The Cooperation

CIRCLE
A United Religions Initiative in South East Asia and the Pacific January—April 2011

What’s inside:
World Interfaith Harmony Week  Women’s Month celebration  BaliSpirit Festival 2011  April 5: Golden Rule Day  New CC: WIN Australia  More Updates from Australia: Cultural Infusion, InterAction, Dya Singh World Music Group More News from the Philippines: Higa-onon Ha Migsabuwa Ta Lanao, Inc., Pakigdait Mindanao, Inc., Peacemakers’ Circle Foundation Inc., T.U.L.A.Y., G.R.O.W.T.H.  Prayers for Healing in Japan

World Interfaith Harmony week *Philippines
For the first celebration of the World Interfaith Harmony Week (February 1-7), The Peacemakers' Circle, in cooperation with United Religions Initiative in Southeast Asia-Pacific (URI-SEAP) and in partnership with the United Muslim-Christian Peacemakers Association (UMCPA) of Tala and the Muslim-Christian Youths for Peace and Development (MCYPD) held an Interfaith Harana (Friendship Serenade/visit to Faith Centers: Bahai Center, Buddhist temples, Sikh temple) on February 5, 2011 (Saturday).

*Malaysia

In celebration of the World Interfaith Harmony Week, MIN and INSAF cosponsored an Interfaith Open House on February 19, 2011 to promote interfaith awareness and harmony amongst the citizens. Dr. Amir Isahak delivered the Keynote Speech.

Women’s Month Celebration *Women Interfaith Network Foundation
On March 9, 2011, WIN Foundation with The Sikh Welfare Council of Victoria organized a gathering to celebrate the International Women’s Day. The 2 1/2 hours gathering had for its program a forum discussion on the role of women within their faith as led by a panel of Sikh women, and also prayers and singing of hymns. A vegetarian meal was served for all after the program.

*Peacemakers’ Circle Foundation, Inc.
The International Women's Day this year was celebrated not just by women but also by men and youths from different faiths at the open evening session of the Tuesday Inner Work Circle which featured an Interfaith Women's Dialogue Circle held on March 8, 2011 at The Peacemakers' Circle. With the theme:"The Role of Women in my Faith," insightful sharings from different spiritual traditions were heard. Among those who shared were: Sr. Ma. Arnold Noel, SSPS for Christianity; Sis. Rose Uy and Sis. Eda Valt from the Brahma Kumaris; Ms. Raquel Castillo from the Baha'i' Faith; Dr. Shakun Vaswani from Hinduism; Ms. Tomomi Shima from Shumei. Ms. Marwan Pialda and Alan Berguia (Muslim youths from Culiat); Mr. Sangkyu Lee (Jeung San Do); and Mr. Reimon Cosare (Tibetan) also shared from their faith traditions. Some also shared reflections on gender harmony and egalitarian spirituality. It was an enlightening and heart-warming evening of dialogue, solidarity, bonding, and gender harmony that was capped off by sharing of vegetarian snacks and lively conversations.

Indonesia: *BaliSpirit Festival 2011
―An extraordinary celebration of global cultural fusion. The true magic of the Bali Spirit Festival is the seamless melding of cultures and genres, there is no sense of us and them, just a sense of unity.‖ -Insight Bali Magazine

Love and Friendship Prayer for Japan

Ashram Gandhi Puri promotes peace through Sacred Arts

Exotic Balinese dancers

April 5: Golden Rule Day

*Posters courtesy of Malaysian Interfaith Network (MIN)
Imagine one day when people from all backgrounds came together to do something simply amazing. The Golden Rule is simple enough - treat others as you would wish to be treated; things like kindness, compassion & respect. Yet how amazing if we did this every day. That is what the Golden Rule Day is all about. A chance for people of all backgrounds and beliefs to come together around the shared value of the Golden Rule.

*InterAction Australia

Welcome new CC! *WIN Foundation Australia
The Women's Interfaith Network Foundation is a committee for women of different faiths and cultural backgrounds who come together and share their beliefs and traditions. This allows a creation of understanding and learning between different faiths and cultures.
Aims and Objectives: To provide an opportunity for women of different faiths and ethical backgrounds and who are of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to come together to share from their traditions. To address issues and concerns faced by women of different faiths and ethical backgrounds and of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds living in Australia. To mutually encourally and linguistically grounds to enrich tribution to Australian vidual faiths, ethics To encourage city/ connections and supamong women from ethical backgrounds linguistically diverse To support Victorian and linguistically diirrespective of their grounds, and aid and listic development. age women of culturdiverse backand enhance their consociety from their indiand values. country, rural/regional port across Victoria different faiths and and from culturally and backgrounds. children of culturally verse backgrounds, faith and ethical backassist them in their ho-

To act as a bridge between peoples and organisations and facilitate and promote the diverse contribution that culturally and linguistically diverse communities as well as the different faith and ethical traditions bring to mainstream culture in Victoria.

More Updates from Australia *Cultural Infusion
The Fairfield Amphitheatre Summer Concert Series is a Yarra City Council initiative that aims to create a more inclusive, tolerant and involved community. Since 2000, the Summer Concert Series has generated a sense of place where the contributions made to Melbourne life by culturally diverse communities are celebrated and supported. The concerts are free to people of all-ages and are held within the natural beauty of the Fairfield Amphitheatre on every Sunday throughout February. Cultural Infusion, a national not-for-profit arts and cultural organisation, has been chosen by Yarra Council to produce this much-loved, annual concert series.
Current Projects:

InterACT – Arts Project (2009 – 2012)
The InterACT Arts Project is a three year arts project funded by VicHealth as part of the Arts About Us initiative that partners professional artists from different cultural backgrounds with community groups in outer metropolitan, regional and rural areas to develop a music, dance, theatre and multimedia production that promotes diversity to mainstream audiences. The project, conducted in partnership with local governments in Wellington, Casey, Hume, Brimbank and East Gippsland provides opportunities to promote dialogue and cultural diversity at high-profile events such as the Australia Day Concert at Federation Square and at community and school events.

*InterAction Multifaith Youth Network
The iAct youth fellowship will bring together young leaders from diverse backgrounds to work for social change. The fellows will gain knowledge and skills for making a difference in our multicultural & multifaith society. Through peer-to-peer mentoring and targeted training in leadership & communication, each participant will be equipped with what they need to lead their communities towards greater multifaith co-operation. Acting on shared values the fellows will devise grassroots social action projects that involve various religious communities, as well as the secular mainstream. The fellowship will provide ongoing support to participants over an extended period to run these community service projects themselves. The young people targeted by our fellowship will already have access to extensive networks within their own communities. By tapping into the existing social networks and community capital this fellowship creates bridges between diverse groups, with a focus on common action. In this way we aim to foster genuine multifaith co-operation; with young people taking the lead.

*Dya Singh World Music Group
CULTURAL INFUSION INCURSION FEB. 2011

Student leadership and engagement program and global citizenship understanding by Cultural Infusion. Artists/cultural educators Jamel Kaur Dhillon, Dya Singh, Djammin and Gene Blow.

Teacher Professional Development Program run by Cultural Infusion artists, cultural educators, Dya Singh, Gene Blow, Djarrin Blow and Jamel Kaur Dhillon in Townsville, Feb 2011.

More News from the Philippines *Higa-onon Ha Migsabuwa Ta Lanao, Inc.
CHURCH AND MOSQUE VISITATIONS

On February 18, 2011 Batches 1, 2,3,4,5 and 8 interfaith youth groups from Rogongon, Panuroganan and Kalilangan have conducted Church and Mosque visitations to promote understanding among Higa-onons, Muslims and Christians and their beliefs/practices, also to promote unity among themselves and to eliminate biases and prejudices.

*Pakigdait Mindanao, Inc.
INTERFAITH RELFECTIVE DIALOGUE ON RH BILL Active in various peace-building efforts in their region, Pakigdait Mindanao, Inc. through a collaborative effort with the Interfaith Council and CAPOD, organized the Interfaith Dialogue on March 29, 2011, a venue which allowed for an intelligent sharing on a hot issue: Reproductive Health Bill, among participants representing civil society organizations, media and interfaith The participants after a fruitful and groups.
peaceful sharing of standpoints

COMMUNITY –BASED PEACEBUILDING AND DEVELOPMENTAL PLANNING

Project Assessment and Orientation for the pilot barangays of the municipality of Kauswagan for the implementation of integrated and sustainable development projects. A joint activity by the Assisi Developmental Foundation, LGU of Kauswagan LDN and Pakigdait Inc.

PAKIGDAIT INC. LEADS A STUDY TOUR ON PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT The 4th National Volunteer Summit with the theme “The Role of Volunteers in Building Authentic Peace and Human Development” held at Cagayan de Oro last April 8-10, 2011 was yet another enriching experience for peace workers and volunteers alike. The event provided an opportunity for volunteers and volunteer managers from organizations to interact with each other and learn various best practices in peace and development efforts. The study tour to Inudaran, Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte was es- Pakigdait Inc and other participants of National Summit pecially remarkable. It opened an awareness the 4th Cagayan VolunteersApril 2011 held in de Oro in and a better understanding of the journey towards authentic peace and development.
To learn more about Pakigdait Mindanao, search Pakigdait Peacework on Facebook

*Peacemakers’ Circle Foundation, Inc.
LIGHTS FOR PEACE: CHILDREN’S VOICES THROUGH ART After decades of conflict, long awaited Peace Talks are set to resume between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (also with the National Democratic Front and the Moro National Liberation Front). Four hundred children from diverse faith backgrounds gathered with artists, ritual leaders and indigenous musicians to channel the power of art and ritual for peace building. On February 7th, 2011 the children were invited to craft terracotta candle and flower holders inspired by the Tri-People culture of Mindanao.

The next day the children were joined by the President of the Philippines, leaders of the military, universities, police, government agencies, and NGOs for a ritual lighting of a peace mandala of candles featuring their clay creations. It was the call of the children to end armed conflict in their generation. It was a celebration of the end of the cycle of war, misunderstanding, and separation. It was a reminder of our interconnection across lines and generations. United, one light at a time, peace will shine.

*The project was made possible by United Muslim-Christian Peacemakers' Association of Tala, Peacemakers' Circle Foundation, 1Mandala, GINHAWA, and SangHabi.

ROBN PADILLA SPECIAL FILM SCREENING FOR THE PEACEMAKERS’ CIRCLE On March 24, 2011 The Peacemakers' Circle interfaith community was honored to have been invited to a special screening of TUM: MY PLEDGE OF LOVE latest film directed and produced by the Filipino action star, Mr. Robin Abdul Aziz Padilla, together with his new wife, Ms. Mariel Rodriguez-Padilla. Known to be the first Filipino film shot almost entirely in India, TUM speaks of the message that resonates well with the advocacy of The Peacemakers' Circle about peace, interfaith harmony and unity amidst diversity. Before the viewing the couple autographed a framed poster of the film and awarded it to The Peacemakers' Circle which was received by its founder/executive director, Ms. Marites Africa, who --on behalf of the officers and members, including the grassroots youths and leaders from the various communities present in the event-- thanked Mr. & Mrs. Padilla for the relevant work they have put into the film and for recognizing the organization.

TUM stars Robin Padilla and Mariel Rodriguez with the Muslim-Christian youth and PCFI staff

Actors with The Peacemakers’ Circle Foundation Executive Director and Board of Directors ,and Muslim friends

CULMINATION OF THE BOWES’ AWARD YOUTH LEADERSHIP AND THE MUSLIM-CHRISTIANS GRASSROOTS LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS On April 2, 2011 (Saturday) The Peacemakers' Circle celebrated the culmination of the Bowes’ Award and the Muslim-Christian Grassroots Leadership Programs and honored 75 youths and 16 leaders from the four grassroots communities of Tala, Caloocan City; Culiat, Quezon City; Maharlika & Upper Bicutan, Taguig City; and Quiapo, Manila. In partnership with the Miriam College Center for Peace Education, and supported by the United Religions Initiative-Southeast Asia-Pacific, and the Australian Embassy in Manila, the event was held at the ESI Conference Hall of Miriam College in Quezon City. The 75 Muslim and Christian youths were participants of a 10-session training program entitled Strengthening Interfaith Youth Leadership under the URI Bowes Award project that was awarded to The Peacemakers' Circle. The young participants came from two communities: 44 youths were from Tala, Caloocan City; and 31 from Culiat, Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The program Muslim-Christian youth performs started in October 2010 where each community the Doxology at the beginning of separately under went twice-a-month sessions of the Graduation program the same content. Towards the end of the program that two communities were merged. During the culminating event each community showcased their talents in order to present a synthesis of what they learned throughout the training. The audience were awe-inspired and touched by the creative presentations these talented youths painstakingly prepared for just a few weeks. They presented dances, drama, and songs which were intertwined to convey their messages of peace, unity and understanding. One of the most moving presentation was the doxology or dance interpretation of a prayer song that was performed by Muslim and Christian girls. The event also highlighted the recognition of the 16 Muslim-Christian grassroots leaders who have finished the training under the Strengthening Grassroots Interfaith Dialogue and Understanding Program of the Australian Embassy. This 9-month program consisted of twice-a-month action-reflection sessions with four Muslim-Christian leaders each from the four communities mentioned. In gratitude for their support in the work of The Peacemakers' Circle a plaque of appreciation was also awarded to the Australian Embassy in Manila. Towards the end of the program the youths and elders took pledge to continue striving to become peacemakers in their respective interfaith communities Australian Embassy representative receives a plaque of appreciation from the and being the change they wish to see in Peacemakers’ Circle Foundation, Inc. for project support the world.

*T.U.L.A.Y.
As an exposure activity for the non-Catholic members of TULAY, members of the group agreed to do a pilgrimage to the Loboc Big Cross in observance of the holy week. On April 20, 2011 the group walked 25 kms. from the town of Baclayon to the top of Loboc Hill where the Big Cross was located. As soon as they reached the top, the group shared questions and views for the purpose of understanding more deeply Catholic beliefs and practices. On Thursday, they did their Visita Iglesia. –Kristine Genita

*G.R.O.W.T.H.
Early in January 2011, GROWTH CC organized a mass feeding and in February 2011 a Leadership Training and some wellness-oriented activities as yoga exercise, talk on vegetarianism, cooking demo, facial massage and shiatsu services.

Prayers for Healing inJapan
On March 28, 2011 (Monday) The Peacemakers' Circle participated in an interfaith prayer service at the front of the Japan Embassy in the Philippines, for the healing of Japan and the rest of the ailing nations in the world. The event was spearheaded by the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) in cooperation with partner organizations such as the College of St. Benilde Social Action Center. A special participation to note was the presence of youth representatives from the Muslim-Christian Youths for Peace and Development (MCYPD) of Tala, Caloocan who brought with Crowd solemn in prayer them and offered the origami lotuses their young community previously made out of collected prayers for Japan which they have folded into the paper flowers used in the ceremony. The occasion was also graced by the presence of leaders from different religions who offered prayers from their faith traditions, namely: Dr. Shakuntala Vaswani (Hindu), Ven. Vincent Taguinod (Buddhist), Baba Surinder Singh (Sikh), Mr. Alan Berguia (Muslim), Mrs. Martha Taylor (Baha'i' Faith), Mrs. Tomomi Shima (Shinji Shumei Kai), and the religious sisters from the different Catholic congregations. Live musical accompaniment was provided by cultural artists Origami lotuses bearing the – peace advocates. The ceremony was capped-off by candle- prayers of Muslim-Christian youths on a sacred Mandala lighting.

Earth Day Celebration *Sandiwang Interfaith Festival
On April 24, 2011 (Easter Sunday in the Christian tradition) Earth Day was celebrated with Sandiwang (isang Diwa ng Pagdiriwang para sa Kalikasan), an interfaith gathering led by the Earth Day Network-Philippines. The whole day program started with interfaith prayers from over 20 different groups and civil society organizations, including the Peacemakers’ Circle Foundation. All offered solidarity prayers from their faith tradition. This was signaled by the ringing of the Peace Bell by the Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista. Among other faith groups present were: Baha'i' Faith;
URI SEAP Regional Coordinator Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University; Brazilian Shakuntala Vaswani lead a Hindu

Catholic Order; Day of Pentecost Church of Jesus Christ; Diliman Bible Church; Golden Cross Curcillo; H-World United Nations Military Philippine Government; IESU; House of Inter-Faith; Iglesia Ni Kristo; International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON/Hare Krishna); Multi-Tribal Movement in the Philippines, Inc. (Muslim); Persons with Disabilities Federation, Inc; Philippine Dao De Gong, Inc.; Samahang Bagong Babaylan; Shinji Shumei Kai; Pamayanang Saniblakas; Victorious Chosen People Ministry, Inc.; United Religions Initiative SEAP. There were booths set up by the various participating organizations. Tree seedlings were given away, discounted eco-products and wellness services well demonstrated and offered while performances were staged throughout the day.

Interfaith partakers gathering around the earth symbol in a sacred dance for the healing of

The afternoon was concluded with community Earth dancing and vortex meditation walk around the fountain at the Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City which served as the venue for the day-long event.