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National Colloquium on Peace and Reconciliation

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Over 30 delegates engaged in Peace building activities and programmes throughout India gathered together at PG Block, Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune, for a National Colloquium on Peace and Reconciliation on 7-8 October, 2018, jointly organised by Loyola Institute of Peace & International Relations (LIPI), Kochi, and Indian Social Institute (ISI), New Delhi. Fr. Binoy Pichalakkattu SJ welcomed the gathering of Jesuits and lay collaborators for the programme that hoped to better coordinate the peace efforts of Jesuits in South Asia. In his inaugural address, the Provincial of South Asia, Fr. George Pattery SJ, highlighted the need for intensifying efforts to promote peace in South Asia. During the first session, Dr. Irfan Engineer, the Director of the Centre for the Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS), stressed the need for promoting the syncretic and composite culture in India through academic and programmatic approaches. Ms. Deborah Grey and Ms. Suneetha, from Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), shared their peace building efforts through protecting the rights of minorities, dalits, tribals, women and children; monitoring hate content in speeches and other online social media platforms; promoting inclusive education in schools and helping the people in Assam get their names in the National Register of Citizens (NRC). During the panel discussion on the feasibility of starting a Centre for Peace Studies and International Relations, Dr. M.P. Mathai highlighted the need for developing and promoting a pedagogy of Peace. Fr. Rudolf Heredia SJ presented the theoretical basis for building a culture of peace. Dr. Irfan Engineer gave several practical suggestions for a proposed Centre for Peace Studies. During the evening session, various delegates briefly presented the various programmes and activities they have been undertaking for peace building in different parts of India. The delegates undertook the exercise of spiritual conversation and discernment to arrive at concrete suggestions for the proposed Centre for Peace Studies and International Relations, promoting peace efforts among different countries in South Asia and creating a culture of peace and reconciliation in different ministries and apostolates in all provinces in South Asia.

Denzil Fernandes SJ

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