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Youth UPF

Thai Youth Learn Principles of Peacebuilding

A hundred young volunteers and students from the four southernmost provinces of Thailand learned principles of peace and conflict resolution and experiential learning activities to equip them to serve as peacebuilding corps in their communities.

The Southern Thailand Peace Initiative was pioneered in Songkhla province on April 4 – 8, 2008. The project was initiated by UPF-Thailand and Unity in One Heart Organization with the support of the Royal Thai Army and Thaksin University. Jakrin Iamsam-ang, Deputy Secretary General of UPF-Thailand, is the Project Director of the Southern Thailand Peace Initiative.

The initial project consisted of three main activities:

  • Pure love & peacebuilding education
  • Discovering the Real Me character education program
  • Team-building activities

The welcoming remarks during the launching ceremony on April 4 were presented by Mr. Montree Sangmusikanon, Vice President of Thaksin University, followed by Mr. Prayong Rattanapun, Deputy Governor of Songkla. Prof. Dr. Pradit Chareonthaitawee, President of UPF-Thailand, gave the Opening Remarks, and Major General Jumlong Khunsong, Deputy Commander-In-Chief of the 15th Infantry Division, called upon the youth to continue working for peace and unity.

Through the educational component of the project, participants developed a greater understanding of the necessity of true love and living for the sake of others as well as skills in working together as a brothers and sisters. The activities made participants aware of how they can become peacebuilders by taking responsibility to engage in service to others and discourage them from drug abuse and immorality.

The insurgency in Southern Thailand is a separatist movement involving the predominantly Malay Pattani region, made up of the three southernmost provinces, Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat, with the violence increasingly spilling over into other provinces such as Songkla. The death toll since the insurgency started in 2004 reached nearly 2,700 by January 2008.

At the end of the project, UPF-Thailand presented scholarships to the 41 teenagers who lost their parents due to the violence in the south. Participants were deeply moved by the peace education and loving atmosphere created during the camp. They volunteered to become part of UPF-Thailand’s Peace Initiative and form peacebuilding corps in their community and in the southern provinces.

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