United Religions Initiative – Southeast Asia and the Pacific Region has been holding its regional assembly yearly since 2005. In 2011, it was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In 2012, it was in Siem Reap, Cambodia, the home of the majestic ancient temple Angkor Wat.
Held on November 15 to 20, URI-SEAPac leaders gathered again for a 4-day assembly at the Monoreach Angkor Hotel in Siem Reap. This was the first assembly coordinated by the newly appointed Regional Coordinator, Dr. Potre Diampuan.
Newly elected URI Regional Trustee Mr. Ros Sam An, together with other Cambodian youth CC leaders welcomed the foreign delegates. Cambodian participants, who came from capital city Pnom Pehn, were Pheng Saochheng, Sok Sidon and Chan Sokneang of Youth Partners in Development and Peace (YPDP); Invited Cambodian youth Sotheary Chan, Niza Pheang, Sam Phors and Chunny Noem, who also emceed the program with Dr. Potre Diampuan.
Three Theravada Buddhist monks graced the event,beginning with the keynote message by Venerable Peng Sem, who is a well-known figure in Cambodian interfaith initiatives. The other monks were Venerable Chorvanny and Venerable Mai, who both come from an Cambodian NGO.
Ms. Sally Mahe, URI Global Director for Regional Development, represented the URI Global Council to participate on this yearly event. Mr. Musa Sanguila, co-founder of Pakigdait CC and re-elected URI Regional Trustee, as well as Former Regional Trustees Mr. Boni Quirog of Bohol Goodwill Volunteers and Dr. Amir Farid Isahak of Interfaith Spiritual Fellowship or INSAF attended the event.
From Australia, participants were Mr. Peter Mousaferiadis of Cultural Infusion and Ms. Ann Aisatullin of Multifaith Association of South Australia. The rest of the delegates came from the Philippines: Anglican Bishop Stephen Villaester of the Interfaith Council CC; Brother Art Banawa of Kalinaw CC; Mr. Ludwig Bon Quirog and Ms. Marjorie Angalot of Bohol Goodwill Volunteers; Ms. Kristine Genita of Tulay CC; Mr. Rem Tanauan of Pathfinders’ Commune CC; Mr. Ruel Parena of Value Laden Professional Circle; and Dr. Noemi Medina of Mindanao Peace Garden CC.
The following is a brief summary of per day activities
- Day 1: Opening Program with keynote speech and messages from interfaith leaders, followed by CC presentations
- Day 2: World Cafe activity, plus deliberation of URI-SEAPac Bylaws
- Day 3: Continuation of Bylaws deliberation, followed by on “Searching the Common Thread” using the Open Space technology
- Day 4: Presentation from Cambodian hosts, discussion of other agenda, heart talks and closing ceremonies.