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Peaceful Myanmar Initiative with Support from KAICIID publishes Dialogue Manual

13 February 2017

After months of collaboration with the Peaceful Myanmar Initiative (PMI) and KAICIID published a Myanmar-focused Study Guide for Dialogue and Peace. The interreligious dialogue and conflict resolution manual is a reference tool for peace educators in Myanmar who are facilitating dialogue trainings and other capacity building activities in their communities.

Authored by Dr. Tatsushi Arai, professor of peacebuilding and conflict transformation at the Graduate Institute of the School for International Training, USA, and expert in conflict resolution, conflict analysis, religion and identity, the English/Burmese study guide details facilitating dialogue, planning interreligious activities, conflict analysis and case studies, and will supply the PMI network of dialogue facilitators with the guidance that they need to promote sustainable dialogue.

This manual will be an essential tool in the work of PMI, which focuses on building and training a network of interreligious dialogue advocates who aim to build social cohesion in their communities. These advocates are being trained by experts in a series of trainings that have been ongoing in the country since December 2016. The most recent training of the trainers took place in Yangon from 13 to 17 February, and brought together 16 future dialogue facilitators representing Buddhist and Muslim communities, academic institutions and NGOs from the areas of Bago, Kanbalu, Lashio, Mandalay and Yangon.

The training was facilitated by Dr. Arai, who introduced the participants to the systematic analysis and transformation of conflict and how to design, implement, evaluate and follow up on social cohesion trainings that can have long-lasting social impact. By exploring the roles of religious identity in conflict and conflict transformation, the participants acquired practical skills and methods for facilitating interreligious dialogue and promoting social cohesion.

Furthermore, the training focused on methods for effective messaging through the usage of social media as a space for promoting peaceful dialogue and preventing hate speech, facilitated by the Myanmar ICT Development Organization (MIDO).

Peaceful Myanmar Initiative (PMI) is a multi-religious and inclusive network composed of 15 prominent religious leaders from different faith traditions (Buddhism, Christianity and Islam) and civil society organizations aiming to promote peaceful dialogue across Myanmar. Led by respected religious leaders and civil society activists, the PMI is working in partnership with KAICIID to pilot various IRD activities and trainings in selected regions in Myanmar. PMI and its partners aim to serve as sustainable dialogue network to build bridges between religious, ethnic, political and regional communities in Myanmar.  

KAICIID’s Myanmar Country Programme

The Myanmar programme focuses on the development of interreligious networks as part of local peace advocacy efforts, with the aim to revive the spirit of tolerance in the country. The purpose is to contribute to the active involvement of religious actors and community leaders in the efforts to promote acceptance, mutual respect and social cohesion. KAICIID’s activities in 2017 will centre on the implementation and follow-up of the Action Plan that was adopted in 2016 by the members of the Peaceful Myanmar Initiative. They will focus on capacity building activities in key pilot regions in Myanmar, through the provision of expertise on IRD methodologies and tools in promoting dialogue in conflict situations.