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Culture & Religion

In The Philippines, Using Technology To Give Peace A Chance

A videoconference scheduled for tomorrow will bring together 6,000 people from opposite sides of a 40-year-old conflict in the hope that they can begin the hard work of peace.

What’s the Latest Development?

On Wednesday, approximately 6,000 young Filipino Muslims and Christians are scheduled to participate in a four-hour mass videoconference to be held in two gymnasiums in Manila and Iligan City. Via huge screens, participants will take part in interactive activities, question-and-answer sessions, and even singing. Also, victims and negotiators from both sides are expected to share their stories. The event is being sponsored by PeaceTech, which has been using media and technology to bridge the gaps between the different factions since 2006.

What’s the Big Idea?

For 40 years, the predominantly-Muslim province of Mindanao, where Iligan City is located, has been in conflict with the Filipino government, with over 120,000 people losing their lives as a result. The presence of audience members, victims, and officials from both sides “sends a good message that at last here are two erstwhile adversaries coming together and telling people how a conflict we have had for generations has been resolved through peaceful negotiations,” says a negotiator from the Mindanao Islamic Liberation Front. PeaceTech’s founder, Robin Pettyfer, hopes to expand his organization’s work across Asia and into the Middle East.

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