Muhammad-Ayub Pathan

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2013


This profile was prepared when Muhammad-Ayub Pathan was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.
The New Idea
Ayub is creating a bottom-up peace process in Thailand’s Deep South, the three southernmost provinces mired in long-lasting violence between an Islam separatist movement and national military forces. Ayub believes that peace can be achieved and sustained only if local communities have a collective voice and can put pressure on all conflicting parties. Instead of waiting for outside experts to propose conflict solutions which often do not match the local context, he builds a bottom-up movement to engage local communities in promoting and sustaining peace. Ayub is facilitating dialogue among local residents, previously silenced by fear of the ongoing violence and by discrimination from central authorities as supporters of terrorism. He has initiated a journalism movement to equip local residents—particularly women and youth—to report their own stories and broadcast them in local media, in both the national Thai language and local Yawi dialect. This is the first time in decades that newspapers and radio stations are available in Yawi, perceived by central authorities as the language of terrorists, but promoted by Ayub as the native tongue spoken by three million Muslims in the Deep South. He is creating a variety of mutually supporting mechanisms to provoke dialogue and develop consensus among citizens at three levels: leaders of conflicting factions, local citizen organizations (COs) and diverse communities at the grassroots level.

As a result of Ayub’s efforts, local citizens have spoken against both conflicting factions and civilian attacks have reduced. Local citizens are more engaged and their perspectives are gaining more media coverage as the Thai government and militant groups are beginning negotiations toward a peaceful resolution.

Ayub is expanding his collaborations to media and citizen sector networks in other conflict zones in Asia. In 2011, he set up a training program for Deep South Journalism School students in collaboration with a major newspaper, university, and COs in Aceh, Indonesia.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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