Training Religious Leaders to Dialogue in Myanmar
A few dozen kilometres east of Mandalay, over the lush hills of central Myanmar, there is a monastery hosting a small training centre for young peacebuilders. Supported by the Peaceful Myanmar Initiative (PMI), KAICIID’s local partner in Myanmar, the centre hosts trainings in interreligious dialogue, intercultural communication and peacebuilding for religious leaders, community leaders and young activists.
The Centre has developed a series of dialogue trainings with the aim of promoting understanding in the country through religious leaders and peacebuilders. Training in dialogue helps them deal with conflict, accept others and be a positive force for understanding and respect in their communities.
“What I learned from the training is that dialogue is learning, understanding and valuing what others have to say and listening patiently, and I enjoy it,” said Anyananyani, a Buddhist nun and trainee from Mandalay.
By creating spaces for dialogue among members of different religious communities in Myanmar, the centre allows them to put into practice communication and dialogue skills. It also offers them the opportunity to engage through visits to local religious sites such as Hindu temples, churches, and Muslim holy sites.
"One thing I take from this training is how to explain to the other in a way that they want to understand what others have to say by listening," said the Venerable Teikka Sara Lankara, a Buddhist monk from Yangon. "From the conflicts at the national level to the personal level, dialogue is the way to solve it.”
Since 2016, KAICIID has supported independent religious leaders and actors who advocate for tolerance, social cohesion and reconciliation in Myanmar. KAICIID supported the establishment of the PMI, a network dedicated to promoting peace in Myanmar through dialogue, and was instrumental in the establishment of the training centre in the Mandalay region.