“Cure the conflicts cut deep in the society by creating safe zones and trust, healing the resentments, and arranging new agreements to live together supportively.”
Interfaith Buddy for Peace: The Weavers of Peace and Harmony in Thai Society project applied health-related dialogues as the start to bring trust and harmony to eventually bring peace to the three southern border provinces of Thailand where there are still deep-rooted conflicts in the society with different thought, belief, ideology, and culture. This is one of the projects receiving Mahidol University’s social guiding policy driving fund to promote researches which lead to social guiding by applying healthcare to build trust and lead to concrete relationship weaving. Lessons learned were extracted and offered as peace and harmony policies in Thai society by applying 40 sub-seminar field tools in 6 southern border provinces. There were 170 people attended. The researcher used interview techniques and create sub-discussions in the areas to build understanding, to weave relationship and trust. Discussions were used to add trust and initiate cross-religion relationship. Public stages were used to create more empathy, understanding, and bonding across communities, expanding network for people to take care of one another, as well as design the communities to exchange their experiences through their suffer and loss before becoming friends who support each other in aspects, including healthcare, especially during COVID-19 pandemic. This could bring mobilization opportunities for friends with different religions to handle COVID-19 pandemic.
The policies resulted from the project comprise of facilitating environmental support and unlocking structural conditions that are obstacles of horizontal safe zone creation which creates relationship between religious and social members. Other policies are providing freedom and ensuring safety in exchanging, discussing to find the truth that could bring solutions of problems and conflicts sustainably by resolving right at the deep-rooted issues. Further policies include facilitating environmental promotion and unlocking obstacles of developing facilitative social leadership skills, taking time on trust-building and conflict-clearing progress before creating a new agreement to shape the future where people can live together harmoniously, preventing strong conflicts to return and damage their friendship.
Educational institutes related to peace creation who have understanding and knowledge in the progress of harmony creation should conduct continuous studies and workshops to create Thai society understanding toward this harmony creating progress, as well as apply such knowledge and skills of conflict resolving in peaceful means, especially the skills of truth management by together revitalizing the relationship.
Media institutes should create content and apply peace journalism and conflict transformation to support the knowledge, progress, and example of the action in model communities to bring peace and harmony.
Other social institutes should study and try to understand the progress while systematically adapting their concepts related to harmony-building progress which consist of, but not limited to, the following steps; truth finding, being ready to admit their own faults, bringing the guilty ones to punishment process, restoring relationship to finally bring reconciliation, and well as driving and creating culture to prevent future deep conflicts not to return.
Pilot Community of Wisdom Practices would require in-depth democratic principles and guidelines to fairly discover the truth with empathy process, even though it is in conflict with their ideas. Create an atmosphere that encourages democratic reconciliation that guarantees rights, liberties, equality to promote higher possibility the transitional process when compared to other systems, as it is transparent for inspection. Processes and methos applied must be fair and involve different sectors. Lesson records and extraction, as well as communication with society must be available to expand the network and together make this difference, to be driven and supported by necessary funds and facilities, to eventually create harmony and reconciliation.
The Provincial Islamic Council
Network of Dhamma Volunteer Ambassador of 5 Southern Border Provinces
Buddharaksa of Southern Border Provinces Association
Church of Satun
Pattani Christian Association
Association for Buddhist Youth and Buddhists
Trang Muslim Relations Association
Thai Islamic Medical Association (TIMA)