Hosted by the Cebu-based Kalinaw CC under the leadership of Sr. Sandra Clemente, RSCJ (outgoing Regional Trustee), the regional meeting was attended by: Ms. Marites Guingona-Africa (incoming Global Council Trustee & leader of The Peacemakers’ Circle - Manila); Dr. Amir Farid Isahak (GC Trustee, leader of INSaF/URI KLCC & also representing the Malaysian Interfaith Network CC); Mr. Musa Sanguila (incoming GC Trustee & leader of Pakigdait CC - Mindanao); Ms. Jessiee Kaur-Singh (leader of COMMON CC - Australia); Mr. Boni Quirog (leader of Bohol Goodwill Volunteers’ CC - Bohol); Ms. Marjorie Angalot (representative of TULAY CC-Bohol); Mr. Lee Collano (representative of Muslim-Christian Peacemakers’ CC - Manila); Dr. Shakuntala Vaswani (URI SEAP Regional Coordinator - Manila); and Mr. Orlan de Guzman, Jr. (URISEAP Regional Information and Communications Officer).
Day 1 – On June 5, 2008 (Thursday) the delegates started to arrive and were checked-in at the Hotel Fortuna – a clean, simple hotel found in the heart of the city, and was conveniently accessible to the different places to be visited.
In the evening, the delegates met the members of the Kalinaw CC in a vegetarian welcome dinner held at the Body, Mind & Wellbeing studio (owned by one of the members, Mr. EBJ, who is a yoga teacher from the Ananda Marga Society). Afterwards, the group enjoyed a musical evening (from mantras, to Cebuano love songs, from Elvis Presley to patriotic tunes) and were engaged in “innerdancing” – a free flow, unstructured body movement healing art.
Day 2 (June 6- Friday) – In one of the conference rooms of the hotel, the regional meeting was officially opened with sacred silence, offering of symbols from each CC, and inspirational reading led by Mr. Boni. This was followed by messages and reflections from each delegate and a formal welcome by Sr. Sandra.
Resuming in the afternoon, the delegates reviewed and approved the minutes of the previous meeting (3rd regional meeting in KL, Malaysia). This was followed by a slide show report on updates in the SEAP region presented by the regional information & communications officer (Orlan). The CC representative then took turns to share their CC’s successes and challenges in the recent months.
After the report on 2008 work plan & budget by the regional coordinator (Shakun), the group proceeded with the first part of the workshop on Strengthening URI in the SEAP region facilitated by Marites. The day was capped off with a Japanese dinner hosted by the Shinji Shumei Kai – Japanese spiritual organization.
One significant ways forward achieved was the formalization of the regional council composed of the representatives of all active CCs in the region. It was decided that the three incoming trustees lead this regional council and, as per tradition, the three shall choose among themselves who will sit as chairperson for each year. Ms. Marites Africa was appointed the first official chairperson for the URI SEAP Regional Council, both Dr. Amir Isahak & Mr. Musa Sanguila will be vice chairpersons.
A most fruitful, awe-inspiring and promising gathering Cebu has indeed gifted the URI in the SEAP region, and we congratulate and thank Sr. Sandra Clemente & the Kalinaw CC for the indefatigable commitment and uplifting energy they have poured in to have made it all possible. May URI continue to shine brightly upon this jewel city as it envisions to host the next URI Global Assembly in 2011!