Background and Rationale

The idea of establishing a network of senior individuals and experts to serve as a mechanism for regional peace and reconciliation was first put forward by distinguished speakers at an international symposium “Asia in the Next Decade” convened in Bangkok in 2011 by the Saranrom Institute of Foreign Affairs Foundation (SIFAF), the Institute of Global Law and Policy (IGLP) of Harvard Law School and the IGLP programme of the Faculty of Law of Chulalongkorn University. Participants, ranging from former leaders, ministers and international relations experts, prominent businessmen and academics pointed to the fact that Asia, which would have a pivotal role in global socio-economic affairs in the coming decades, is still facing challenges posed by domestic and international conflicts. What Asia lacked, they felt, was a regional non-governmental organization that pulled together diverse individuals with experience in conflict resolution, peacebuilding and reconciliation. This idea was translated into action when the APRC Founding Members met in a Preparatory Meeting for the Establishment of the Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council (APRC) on 4-5 September 2012, at Plaza Athenee Hotel, Bangkok, to deliberate on details of the APRC organization.

APRC will act on the principle of non-interference, silent/quiet diplomacy, consensus and upon request.

Vision of APRC

APRC aims to create a network of experienced individuals from within and outside of Asia, whose expertise and contacts can help in promoting peace and reconciliation in the region. APRC seeks to be a platform where collective expertise can be shared, research funded and experts deployed to assist in peace dialogues, peacebuilding processes, conflict management, and facilitation of reconciliation upon request of governments and communities facing political, social, cultural or religious conflicts or facing tensions in their bilateral relations. APRC will operate in ways that are complementary to and directly supportive of ASEAN and other regional processes.

Uniqueness of APRC

APRC is unique due to its three characteristics. First, it consists of respected Council Members who can offer a wealth of knowledge, experience, and understanding of bureaucratic, social and political structures and realities, interstate relations,  the administration of government and international relations and conflict resolution as well as first-hand knowledge of political decision-making processes. The Council Members join APRC as Global Citizens. They do not represent any particular country, government or political party. From their vast experience, APRC Council Members have a deep understanding of the sensitivities and complexities of conflict situations. The Council Members, with their diverse background and impartiality, will be able to offer a comfort level to parties of a conflict situation. The second unique characteristic is that APRC is an organization that is international, independent and non-governmental which will have unparalleled access to all levels of decision-makers involved in conflict situations.

Council Members join APRC as Global Citizens.

Third, each Council Member brings vast experience and extensive networks of contacts which when pooled together can create greater synergies and value-added. Acting collectively, the APRC can thus more effectively assist in conflict avoidance, peace dialogues, and reconciliation processes. Their good offices can assist governments, organizations and societies in Asia to reduce tensions and to reach a peaceful resolution of conflicts.

Principle

APRC upholds a non-intervention principle and operates only upon the request of parties to a conflict, be they governments or local communities. Quiet diplomacy is the modality. Negotiation and coordination will be done in confidentiality. Experts can be deployed to dialogue with all parties to the conflict and the “good office” of individual Council Members can be provided to encourage and assist parties concerned toward conflict resolution and transformation. The APRC may also decide to engage in any conflict resolution process provided all parties involved grant their consent.

Quiet diplomacy, non-intervention and acting on consensual basis.

Operation

  • Provide experienced and expert resource for countries to draw upon in supporting peace and reconciliation.

  • Deploy individuals to provide “good offices” for governments and communities in conflict.

  • Generate analysis and provide policy recommendation on peacebuilding and reconciliation to governments and regional institutions through research.

Quiet diplomacy, non-intervention and acting on consensual basis.

Organization Structure

APRC is an independent non-governmental organization, with its secretariat office located in Thailand at the Eastern Asia University compound. The APRC Foundation has also been registered under Thai Law to serve as a vehicle for fund-raising.(Organizational diagram to be created pending results of First Annual Meeting.)

Quiet diplomacy, non-intervention and acting on consensual basis.

Chart of the APRC Secretariat APRC-Chart