WHO WE ARE
The Peacemakers’ Circle Foundation, Inc. is a non-stock, non-profit, and non-partisan organization registered with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission. We are composed of people of diverse cultures and beliefs who recognize the Oneness of Humanity and are guided by the principles of Unity in Diversity, Good Will, andCooperation. Thinking globally and acting locally, we strive to bring forth the highest ideals and teachings of our faith as we work together to help bring about the change that we wish to see in the world.
A world where peace and harmony prevails in the midst of diversity and where healing of the Earth and all living beings is possible through co-creative human collaboration.
- To promote the highest human aspirations of peace, justice, freedom, love, wholeness of being, and healing through various Inner Work programs, workshops, and activities.
- To provide a convergence point of peoples of diverse cultures, orientations, and beliefs to engage in various forms of dialogue with one another in the spirit of mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation.
- To contribute locally to the global endeavor to end all forms of violence and promote healing of the Earth and all living beings through various ways of peaceful mediation and co-creative nonviolent action.
What we offer
Peace in our lives and peace in the world is an ideal that we all strive for. Attaining peace is a dynamic evolutionary process, and The Peacemaker’s Circle endeavors to contribute to this process through the following programs:
How we came to be
The Peacemakers’ Circle was inspired by a vision which came upon Maria Teresa Guingona-Africa in 1998. Marites, as she is known to friends, is a Filipino Catholic who was born and raised in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte in Mindanao, the southern region of the Philippines. She now resides in Pasig City, Metro Manila.
In July 1998, while she was studying for a master’s degree in Theological Studies at the Loyola School of Theology (in the Ateneo de Manila University), she met two people from an international peace organization who were in Manila to promote their work. One of them was her friend, Mario “Toots” Fungo. As she listened to them speak of their experiences in the field, she was struck not only by what she heard, but by what she saw printed on Mario’s t-shirt. It was the image of the globe surrounded by the symbols of the different religions of the world.
The image struck Marites and provoked her to ask: Why do people of faith fight each other in the name of God? How can religion contribute to peace in the world? As a Catholic Christian, what is the call of my faith today?
In the process of seeking for answers she came to know about the United Religions Initiative (URI), a global community that envisioned itself to promote enduring daily interfaith cooperation, to end to religiously motivated violence, and to create cultures of peace, justice, and healing for the Earth and all living beings (see www.uri.org)
The URI Preamble, Purpose and Principles inspired Marites. She decided to reach out beyond her comfort zone to participate in the global URI endeavors by reaching out to peoples of diverse cultures and beliefs in Metro Manila. It surprised her to note that there were many adherents of faiths other than her own around the metropolis. Up until that time she had always taken for granted that everyone she met was Catholic. It was then that she met Dr. Shakuntala Vaswani, a Hindu.
Shakun and Marites became friends. And, after a year of reaching out, visiting and befriending peoples of diverse cultures and beliefs around Metro Manila–together with Mario “Toots” Fungo, Bro. Eli Andrade, Sr. Lilian Curaming, FMM, Paulin Batairwa, SX, Everlado Dos Santos, SX, Rev. Fr. Leonardo Mercado, SVD, and others–
they and their newfound friends in the interfaith community celebrated their friendship in an interfaith gathering at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife on New Year’s Eve of December 1999. Around 300 people of diverse cultures and beliefs gathered together to bid farewell to the old millennium of violence and to welcome the new with renewed hope for peace and an interfaith peace prayer ceremony called Kapayapaan sa Bukang Liwayway 2000 (Peace at the Dawn of 2000).
The success of the event inspired Marites and her friends to continue to nurture the bonds of friendships that they had created. They agreed to meet regularly every Tuesday. That was when the idea of creating The Peacemakers’ Circle was conceived.
In 2001, after a year of weekly Tuesday meetings–which they called the Tuesday Inner Work Circle because every session encouraged its participants to practice self-awareness and transformation in the struggle to “be the change that they wished to see in the world”–interfaith friendships were strengthened and The Peacemakers’ Circle came to be. On March 14, 2001 The Peacemakers’ Circle Foundation, Inc. (TPCFI) was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a non-stock and non-profit foundation.
On June 26, 2001, The Peacemakers’ Circle became a founding member and Cooperation Circle of the United Religions Initiative (URI). It also served as its regional coordinating office in Southeast Asia-Pacific for ten years until it decided to move on and become independent from URI in December 2011.
Through the years, The Peacemakers’ Circle engaged in various projects and initiatives in its endeavor to promote and build relationships of mutual respect, understanding and cooperation (between and among peoples of diverse cultures and beliefs) through various forms of dialogue in Metro Manila. It attracted participants and supporters from different parts of the country and the world, and it gained recognition, respect, and financial support from individuals and institutions who shared in its vision and mission.
Today, The Peacemakers’ Circle continues to build bridges of mutual respect, understanding and cooperation between and among peoples of diverse cultures and beliefs through various forms of dialogue.