Kaleidoscope: Buddhist, Islamic & Hindu Perspectives on Peace and Development: A Roundtable

on . Posted in News @ UP Asian Center

The students of the graduate course, Philosophies and Religions of Asia (AS 206), under Dr. Cecilia T. Medina of the UP Asian Center, will hold a roundtable discussion, Kaleidoscope: Buddhist, Islamic, and Hindu Perspectives on Peace and Development, on 28 April 2018, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Japan Hall, UP Asian Center, Quezon City. The roundtable is free and open to the public, but participants are requested to sign up.


In the interest of looking closely into the role of religion as a catalyst of peace and development, the roundtable is organized to derive learning from selected religious communities. The event will be a venue for explicating religious doctrines that serve as foundations for peace and development initiatives, as well for presenting how these doctrines are translated into concrete, contextual programs that promote peace and development in the Philippines.


  • Buddhist Perspectives

In this presentation, Peggy Jiang will briefly present the essence of Tzu Chi Foundation, school of Buddhism, and how its principles are used in the context of disaster relief, as seen in Typhoon Yolanda efforts. She will also discuss the spirit of bodhisattvas, of how everyone can live based on its principles and engage in spiritual cultivation and work with people to achieve peace and development.

  • Islamic Perspectives

Islam means "submission" or "entrusting one's self" (to the will of Allāh) and is a conjugation of the Arabic root, S-L-M, whose cognates connote peace and security, among others. Thus, "as-Salām(u) 'alaykum" means "peace be upon on you," and is used to say, "salām" (hello). In this presentation, Almahdi “Aldean” Alonto will discuss the importance of peace and respect for diversity and tolerance. It will also delve into how Islam has contributed to peacebuilding and the challenges it faces in the 21st century. 

  • Hindu Perspectives

Shakuntala Vaswani explains how Hinduism, as “a way of life”, believes that the divine spirit is present in all beings and in everything. The presentation will focus on the key principles of Hinduism, such as dharma, that leads to harmony and peace, ahimsa, meaning non-violence, which has inspired several non-violent movements across the world, and shanti or peace. Hinduism believes that with positive thinking and efforts, it is possible to re-establish peace in peoples’ minds and bodies before becoming instruments of peace in the world.


  • Peggy Jiang graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in B.S. Management Engineering. She now works in one of the top leading banks in the country. She started volunteering in the Tzu Chi Foundation in 1997. As a youth volunteer, she organized youth retreats, special events, and fundraisers. Peggy has been in missions of Tzu Chi from Aparri to General Santos. She was certified as a Tzu Chi commissioner in 2004. She now coordinates the vocational training program and the volunteer training for non-Chinese speakers of the foundation.
  • Almahdi “Aldean” Alonto obtained his M.A degree in Conflict Resolution at the University of the Bradford as a Chevening Scholar was a recipient of the Oxford Muntada fellowship at the University of Oxford Islamic Studies. He has worked with various international humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organizations that engage in conflict resolution and peace building. He is consultant for the Institute of Peace and Development of the Mindanao State University in Marawi City.

    He coauthored an article titled “Intra-faith Dialogue: The Missing Link in inter-faith Dialogue” published by the Chicago State University. He is currently working on “The Construction of Political Identity of Bangsamoro and its implication on Peace in Mindanao” which will be published by Palgrave in the United Kingdom. 

  • Shakuntala Vaswani, PhD is the co-founder of the Peacemakers’ Circle Foundation, a non-profit interfaith organization established in 2001 that builds bridges of mutual respect, understanding and cooperation between peoples of diverse cultures and beliefs. Since then, she has been active in interfaith dialogue and peacebuilding programs in Metro Manila. She actively served as a Trustee (2002–2005) and Regional Coordinator for the SE Asia Pacific Region (2005–2011) in the United Religions Initiative (URI), a Global Interfaith Network for Peace. She has also served her Hindu community in Metro Manila both as a Trustee & President of the Hindu Temple, Bharati Women’s Association and Indian Ladies Club among others.


  • Dean Macrina Morados of Institute of Islamic Studies, University of the Philippines Diliman. will serve as the reactor of the presentations. She is well-known for her expertise in Muslim and Family Relations, Interfaith Relations, Islamic Civilization and History of the Muslims in the Philippines. She is co-author with Dr. Carmen A. Abubakar of the book titled: “CRC and Islamic Law Divergences and Convergences: The Philippine Case.”

    She is a member of the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) under the Historical Injustice Study Group (2015). She is also the team leader of an ongoing research engagement (for Caloocan City Cluster) on the study: “Children and Harmful Work in the Philippines: A Child Rights Situational Analysis.”


The roundtable is organized in cooperation with the Asia for Development and Peace Today (ADePT) by the students of Asian Studies (AS) 206, Philosophies and Religions of Asia, taught this semester by Dr. Ma. Cecilia Medina, Assistant Professor @ UP Asian Center and editor of Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia. 


The Asian Center offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. The Center offers a Ph.D. program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. For an overview of these graduate programs, click here. The Asian Center also publishes Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia, the latest issue of which can be downloaded at the journal's website. For other news and upcoming events at the Asian Center, click here

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