiang Khong is a small, quiet and could considered as safe town. It borders with Houysai district, Bokeo province, Laos.  From the guesthouse that we stayed, we could enjoy really beautiful view…especially at night time.

It was my first time to meet, live and learn with really amazing young adults, each one’s knowledge and skills was admirable and each person had brought with them a great deal of enthusiastic and keen to learn and share in every minute at any time.  Without their smiles…motivations…and creativity skills, the training sessions might be less enjoyable and learnable for me… moreover, it proved that a mix of differences and diversity lead to creative and innovative ideas.

Tight schedule, long training hours of a day… country team meeting after dinner (not every day but often)… task group duty and media session assignment…and time talking with friends at night.  After two weeks pass, it was undeniable that many times I got tired…miss family…miss friends. But each morning, when I saw smiles and got a friendly greeting from both friends and RST members. My tiredness would definitely disappear.

Unfortunately, the team could not stay overnight in a community for a visit in Laos. The team had to overnight in a hotel and visited community through tour agency scheme.

A visit to Kyiang Tung in Shan sate, Myanmar was a memorial trip for me; it is a town of unspoiled Buddhism…cultures and traditional livelihoods. I do not want to imagine but it would not be avoidable as globalization could access to every corner and space of this planet.

RST members’s contributions were invaluable and impressive…they had RST meeting every night, some time it was up to 11 pm. Each member was very supportive and helpful all the time. They observed and ensured that each session was not only learn-able but should also enjoyable and in addition, no one would be left behind the others. RST hard working reminded me that peace would not happened if we do not put our efforts, skills and volunteer contributions and work together. If someone ask me what is peace, my answer would be…respect other people’s identity and right is PEACE.

20-07-2012 was another unforgettable day, I started the day with blue sky…peaceful mind… and good mood…but the day was ended with very quiet and lonely atmosphere. No any dialogue or discussion in the room 307 as usually there would be discussions in this room every night until midnight or longer…no playing guitar and sang songs in a big group as normal… no big laughing from any of my junior friends as every night… everyone must be tired, I thought. Physically tired or tired inside their minds was beyond my ability to answer. I was writing an article alone from 22:28-23:44, the title of the article called “A Cool Day @ Chiang Khong with Mekong Peace Journey 2012”

Helpful and distinguished experienced media resources persons and sessions were introduced before community visit in the three countries, the media session were divided into three groups which there were a writing group, photography group and filming group. I joint the writing group. I do not know how much I have learned from writing sessions but now I gained motivation and inspiration to begin writing…could be article…or short story.

There were many sessions that were delivered in a situation of rush, especially the last day was very rushed for me…I did not know for other, but for me it was.  However, I told myself that it was not rush but indeed, I (myself) was too slow.

ll3Though my life has passed much different kind of situations…good time…tough challenges, but after three weeks of living…learning… eating…talking…laughing together, MPJ became a family for me so It was really-really hard for me to accept that in less than 24 hours, we had to say good bye and depart from each other…I just could not hold my tears at the time I expressed my personal impression and appreciation to have such great and valuable opportunity to meet…build relationship and trust with all of them. They are really amazing for me…not least but they are full of creative and innovative ideas…I would use this opportunity to give a BIG huge to every one in MPJ 2012.

However, I traveled back home with full of; …great stories …motivation …encouragement …inspiration…and valuable friendship inside my heart. During 19 hours of being on a train from Bangkok to Laos, many times I reminded and told myself that…the ending of the training program was a starting point of friendship with my new friends for strong network and cooperation for prosperity…sustainability and peace in our own society, Mekong Region and ASEAN as a whole.

Peace would not happened if we do not put our efforts, skills and volunteer contributions and work together!

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Give Peace a Chance inside a Song

by Ushio, Thai participant of MPJ 2012

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At the beginning of the journey, Ushio have an intention to compose a song for MPJ with a peace message as he is a young musician of Mekong youth. Within his warm Heart with Head and hand, he have accomplished his passion for Peace during MPJ in 2012. Let Peace the World together!

Short with Meaningful and deep sense for the Sake of Peace!

PSLet Song Heal for Peace along Mekong Rive!

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A Peaceful Journey inside Myself

Experience of Mekong Peace Journey (MPJ) 2012

by May Aung Su, Myanmar

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In our team, we have five members from different background, ethnic and places. Before we go for a trip, we have some orientation about our journey. My journey is to learn new things and it began when I met with my Myanmar team at Departure of Yangon International Airport to start for the journey. I have not enough ideas to think how the journey would make us to be unity, to be one and to be connected. I only thought how I could spend three weeks in another place which I never been with the strange people. To leave my work and my family behind made me feel something uncomfortable even though I have good enough motivation to learn new things.

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 After forty five minutes taking flight, spend around thirty minutes for immigration, I said HELLO to the Bangkok traffic. I thought here in Yangon, we have a terrible traffic, but I really appreciate the Thailand people who are really patient for travelling in the Bangkok which is a big modern city with a big traffic. At lunch time, it was started to meet with new friends from Laos firstly at Thai Volunteers Service Foundation which is host organization for our Mekong Journey. We introduced each other where we are from and what’s our name and so on. I was not able to recognize their name at that time and I was thinking it is really difficult to memorize the new names in shortly but later on it was not what I think. I spent about two hours in the office and I went to the Plaza which is nearest to the place we stayed. It is first time for me in Bangkok, and then I have so many things to learn but for me in the city, it was just a flashy time.

In evening about 6:00pm, we started on our Mekong Journey to Chiang Khong. I did not Picture2realize I am on a long journey starting from that day. In dawn, the mountains, trees and beautiful sky of Chaing Khong woke me up, and then I could say “Morning”, it is far 12 hours driving from Bangkok. When we arrived in the teacher camp, it is the place we would stay for next three weeks, it was around 9 am and a sunny morning. When I took off the bus, I saw the view of flowing river with surrounded mountains under the shining sun, which is our beloved Mekong. I smiled on myself as my habit when I see a lake/ river/sea and whispered myself softly that “Hello again Mekong” as I made my first greeting to Mekong at Cambodia on the way to Ho Chi Min City.

Picture3My friend, I know that I am not being able to tell you everything in detail that I learned from the journey with a few word because we discussed, shared and learned on so much things during three weeks. But in brief, in our training, we were introduced about the basic concept of Peace and Conflict, how to analysis on the root cause of conflict, personal reflection on inner peace and some topics addressed to the tools to respond to Conflict and some on political sciences and some which covered on the basic concept of Peace and Conflict Studies.

Apart from the theoretical sections and easy-happy sections, there is the media workshop for us consisting of Writing, Photography and Filming, which is the interesting section for me. In this section, we are divided into three groups that we could make freely choosing to include in which group. I was in the photography group, as you knew I am not really good at writing. And I loved taking photos by myself or to be taken. I understand that these three things are working together for the media to make people know what is happening in the universe. Nevertheless I think a nice photo or picture is able to express the meaning of something which is important. As we knew and as far as we have experiences in the trainings, we did not have these kinds of experiences that is the perfect combination of topics/theory and media which motivate us as a youth to act something in a way we can start easily and meaningfully in the concept of peace building.

Another interesting section is the community visit to local villages. In community visit, wePicture4 are assigned to take pictures on what we see and learn as a photography member. We have three communities visit in Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. First trip for community visit is at Thailand‘s village, named Ban Hoai Luke which is situated along Mekong River. We have two hours boat trip to the village for the brand new experiences even though only 45 minutes with the bus. Then I can feel and contact with the beauty of nature; flowing river, growing green trees and local small houses along the river. In the village, there are unforgettable memories such as culture show from our friends and the village and the food I have tasted in that place. It was really lucky for me to have a taste such a kind of fish soup, mushroom soup and pounded chilly with the sticky rice. The whole village only eat the sticky rice for the whole day meal with the soup as far as I saw. It is a nice village in well-being of economic, education and also communication.  We have some beautiful memories by staying one night in the village.

Then the second trip was to Laos, which is the place of the other side of where I stayed at Chaing Khong and the view I was looking at every morning and evening from the other side of Mekong River. During the trip, we stayed at hotel and visited around the village and tried to explore about the things in a short time we have. Invaluable thing I got in the trip is the experience of walking in evening along the river with my friends and conversation with the local man. I will tell the story of that evening because it was raining suddenly while we walked so we have to find the place to rest while raining. Luckily we have found a Continue reading

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