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Engaged Buddhism: INEB to Join PeaceCon@10 Forum on COVID, Climate, and Conflict

Representatives from the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) and affiliated organizations will speak at an online workshop on peace-building and human rights in Southeast Asia on 27 January. The regional panel is being conducted as part of PeaceCon@10, the 10th annual PeaceCon forum organized by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the Alliance for Peacebuilding. PeaceCon@10 runs from 26–28 January under the theme “Covid, Climate, and Conflict: Rising to the Challenges of a Disrupted World.”

INEB Executive Secretary Somboon Chungprampree will be one of seven panelists participating in PeaceCon@10’s Regional MEL Session – Thailand. He will speak on the theme “Interfaith Peace-building Challenges and Opportunities in Closing Civic Spaces,” alongside INEB affiliates Ouyporn Khuankaew and Ginger Norwood, co-founders of the International Women’s Partnership for Peace and Justice, and social activist Wah Wah Yu of Spirit in Education for Peacebuilding, Myanmar.

Other participants in the Regional MEL Session – Thailand are: Elizabeth Baldwin, technical advisor to Networks for Peace, FHI 360;  Dr. Waraporn Chamsanit, gender equality and social inclusion advisor to Networks for Peace, FHI 360; and Santi Nindang, Thailand country coordinator, Networks for Peace, FHI 360.

An announcement about the special session shared with BDG stated:

This workshop will organize around one overarching question: How might we better harness the influence of religious actors and safeguard their work to achieve broader peace-building and human rights objectives? We will explore two specific aspects of this issue through the stories of peace-building practitioners, and then ask participants to dialogue around their own experiences and brainstorm solutions. The two learning objectives of the session are to i) identify factors that support religious actors’ active involvement in peace-building and human rights activities, especially in contexts that are experiencing rising authoritarianism and ethno-religious conflicts; and ii) develop ideas for how we can create more inclusive spaces for intra- and interfaith engagement and safeguard the participation of religious actors in activities that promote peace and human rights objectives. 

The Regional MEL Session – Thailand: Interfaith Peace-building Challenges and Opportunities in Closing Civic Spaces will be conducted via Zoom on 27 January at the following times: 

Auckland: 10:30pm, Thursday 27 January
Canberra: 8:30pm, Thursday 27 January
Seoul, Tokyo: 6:30pm, Thursday 27 January
Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei: 5:30pm, Thursday 27 January
Bangkok, Jakarta: 4:30pm, Thursday 27 January
India Standard Time: 3pm, Thursday 27 January
Moscow: 12:30pm, Thursday 27 January
Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm: 10:30am, Thursday 27 January
London: 9:30am, Thursday 27 January
Montreal, New York: 4:30am, Thursday 27 January
Los Angeles, Vancouver: 1:30am, Thursday 27 January

Click here to register for the Regional MEL Session – Thailand: Interfaith Peace-building Challenges and Opportunities in Closing Civic Spaces

Somboon Chungprampree is a Thai social activist and engaged Buddhist working for Peace and Justice in Asia. He has held board-level roles with several civil society organizations and foundations in Asia and around the world. As well as serving as executive secretary of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) since 2010, Somboon is an international program director for the Spirit in Education Movement (SEM), which works to empower civil society in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand; and works with the Sathirakoses-Nagapradipa Foundation, a Thai NGO established in 1968; the School for Well-being Studies and Research; and Wongsanit Ashram. He is also the editor of the tri-annual Seeds of Peace journal.

The annual PeaceCon forum is a platform for frontline peace-builders, policymakers, philanthropists, and private-sector and civil-society leaders to engage in dialogue and to develop short-term and long-term action plans to work toward a more peaceful and secure world.

INEB executive secretary Somboon Chungprampree

“This year’s conference comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, displacement, disinformation, and democratic backsliding are just a few of the disruptions facing the peace-building field and peace-builders are rising to meet these challenges,” the Alliance for Peacebuilding said in an announcement for PeaceCon@10. “At the same time, the world is grappling with the effects of climate change. Rising temperatures, a melting Arctic, worsening droughts, and wildfires present a danger to human life and the future of our planet as climate impacts drive conflict and insecurity. This all comes at a time when the world is experiencing a 25-year high in violent conflict and violence. Today, more than 80 million people are displaced globally, and an estimated 235 million people need humanitarian assistance and protection—the highest numbers in modern history. We hope you will join us as we gather and examine these challenges and strategize a path forward.” (Alliance for Peacebuilding)

Click here to register for PeaceCon@10

Following an online format, PeaceCon@10 aims to attract a diverse cadre of voices, experts, and advocates for peace from across the globe. Sessions will explore major crises facing communities around the world and will challenge participants to offer perspectives on learning outcomes and real-world solutions. PeaceCon 2020 was an all-virtual conference held in December 2020, reportedly drawing more than 2,000 registrants from 110 countries, with over 600 organizations attending and an audience of 19 million online. 

Headquartered Bangkok, the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) has set up a wide range of projects and outreach programs aimed at overcoming suffering and empowering vulnerable communities through the practice of the Dharma and socially engaged Buddhism. INEB was formed in 1989 by the prominent Thai academic, activist, and social critic Sulak Sivaraksa and a group of Buddhist and non-Buddhist thinkers and social activists. Connecting engaged Buddhists around the world, INEB works promote understanding, cooperation, and networking among inter-Buddhist and inter-religious groups, and to actively address urgent global issues such as human rights, conflict resolution, and environmental crises.

INEB’s members include monks, nuns, social workers, and academics from more than 25 countries in Asia, Australasia, Europe, and North America, working together under the umbrella of kalyana-mitrata.* While founded in and motivated by the Buddhadharma, INEB nevertheless welcomes members from all spiritual traditions and recognizes the importance of interfaith activities, stating: “INEB’s philosophy and practice is based on compassion, social justice, non-violence, and co-existence as put forth by Gautama the Buddha. The network’s core mission is to confront and end suffering using analysis and action guided by the Four Noble Truths.” (INEB)

Kalyaṇa-mittata (Pali) kalyaṇa-mitrata (Skt.), the Buddhist concept of spiritual friendship.

See more

Covid, Climate, and Conflict: Rising to the Challenges of a Disrupted World (USIP)
International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB)
International Women’s Partnership for Peace
Spirit in Education Movement
United States Institute of Peace
Alliance for Peacebuilding

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Engaged Buddhism: INEB Shares Final Report on Mindful Action: COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund
UPDATE: INEB Calls for Reconciliation in Myanmar as Pro-democracy Protests Turn Violent
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