Cardinal Charles Bo (4th-left) convened a conference on the role of religion in Myanmar’s peace and reconciliation efforts. IGE Program Officer Seng Mai Aung (2nd-right) was asked to facilitate small group discussions.

From April 26-27, 2017, Cardinal Charles Bo of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Myanmar (CBCM) convened a conference in Yangon on “The Role of Religions in Building a Nation of Peace and Development.” At CBCM’s request, IGE’s Myanmar Program Officer, Seng Mai Aung, facilitated small group discussions throughout the two-day conference.

There were 200 participants consisting of religious leaders (including Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, and Hindus), diplomats, political party officers, and civil society leaders. The conference focused on how religious leaders could play a constructive role in the ongoing government-led peace process, which seeks to put an end to ongoing conflict between the government and religious and ethnic minority groups. Up until now, the government has not sought the input or participation of Myanmar’s religious leaders. Each small group in this conference produced recommendations which will be presented at the next meeting of the Panglong Peace Conference in May.

IGE Program Officer Seng Mai Aung (3rd-right) facilitated one of the small groups which produced recommendations for the Panglong Peace Conference.