May 2011

Doctrine Divides, Action Unites



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 Twenty SOP Alumni Added to ICF Network
Bruce Van Voorhis
Months of learning and living together came to an end on May 14 for the 20 participants of Interfaith Cooperation Forum’s (ICF) 2012 School of Peace (SOP). The issues, experiences and cultures of 12 nations, including countries from outside of Asia for the first time, and the insights and wisdom of four faiths were shared by those attending ICF’s fifth SOP. With the addition of these 20 new SOP alumni, the ICF network now comprises more than 80 young people in 16 countries. [Read more]

Mario Vaz
This poem, based on Genesis 1:31, is taken from the book Human Icons, Sacred Stories by Francoise Bosteels and is inspired by the dolls Bosteels has created over the years since she arrived in India as a Catholic nun from Belgium in 1974. Her dolls, which are usually created during the stillness of the night when she is alone, are based on people’s lives and experiences she has witnessed daily in India. Her dolls, and poems like this one, were exhibited on May 5 during the Bhoomi Habba (Celebration of the Earth)—the name given to this year’s Festival of Justpeace that has been held near the conclusion of nearly every School of Peace (SOP) conducted by Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF) since 2006. [Read more]

 A Buddhist Justpeace Maker
Ngamsuk Ruttanasatian
The Thai author, a lecturer at Mahidol University in Bangkok and an active member of the Center for JustPeace in Asia (CJPA) regional network since 2001, shares his reflections about the need for inner peace in order to effectively work for outer peace based on the wisdom of his Buddhist faith. It was published in the first book jointly produced by CJPA and Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF) entitled Our Stories, Our Challenges: The Search for JustPeace in Asia Today. [Read more]

  A Bonded Parrot Flies in the Sky
Laxmi Maharjan and Anita Rai
Kamaiyas, or bonded laborers, are now free in Nepal, the authors explain, but this freedom has not necessarily translated into a life free from poverty. [Read more]

 Pakistan’s Maimed Democracy Denies Its Citizens the Right to Vote
Asian Human Rights Commission
Concern is expressed in this statement about the discrimination faced by one of Pakistan’s religious minorities, the Ahmadis, and the restrictions placed on their right to fully participate in the political life of the nation where they are citizens. [Read more]

  Quietly and Effectively, Pakistanis Address Development Challenges
Zahed Amanullah
Through this article, the author gives much-needed attention to important grassroots initiatives in which people participate in improving their own lives. As the author rightly concludes, “they deserve our support.” And they should be emulated. [Read more]

 Concern for the Safety of Sri Lankan Bishop
Asian Human Rights Commission
After sharing his views with the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) about the Tamil people who disappeared during the concluding months of Sri Lanka’s nearly three decades of civil war, the Catholic bishop of Mannar, the Most Rev. Joseph Rayappu, was questioned by the police. Given the history of extrajudicial killings and disappearances in the country, there is now anxiety about the bishop’s own safety. [Read more]