GOODYEAR, Arizona — There are two important events for the Bangsamoro people this week. As much as I wanted to be present in both, unfortunately, I need to travel to Washington DC to deliver a paper the 17th Conference of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID). The other activity the Titayan Peace Symposium.
With national elections in the near term and the peace process recovering from setbacks of the Mamasapano incident, an entirely new political strategy and coalition is required by the supporters of Bangsamoro autonomy in order to make a case developing and tabling new legislation before the Congress and preventing the efforts of political spoilers.
Therefore, peace builders within and outside the Bangsamoro gathered through the efforts of the Friends of Peace to plan for a Titayan Symposium on Bridging Peace: Inclusive Political Transitions in the Bangsamoro.
Titayan is the Maguindanaoan word for “bridge” and represents our understanding that the current challenges need to be addressed through dialogue. By strengthening an inclusive and transformative process, stakeholders can connect the achievements so far with the next phase of peace building after the national elections. For the activity to be a trusted space for genuine dialogue, it will be hosted by credible entities, thus, the Friends of Peace headed by Cardinal Quevedo, and Ateneo de Davao University through the Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia, were invited to play the roles of conveners and hosts.
The overall goal is to organize an inclusive and transformative dialogue with substantive stakeholders in the peace process in order to connect the achievements of the peace process so far with the next phase of peace building after the national elections. The intention is to the maximize momentum gained with the signing and initial implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro and avoid a “back-to-zero” approach by the to-be-elected government towards the Bangsamoro peace process.
In particular, the Friends of peace organizers identified 7 major challenges to the peace process in transition (see attached annex below) that need to be addressed in the discussions. Thus, invitations will be made to strategic civil society partners, substantive actors and political stakeholders in the peace process to participate in the symposium.
The specific objectives are as follows. A. Sharing local best practices from the current peace process; B. Learning from international best practices engaging prolonged and complex political transitions; C. Examine and respond to the identified challenges of the political transition by building on local and international best practices; D. Creating a methodology for effective follow-on engagement and implementation.
The other event with CSID 17th Annual conference, which will take place in Washington DC, on 21st of April 2016. The main theme of the conference will be: “Democratization, Authoritarianism, and Radicalization: Exploring the Connections”.
I may be far from my own office and town in Mindanao, but my heart and soul are grounded in addressing any form of injustice, threat to democracy, and threat to the entire Muslim ummah in the world.