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First South Asia Regional Workshop on the Learning to Live Together Programme

From 2 - 5 August, the first South East Asia Regional workshop on the Learning to Live Together Programme was held in Bangkok for 25 participants from Bhutan, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand.

The South East Asia Regional workshop was held in Bangkok in collaboration with the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies of Mahidol University.  The objectives of the workshop were to introduce the participants to the educational framework and approach of the Learning to Live Together Programme, develop skills to conduct ethics education activities with children and youth, and design concrete plans to develop a systematic implementation back in their countries.  The workshop was the first regional workshop in South East Asia and aimed to bring the Learning to Live Together to new locations and promote interfaith collaboration for violence prevention.

On the first day of the workshop participants engaged in reflections about the ethical demands that our relationships and common humanity pose on us and the power that lies in each of us to make a difference in our lives and the lives of others.  They discussed the importance of ethics and values, got to know more about Arigatou International and its initiatives, in particular its ethics education initiative and the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children.

On the second day of the workshop participants reflected, shared and discussed about their work with children, the ethics education approach, how we see children in our own religious traditions and how to nurture their spirituality. In the afternoon participants went through the learning modules of the manual, worked on the design of the programs they will be implementing after the workshop, and participated in activities to learn how to use the learning process with children and youth.  They deepened their knowledge on methodologies and techniques and during the evening engaged in discussions in an Interfaith Cafe.

Dr Parichart Suwanbubbha, Director of the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies of Mahidol University, and member of the Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children, introduced the Interfaith Cafe Methodology to initiate an interfaith dialogue about issues that affect children, ethics, values and spirituality. She explained that there are three types of interfaith dialogue: 1. Dialogue based on doctrine; 2. Dialogue based on practice and 3. Dialogue based on experiences of life where the topic is at the center. This last one was the focused of our interfaith cafe. 

During the other days, participans discussed through participatory methodologies the importance of critical thinking, safe learning environments, conscientization, participatory learning and role modeling. They also practiced facilitation skills and discussed strategies to facilitate participatory ethics education activities. 
 
On the third day, the Online Platform for facilitators of the Learning to Live Together was presented to the participants.  This was the first time that the platform was introduced.  Ms Valerie De Pauw, E-learning Program Manager of Arigatou International, conducted an interactive session where participants created a profile on the platform, shared messages and learned how to use it to share resources and information about their projects. 

Throughout the workshop participants shared with one another the projects they are implementing in their organisations, shared their experiences and ideas and started to build a community of practice for the region.  The workshop ended with clear commitments and action plans from the participants to implement the Learning to Live Together Programme in their organisations for specific periods of time.  
 
Memoranda of Understanding were signed with Teach Peace Build Peace Movement from the Philippines,  Amalina Islamic School from IndonesiaPembangunan Jaya School from Indonesia, Phaung Daw Oo Monastic Education High School from Myanmar,  Smile Education and Development Foundation from Myanmar and the Bhutan Youth Development Fund.  

New relationships were built and exciting initiatives in each country will start taking place in the next months. Special thanks to the Institute of Human Rights Rights and Peace Studies of Mahidol University and to all organisations and individuals that actively participated.