January 29, 2015 – Eight senior officials of the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction (MOPR) from Singh Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal visited the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) as part of their Study Tour on Peace Sensitive Development in Reference to Conflict Transformation and Peace Building.
This Study Tour hosted by the Asian Institute of Developmental Studies, Inc. (AIDSI)1, a Philippine-based international consultancy and training management organization, provided opportunities for the participants to gain and exchange knowledge and skills on the different peace building practices and strategies in the Philippines. Internal conflict in Nepal had gone on for more than a decade until the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on 21 November 2006. It has been eight years, and Nepal is in the critical stage of formalizing their transition plan with the aim of ensuring the realization of the Peace Sensitive Development Approach that the government of Nepal has been promoting. In this context, the eight officials of the MOPR were interested to learn from the Philippine experience, especially from the conflict transformation process the country is undergoing, and from its challenges in formulating peace sensitive development policies and programs.
AIMTEC Bridging Leadership fellows, Gen. Raymundo Ferrer (top photo) and Army Col. Benjamin Hao (bottom photo).
At the AIM, the MOPR officials were welcomed by the AIM TeaM Energy Center for Bridging Leadership (AIMTEC). Prof. Manuel De Vera, Executive Director of the AIMTEC, shared with them the work of the Center, particularly in conflict-affected Mindanao, through the center's most recent peace building initiative, the Mindanao Bridging Leaders Program (MBLP)2
. The guests were also introduced to the Bridging Leadership Framework as a social technology for addressing complex social divides, and likewise to the Center's mission of building a cadre of Bridging Leaders who can effectively address issues like peace, education, health, land conflicts, poverty, and poor local governance.
Two of the Center's Bridging Leadership Fellows shared their experiences in peace building with the guests. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer, Senior Vice President of Security and Administration at Nickel Asia Corporation and former Area Commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, spoke of the complex dynamics of conflict in the country and the challenges of multi-party, multi-interest issues. Army Col. Benjamin Hao, Head of the Faculty Department of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Command and General Staff College, recounted the different peace building interventions and innovations he initiated as then Battalion Commander of the 7th Infantry Battalion. He shared his insights and lessons learned as he worked to sustainably address rido3 and win peace in North Cotabato and Maguindanao.
The discussion was followed by a lively Q&A with Gen. Ferrer and Col. Hao, with the participants relating their own context to that of the Philippines. Prof. Nieves Confesor, former Executive Director of the AIMTEC, wrapped up the discussion, citing the continuing challenge to win peace.
The eight officials from Nepal had the opportunity to visit several other institutions around Metro Manila as well, including the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) where they were able to engage Dr. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Chair of the Peace Panel of the Government of the Philippines. They also visited the Armed Forces of the Philippines – Civil Military Operations School (AFP-CMO) where they learned about the different peace building programs and projects in the Philippines.
1 For more information on the Asian Institute of Developmental Studies, Inc., visit their website at http://www.aidsi.org/main
3 "Rido" is a term commonly used in Mindanao to refer to clan feuds, which include violent retaliatory acts enacted by families or clans aiming to avenge a perceived injustice. Clan feuds in Mindanao cause numerous casualties, the destruction of property, and the displacement of families.