Myanmar Ecumenicals Seek Conflict Responses, Hear from Suu Kyi

(Photo Credit: World Council of Churches/Subharta Bhumiprabhas)Aung San Suu Kyi speaks at an ecumenical consultation entitled "Peace, Security and Reconciliation," which took place from August 2-5, 2012. From right to left: Mathews George Chunakara, director of CCIA, Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, Rev. Saw Shwe Lin, general secretary of the MCC and Bishop Zan Win Aung of the Methodist Church Myanmar in Yangon.

Christians in Myanmar wishing to respond to conflicts in the country gained perspective into possible approaches through an ecumenical consultation over the weekend featuring 40 participants, including Nobel peace prize winner and former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi.

The consultation in Yangon, Myanmar was organized by the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) of the World Council of Churches in collaboration with the Christian Conference of Asia and the Myanmar Council of Churches.

Suu Kyi, who was released from 15 years of house arrest in November of 2010 and is now a member of the nation's parliament, told around 40 participants Yangon, Myanmar over the weekend that their approach toward helping build peace and security should place reconciliation first.

Suu Kyi took part in the "Peace, Security and Reconciliation in Myanmar" consultation.

"[T]urn your program's emphasis upside down by putting reconciliation first – then peace, and only when you have peace will you have security," she said, according to a WCC report.

Suu Kyi expressed gratitude for the solidarity and prayers for people of all faiths, noting her own personal grounding in the Buddhist spiritual tradition.

"Profound acceptance of the others, and a willingness to be open to unity in diversity will uphold values of reconciliation, peace and security in any society and community," she said.

Suu Kyi engaged in dialogue with participants telling them steps to take before seeking reconciliation.

"One should go beyond the borders of hatred and jealousy, only then can one think of reconciliation and peace.

Reconciliation will not begin only in one direction. Once reconciliation is achieved, then only peace can be attained and security can be ensured. A society that cannot achieve reconciliation will not be peaceful," she said.

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