Dr Emma Leslie (third from left in picture), an associate of the Philippines programme, has been awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. The award was given for Dr Leslie’s work on peacebuilding and mediation – particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. The Order of Australia recognises Australian citizens and other people, for achievements or meritorious service.
Dr Leslie played an instrumental role in supporting the formal peace talks between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, as part of the International Contact Group – on behalf of Conciliation Resources. The talks concluded in March 2014 with the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement, bringing an end to the four-decade conflict.
Currently attending the Oslo Forum – which is a leading network of senior conflict mediators, high level decision makers and key peace process actors – she comments:
This award recognises the efforts of peacebuilders who work tirelessly to address the causes of conflict, to prevent violence, to bring reconciliation and healing. I am honoured to represent them in receiving this award. It motivates me to work even more strategically with so many others to bring the real change we all desire.
Although originally from Australia, Dr Leslie has lived in Cambodia since 1997, where she has worked to support different conflict-related organisations and peace initiatives. These include the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Working Group for Weapons Reduction in Cambodia.
A tireless and influential peacebuilder, Dr Leslie has been working on conflict-related issues since 1993. As well as her involvement in the Philippines peace process, she was an independent observer of the Myanmar peace process – in particular supporting the talks of the Karen National Union and the All Burma Students Democratic Front.
Dr Leslie also teaches mediation courses at the Folke Bernadotte Academy in Sweden for the UN Department of Political Affairs. She co-founded and now leads, the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in Cambodia and was one of the 1,000 women nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.