Mainstreaming Peace Reconciliation in Southeast Asia: an ASEAN-IPR Training Series
Leg 3 Training – “Post-Conflict and Reintegration Experiences in Southeast Asia: Focus on Reconciliation Models” + University Visit to National University of Laos (NUOL) + Focused Group Discussion: The role of “a regional mechanism” in post-conflict peacebuilding
15-16 December 2022
Vientiane, Lao PDR
Up to 70 participants attended and participated in the 3rd Leg of the ASEAN Institute for Peace & Reconciliation (ASEAN-IPR) Training Series: ‘Mainstreaming Peace and Reconciliation in Southeast Asia’, which takes on the theme post-conflict and reintegration experiences in Southeast Asia: focus on reconciliation models (3rd Leg Training), which was convened 15-16 December 2022 in Vientiane, Lao PDR. Participants came from Members of the ASEAN-IPR Governing Council (GC), Advisory Board (AB), ASEAN Women for Peace Registry (AWPR), and its main target beneficiaries – namely junior to mid-level officials from relevant ministries and/or government agencies of ASEAN Member States. All participants attended in-person, while speakers and/or resource persons joined in-person as well as through virtual platform. The activity was supported by the Government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) through the ASEAN-ROK Cooperation Fund (AKCF).
The Training was officiated by H.E. Thongphane Savanphet, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao PDR, as host government of the 3rd Leg Training. H.E. Kwon Hee-seog, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to ASEAN, also delivered congratulatory opening remarks on the convening of the Training. Amb. I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja, Executive Director of ASEAN-IPR, recalled that this multi-year Training Series was kicked started under the initiative of the Philippines back in 2019. The Training Series would have 3 parts or legs: 1st focusing on mediation; 2nd focusing on ceasefires and cessation of hostilities, and 3rd focusing on reconciliation and reintegration. Amongst expected outputs of the programme: (i) mapping best practices in Southeast Asia on certain aspects of peace processes; (ii) formulate and develop learning and capacity building modules on aspects of peace processes; (iii) to better capacitate duty bearers of ASEAN Member States in relation to their official responsibilities as peace advocates; and (iv) engage relevant stakeholders.
The Training Module, developed by Experts Amb. Sayakane Sisouvong, Lao PDR Lead Expert & Dr. Bora Park, Research Fellow, Institute for National Security Strategy (INSS), ROK Expert, covered concepts of post-conflict peace building and reintegration, impacts of Cold War in Southeast Asia, experiences and mapping of reconciliation/reintegration in Southeast Asian countries (including Cambodia, Lao PDR, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand) – including those at various levels of community, as well concepts of inclusivity in reconciliation/reintegration. One Session also provided an opportunity for participants to share their knowledge of reintegration and/or reconciliation processes in their respective country – whether at track 1 or track 2 level.
On the side-lines of the Training on 15 December 2022, a visit to the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences, National University of Laos (NUOL) was also convened – bringing Members of the GC, AB & AWPR as well as the ROK Ambassador to ASEAN – to engage and interact with students and academic community of the Lao PDR (attended by up to more than 100 students and faculty members), in line with the concept note on ASEAN-IPR’s University Tour. During the visit, ASEAN-IPR presented on the work of ASEAN and ASEAN-IPR, while the ROK Ambassador provided a brief on ROK-ASEAN Dialogue Relations.
On the side-lines of the 2nd day of the Training (16 December 2022), the ASEAN-IPR also convened a Focused Group Discussion (FGD), taking on the topic the role of “a regional mechanism” in post-conflict peacebuilding. Envisioned to be a regular platform for ASEAN-IPR to engage with think tanks/like-minded institutions in the region to share best practices and lessons learned on issues of common-concern/interest, the FGD brought Members of the GC, AB & AWPR to interact with representatives from think tanks such as the Institute of Foreign Affairs (IFA) of the Lao PDR Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Asian Vision Institute (AVI) Cambodia, Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Indonesia, Malaysia Institute for Strategic and International Studies (Malaysia-ISIS), Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) Singapore, Institute for Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) Yusof-Ishak Institute Singapore, and National Defence Studies Institute (NDSI) Thailand. The FGD dove into possible roles for peace facilitators/mediators, following the signing of peace agreement; and most notably, explore possible role of a mechanism “panel of the wise” throughout all phases of peace processes – in line with one of ASEAN-IPR’s functions to pool expertise in support of ASEAN bodies. It is recognized that there is no one size model that fits all.
The 3rd Leg Training preceded its 2nd Leg, due to unforeseen circumstances on the implementation of the 2nd Leg Training. The 2nd Leg will look into the lessons learned and best practices of ceasefires and cessation of hostilities phase in peace process/conflict resolution – and is hoped to be implemented in 2023. Stay tuned to ASEAN-IPR’s Website and social media platforms on our upcoming activities, most of which are open to public participation. For inquiries, please contact us at ADMIN@asean-aipr.org.