Ready to be Peace Builders in Mekong Region

Working Group for Peace (WGP) in Cambodia and Thai Volunteer Service Foundation (TVS) in Thailand had accomplished fruitfully its significant role as Mekong Working Group for Peace (MWGP) in the regional learning process for young adult along Mekong River known as Mekong Peace Journey (MPJ) in 2011. As the result from MPJ 2011, most of participants have been working together with strong commitment for peace in their own country as well as regional level. Seeing this strong movement and cooperation of those young adult along Mekong River, MWGP had designed the second Mekong Peace Journey (MPJ) to increase and to strengthen networking for sustainable working together as a big family of MPJ to promote peace building understanding.

The Power of Mekong Peace Journey 2011

The Power of Mekong Peace Journey 2011

The Second Mekong Peace Journey (MPJ) had been held since July 7th-29th, 2012 in the cross border called Golden Triangle of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar/Burma for 25 participants from Mekong countries of Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar/Burma, excepting China which were not be able to engage in this year. The participants are young adults from diverse backgrounds to learn and live together over Peace Building related to peace concept, conflict resolution, nationalism, pluralism and identities in practical way with field trip to the real situation.

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In the context of painful from the conflicts caused by missed-understanding of ‘historical biases’, ‘political distrust’, ‘cultural prejudice’ among people and country level of Mekong country. Moreover, labor migration, drug and human trafficking, are happening seriously so those kinds of issues have been creating unsustainable political situation of government and distrust relationship and hatred among people to people. Environmental issues along Mekong River is also increasing which is facing to people living which we cannot deal only in one country so we need to come-out to unite as a Big family among 6 Mekong countries with the power for better changes in our Region. Additionally, without serious reflection and understanding the root cause of those conflicts, the people will be easily influenced by one-side information creating extremely nationalism and hatred from generation to generation.

All the above mentioned issues have been happening such a long time as well as in the present time which we all along Mekong River should not be silent in the common understanding of Peace building because Peace is not only one issue, Conflict or war, but it is also our daily problems such as environment, politic, religion, education, justice, principally the ‘Living Standard’ of the people which we cannot deal only one problem and we said we have peaceful country.

In responding to the above issues, our new MPJ generations in 2012 are ready to be a Big MPJ family as Peace Builder in Mekong region. In 22 days of the journey, participants had learnt deeply of Peace concept and conflict resolution with serious reflection and analysis to the social issues. Within those tension and critical sessions, we had as well taken their attention to get to know inside themselves called Self-understanding, self-awareness and Self-value. It is the basic need knowledge we, Mekong youth, need to know because it help ourselves to be strong inside to open heart enough to learn outside things with open-minded to share with others confidently. Moreover, the Word Dialogue we might used to hear in talking and sharing as group of people, but here the word Dialogue is used to reflect inside ourselves to get Self-understanding. Dialogue with yourselves, read yourselves is the best practice for your inner Peace. “It is useless to know many things outside yourselves but did not know even yourselves who you are” said by Prof. Dr. Parichart Suwanbubbha, Director of Institute of Human Rights and Peace studies, Mahidol University.

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The session during Journey “Inter-religion and Peace Building”

Sharing and Discussing among Mekong Youth

Sharing and Discussing among Mekong Youth

On the other hand, with different method of our Resource person, trainer, to aware and to burn heart of participants through Identities, Sources of Power, Pluralism, Nationalism, Conflict analysis/mapping on Identities and Nationalism, conflict transformation, Continue reading

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On the Right Track toward Brighter Future of Yangon Youth

by May Aung Su, Myanmar

On November, 7, 2012, there were nearly ninety of youths in a dark meeting hall under the little hot weather and time was 5:00pm in the evening. Nevertheless, we still listened keenly the presentation of friends about the issues explored and discussed the whole day, even though the electricity was lost for a while when the time is getting dark. You might ask what the discussion was and what for. All youths would say “Yes, we do have strong reasons for being here on that day”. That day was Yangon Youth Workshop organized by the Networking and Communication Committee which is emerged from the strategic workshop for becoming Myanmar Youth Forum on 2012 under the lead and organized by youths who attended Asian Youth Forum, youths from My Forum, youths from NGOs and other interesting individual youths for the purpose of emerging youth network over the whole country, policies for youths ‘opportunity, responsibility and rights and raising youths’ voices which is reflected youths’ current situation, difficulties and challenge.

 

Before the Myanmar Youth Forum (12 December 2012), there would be the youth forums of seven states and seven divisions over the whole country. Yangon Youth Workshop was the first workshop among those forums and from the workshop, we would have the Yangon Youth Statements which is represented the issues, ideas, suggestions and voices of youths within Yangon Division. In the workshop, there were sixty seven of youths as participants from NGOs, individuals, universities, and youths from politics sector and even from associations for disability and total is nearly ninety by adding organizers, reporters and observers under the facilitation of organizers from Networking and Communication Committee (MYF). After the MYF presentation of committee and introduction each other, organizers/facilitators collected every issues from each of youths. By discussion for the main issues, advising on the issues and getting agreements, we were being able to finalize the main eleven issues from all of participants. The following are “The Main Eleven Yangon Youths’ Issues”:

(1)   Youth and Education                                                                                                                 (2)   Youth and Job opportunity                                                                                                   (3)   Youth and Environment                                                                                                       (4)   Youth and Information Technology (including media)                                                    (5)   Youth and Health                                                                                                                  (6)   Youth and Leadership/Empowerment                                                                               (7)   Youth and Politics                                                                                                                   (8)   Youth and Human Rights                                                                                                        (9)   Youth and Peace                                                                                                                        (10)  Youth and Culture and Art                                                                                                 (11)  Youth and Narcotic/ Drugs

In advance discussion section on each issue, everyone in the workshop set the criteria of being a representative on behalf of all youths in Yangon Division. Twenty of youths among youths who participated in the workshop would be selected as the representatives for Myanmar Youth Forum by voting of every participant. Then everyone chose freely to discuss and focus on one issue by exploring background history, finding root causes and stakeholders, policy recommendations and youth commitment. Therefore as we have eleven issues, eleven group discussions were organized and there were representatives who nominated and selected from the each group for being voted to become representatives of Yangon Division for MYF. During the nominated representatives’ presentation, the rest of youths voted at the same time.

Personally, I do believe that everything is not enough by only asking to the superior for fulfillment of everyone, but everyone has to start doing things as much as we can from where we are. Therefore I think as personally, youth commitment is a vital role of the day of workshop. Finally even though, we have a few things not smooth in the workshop, nevertheless we, as youths did have great discussion on important issues and twenty valuable Yangon youth representatives for MYF successfully. Now under the guiding, organizing of the committees of Myanmar Youth Forum and active participation of youths, we strongly believe we are on the right track to the way of brighter future by making, collecting and raising our voices.

Our Voices! Our Rights! Our Society!

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We are not on the Way to Peace but On the Peace Way by Walking together

“Active participation from public even children in march for peace”

On 21st September, 2012, Working Group for Peace (WGP) which is the Volunteer Peace Builder group in Cambodia under co-funding supported by AFSC, Danmision, CRS, CLEC, YRDP, ACT, PBO, CYN, KCD, CPCS, CINA Travel, SK, DKA, WPM, took its role to organize the annual event of International Day of Peace in eight province/ city of Kampong Cham, Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang, Siem Reap, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, and Preah Vihear province and Phnom Penh capital city. The event was organized in the purpose of rising awareness of people in Peace building to get one global ceasefire (Stop-Shooting) in community, country and the world among people to people and people to state. We believe it will rise up the ideal of peace in both people and state even in a small step but it will make the change in difference of the real Non-violence world.

“The event had strong cooperation with authority to enable the smooth march”

“Flying balloon with the peace message: ‘Sustainable Peace for sustainable Future’ ”

Within the above 7 provinces, the International Day of Peace had been accomplished successful in Siem Reap province starting at the same time on 21st September with the common approach by marching for peace escorting with the Peace Message, what the International Day of Peace means, why we need to celebrate it. The message also mentioned that Peace cannot achieve and make only today but we need to practice it every day from now on in group and individual. Moreover, the most effective thing is that we were worry about participants but when the day of event in the morning we got more and more participants from 234 registered and up to almost 300 persons such as monks, students, authority, and other local people older and younger. The march was started from Kesararam pagoda across Siem Reap’s river and came back to the park in front of Preah Domnak. Along the road, our marching had influenced to the mass to draw their attention to what we were doing. The event is very effective to rise up their awareness on peace building getting to know how to build peace and keep it which we do not do it only one day but every year and keep it in spirit in daily life.

Ms. Emma, the Director of CPCS, said in her office after the event that “I hate this event, The International Day of Peace and such walking or marching for peace as I think that we cannot get peace just only one day with the march, what about the rest of these days? But right here and right now, I have changed my thought toward the marching on the International Day of Peace. It is very important and effective to influence to people’s mind commemorating in Peace building.

At the last, even we did not finish our event smoothly but we do appreciate all participants had come to join our event in last minute which we did not expect to get so many participant around 300 people. This is the symbol of awareness of people in peace building with strong commitment participation listening to the Peace Statement under the rain. We strongly hope this concept will be deeply rooted in their mind on peace practice.

If you really Love it, please come to join us on this way and go together in harmony.

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International Day of Peace 2012

Welcome for All people, Nation, Ethnic and Religion for Peace!

The Celebration of International Day of Peace on 21st September, Working Group for Peace (WGP) will take its role as the Volunteer Peace builder with the support from NGOs network such as AFSC, Danmisioni, CRS, ACT, PBO, CYN, KCD, CPCS, CINA Travel, SK, DKA, WPM in Cambodia to organize this value annual event in Seven province ( Kampong Cham, Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang, Siem Reap, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, and Preah Vihear) and Phnom Penh capital city in the very peaceful way by Walking for Peace in the purpose of Rising awareness of people in Peace building to get one global ceasefire (Stop-Shooting) in community, country and the world among people to people and people to state. We believe it will rise up the ideal of peace in both people and state even in a small step but it will make the change in difference of the real Non-violence world.
We, WGP will organize at the same time in the morning from 8am-12pm with the participants in between 100-500 people.  For Phnom Penh capital city, we will meet together and start walking at Wat Phnom resort.

Let’s come out Together from Now on to the future in the Day of Peace on 21st September if you Really want Peace in yourself, Family, Community, country and the world!

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Hand In Hand Change We Made

by Mint, Vietnam

In a very short time, hot time and hot issues after Mekong Peace Journey (MPJ) 2011, Miss Mint, one of participants from Vietnam, take an essential role in Media accomplishing two creative Mekong Peace Newsletters writing and updating what happening in Mekong countries. In here, it is the Volume 2 of her Newsletter achievement which ate her time to communicate people who are the network to update every issue. She spend her time the most to accomplish this during her busy time at university life. This Volume 2 will give you the inspiration, motivation, perception, and awareness for youth in the purpose of Peace building in our Mekong region.  If you want to get to know more what happening in our Mekong region, what peace means, please find to read the full article below:

Download the Newsletter Volume 2: Mekong Peace Newsletter_36 pages_21_March 2012

The more you Read; the more you like; the more you Know & the more you experience it!

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A Journey To Read Myself And Yours

The experience of internship program in Thailand after MPJ Training 2011

by Rithy, Cambodia

I felt so very impressive on the kind of learning process of Mekong Peace Journey 2011(MPJ), especially this Internship Program which could experience my life in the context of peace building in community, country and regional level by starting firstly in building inner peace for myself. At the first I did not realize myself who has chance to learn about peace among Mekong region as my Economics background.

During two months and half, I have been placed Essan(Surin, Sisaket) with Essan Community Forest, Easthern (Rayong province) with Rak Khao Chamao Preservation Group, Bangkok city with Thai Volunteer Service Foundation (TVS), and Southern part (Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat) with Peace Witness Volunteer Project (PWVP). I have learnt many things from various Organizations in practical way in various issues such as forest preservation, environment, economy, politic situation, democratic system, life style, education system, etc. At the first trip, I have question for myself that “I apply for this internship in the purpose of learning about Peace Building, but when I come here, I did not focus much about war or conflict directly, so how and what the relation between those kinds of problem to peace building”. Actually, if I talk about Peace, I will think of the conflict or war but it was not right at all; Peace does not focus on only one issue Conflict or war but it is the daily problem such as environmental, political, religion, education, justice, especially the living standard of people which we cannot deal only one problem and we said we have peaceful country. My definition of Peace is we need to see the living standard of people whether they have happiness what they get and what they still need to live peacefully. Even there is no war in the country but we need to see the social justice and the real happiness of the people.

Moreover, along the whole trip beside learning the above issues, one another important thing is we the three-interns have learnt the very valuable lesson from each other which other Mekong friend have no much chance like us to go together in the purpose of overcoming all kind of missed understanding, prejudice, stereotype which came from ‘historical biases’. We went together anytime anywhere we placed even eating and sleeping. I found that the theory is word easy to say but hard to practice, it is very different. Sometime, we said ‘please do not discrimination the other but one day one time you have discrimination to the other with unknown’. So what I am going to do with this unknown attitude that affected to other, it will be daily Self-reflection. You know? What I did wrong is not very important but whether I realized what I did is wrong or right to others.

Funny together

Enjoy together

Me and Linh

Pray together

Me and Zack

Furthermore, since I have joined this program of MPJ and internship, I am getting to know myself more and more with the real practice of internship in Thailand for two months and half from what I have learnt in MPJ 2011 as theory. I am getting to learn from inside myself more which is the most beautiful thing and all people should learn from themselves more and more than learning from outside, but learning from inside seems not too easy and so interesting for people. Isn’t it? Because we cannot see ourselves; what we saw is our shadow. So who are we? Who are you? Who I am? How can I see myself? My both eyes can see the very far things but cannot even my nearest nose which is close to itself. The beautiful thing that I and all people have to learn is to Dialogue with ourselves, Read ourselves to get self-understanding because the most beautiful learning is not from out-side ourselves, it will be Learning from inner-side called Self-understanding. I think it will be useless to get to know many things outside yourself but did not know who you are.                                                                                        Let’s Start together to Read and Dialogue with Ourselves!                                                                                                                                                                                        All in all, this internship provided me the value exploration in both out-side and inner-side. It have space for me to see real practice after MPJ to strengthening mutual understanding between Thailand and Cambodia, meanwhile I also have time to build strong relation with my interns-mate from Vietnam and Laos. If I did not have that chance to move to the real practice, I might still not be able to overcome those kinds of root cause of conflict among Thailand-Cambodia and other Mekong countries, so it will be just the Theory in Mind.

Peace is what we all need to kn0w and apply in any environment and every breath of Life!

“Keep in Touch but Don’t Touch”

 

One another part of the interesting learning process in my internship inspiring me to go back for one-year Volunteer Continue reading

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To live, To coexist in the World Difference

The experience from MPJ 2011

by Molika, Cambodia

Mekong Peace Journey July 2011, I was surprising to see an application form that sent by my Inter-faith Peace of Cambodia Manager. The purpose of this journey was to promote peace’s harmony between youths along Mekong Countries. It reflected to my thought about Mekong Country’s images that composed of 6 countries: Cambodia, China, Lao, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. I thought about many countries’ interaction outside the border between those countries, the integration among cultures, economics, politics and educations in the future. Wow…, how wonderful they are!!!!!                                               What? Really? Why? Where? Who? When? How? “Regional Integration Possible!” a 5WH and R’s questions flashed from my heart and knocked my head. The Introduction of Association South-East Asia Nations, Understand Political Systems in Fives Major’ ASEAN Nations, Political Economy, United Nations System, International Organizations, Theory of International Relations, Comparative Political Systems, Contemporary of Political Systems, and my senior paper’s  Racial Discrimination Against Ethnic Groups in Cambodia courses that made me scared about a massively of violence in the future which could cause of economic scarcity because of indirect control from foreign direct investments, balance of powers between China and Japan, and culture socked across countries. The conflict between Cambodia and Thailand, recently, border and temple issues made me awake and doubted about state’s obligations vs. citizen wills.                                                                                                 Beside of doubtful and unbelievable things I have heard of, I decided to apply for this journey and I passed. During this journey, there were some points that surprised and amazed me. It held along border’s Thailand and Khmer and totally consisted of 27 people who came from difference countries as Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam at Surin, Thailand and Oudor Meanchey Province on 11-28 July, 2011.

Along the ways going to Mekong Peace Journey

Departure day: July 11, 2011: In the early morning around 6:30 AM, I was running to the van station that was not far from my home at Phsar Kandal Market. Due to I booked a van for Cambodia’s group to Siem Reap before reaching the Oudor Meanchey. The van and I went to pick up our colleagues at 7:00 AM at CLEC office on 11 July, 2011 but one of our colleagues was late and we waited him until 8:00 AM

Because of him, we didn’t have breakfast until 10:30 AM in Kampong Thom.

Then at 12:30 PM, we arrived at Siem Reap and had lunch again at a small restaurant along Siem Reap Lake. It was so funny for us because we just had breakfast at 11:00 AM.

Welcome to Oudor Meanchey Province!

It was not so far from Siem Reap at 3:00 PM; my group arrived at Oudor Meachey Province and dropped some of our packages at Grand Pa’s house named Kouy and we were continuing our journey to the border between Khmer and Thai in order to reach our destination in Thailand on time.

Around 4:00 PM, We arrived at Osmarch Boarder of Khmer and Thais. We were filling a form that I had never done before, even though; I have been there for several times.

“100 Baht for each visitor to pass Thai border”

I was wondering, “is it a ticket’s fee for get into Thailand or because we are Khmer” I was afraid of my security in Thailand and I wanted to come back home! But thankful to our committee’s Pon that was immediately intervention.

 

Welcome to Thailand! 

At 5:30 PM, we arrived at Houy Saneing, Surin Province, Thailand, and I met my roommates. I shared a room with Tum from Thailand and Thanh from Vietnam. They were so cute and lovely to me. We always shared our mutual understanding and waked up each other in every morning.

At 8:00 PM after dinner, in order to know more about each other, Cambodian team led a game to know our participants named and their favorites. It took almost 2hours for us to remember all their names, favorites, positions, and countries. However, it was so excited to know people or friends that come from different   countries.

  ^__^    To Read this Full Interesting Article of the Amazing Journey, please see in :    Molika Reflection on Mekong Peace Journey 2011

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