ART OF PEACE
In 2001, when Pongjit Saphakhun and I were invited to assist in a regional Youth Ambassador for Peace initiative, we unexpectedly found ourselves having to prepare a full 10-day conflict resolution module for peace activists from Burma, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. This was certainly a challenge but also inadvertently became an opportunity to explore new ideas and adapt our existing ‘toolkit’ of exercises to this context.
Since then, Makhampom has conducted workshops with peace workers from 15 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, facilitating workshops in Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Australia. A significant amount of this work has been in the southern-most provinces of Thailand and the refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border from which the interest in producing a trainer’s manual has particularly been stimulated.
This process has been valuable in giving us experience with communities living in conflict situations and introducing us to many of the peace activists, practitioners, theorists, and organizations involved in this field, providing an insight of what Makhampom has to offer. As such, we have realized the interest in our approach derives from the need to continually explore new, creative ideas as conflicts emerge in different contexts and dimensions.