YOUNG Professionals for Dialogue and Peace (YPDP), whose members are Muslims, Christians and those belonging to other living faiths, gathered on June 27, 2010, at the Silsilah Center, Zamboanga City, Philippines for a formation session which is its regular activity for sustaining their commitment for peace through dialogue.

The YPDP members range in age from 21-35 years old and are currently working in various fields of employment. They hope to promote with vigor the concept of Silsilah's spirituality of dialogue in their work places, in their families and in their peer groups. The YPDP came into existence from the inspiration to the elder leaders of the community making up the Inter-Faith council of Leaders (IFCL), a group guided by the vision and mission of Silsilah.

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After a few months of meeting and sharing, the group came up with its first series of reflections that speak of their aspirations and hopes, which they shared during the formation session:

We, the members of YPDP, came together and shared our simple and definite experiences in life in the context of living a life-in-dialogue as Muslims and Christians.

In real life situations, young professionals are often confronted with misjudgments, wrong perceptions and conflict situations. We have reached the level of maturity where new challenges await us and dialogue is much more needed. Needless to say, one has to be grounded in his/her own faith and look to God as our source of strength in facing this facet of life. We have come to realize that dialogue has a vital role for each of us in our daily living and it can strengthen us in solving misunderstanding. And this is how culture of dialogue works.

Living each day inspired with eagerness and perseverance to move together as one voice, a voice expressing that we want love and acceptance in society. If dialogue is integrated in our system we become the sign of hope that peace is possible. Respect and sensitivity together will make significant contributions in creating and sustaining harmonious relationships. Smiling is one simple way to dialogue with another that is an easy and inexpensive act to minimize unease.

Moreover, others may confine themselves in a box where they feel comfortable and safe. It may seem right, but it's more rewarding to explore and be flexible in reaching out to others through dialogue and peace.

At the end of the formation session a plan of action for the next months to come was discussed. Three important points were raised which is a response to the conflict situation that is currently happening between two communities in the city -- (1) to conduct a consultation and sharing separately among the community leaders who are concerned; (2) to gather youth leaders, specifically members of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK); (3) to organize a seminar-workshop for the high school students who belong from the two communities by giving inputs on Culture of Dialogue (COD). Principal objectives of these activities in targeting the young people are to lessen the tension by bridging them with love and acceptance and to listen their aspirations for peace despite the violence that's happening in the area.

Silsilah Dialogue Movement

Zamboanga City