Marites Guingona Africa
In 1998, I was inspired by the United Religions Initiative vision of a better world where people of diverse cultures and beliefs could come together to a common ground to engage in various forms of dialogue in the spirit of mutual respect, understanding and cooperation. In 2000, my interfaith friends and I established the Peacemakers’ Circle Foundation, Inc. in Metro Manila and engaged in the endeavor of building respectful relationships among peoples of diverse cultures and beliefs through various forms of dialogue. We were one of the many founding URI cooperation circles during its Charter signing in June 2000. In 2003, our Peacemakers’ Circle CC began to reach out to grassroots communities in Metro Manila where Muslims and Christians lived together as neighbors. Today, our peace and relationship-building work has deepened and expanded to include training Muslim, Christian and indigenous leaders from the conflict-affected communities in the war-torn southern Philippine region of Mindanao.