In 2022, WRI launched an initiative to develop a regional network of peace workers, pacifists and antimilitarists in Asia. The focus of the first six months of the initiative was to consolidate wider consultations with numerous individuals and institutions active in peace building in their countries, communities and regionally. That process culminated into the first regional gathering in mid-February 2023. Twelve peace workers from eight countries in the region joined the gathering, and among other things, shared about the following topics:
- Each other's movements and campaigns,
- Hopes/expectations from the regional network in future,
- Common peace issues that the network could deal with collectively, and
- Specific issues that are shared only by some of the countries in the region.
For the next few months the network plans to meet every month to build relationships and to further develop clarity about the nature and future of the network. Members will also keep exploring other groups and individuals who might be interested to join the network.
Other regional networks
In the past, WRI has played an instrumental role in forming, developing, supporting and contributing to networks in three regions - Africa (PANPEN), Latin America (RAMALC) and Europe. Discussions on forming a network in Asia have taken place on several occasions in WRI. More recently, existing WRI members in the region were experiencing a clear and strong need for a network. Because during the recent violent situations like in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, the peace workers in other countries could not get in touch with the local peace workers to know the real situation in the ground, or offer support and solidarity. Similarly, there are several issues that affect not only peace in one country but also regionally. Such issues need to be dealt with collectively in the region rather than limited to one country or community.