Peace-building is a contextual paradigm. Whatever we learn and experience enriches our knowledge .... although it gets said frequently and sometimes casually, attending the Kerala Peace conference reinforced to me that in our every day lives, our actions can promote the words: MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH."
In celebration of the 2016 International Day of Peace, The Goldin Institute Philippines partnered with two universities where I teach Peace Education: Mindanao State University and Catabato City State Polytechnic College.
This year to coincide with Peace Day, I was privledged to further my trainings as a Peace Educator by attending weeklong celebrations and instructional workshops In Kerala, India. The primary event was sponsored by the United Religions (URI) Traveling Peace Initiative.
One of the early highlights while in India, was taking part in an environmental awareness project to revive a local dying river on September 21st.
During the same day as the river revival project, we joined the children of a nearby community school to celebrate the importance of the day with students and their teachers. The theme for this year was especially relevant in response to the call to save the Earth's natural resources - ensuring that the needs of the next generation are not compromised.
It was my honor to share the story of the Goldin Institute Philippines Access to Clean Water Project and our other Peace Advocacy projects, during a presentation to the URI and participants of the Traveling Peace Academy. Representatives from eleven countries were in attendance. During my brief comments, I highlighted our strategy on building grassroots communities through partnerships with direct stakeholders.
My colleague Jane Usop Abdul and I brought a tarpaulin collage, representing all our projects and community building activities in partnership with the Mindanao State University. Our representative collage, along with others, was showcased on a main display wall. It was well received by the participants and organizers. The feedback was especially positive to the activities initiated by the Goldin Institute Philippines in partnership with my Peace Education students from the Mindanao State University and Cotabato City State Polytechnic Collage. The tarpaulin’s images served as talking points to highlight the student beneficiaries from the rural schools we serve in flood and conflict-affected areas , as well as orphans of the war.
I am excited to have been invited to join the URI and look forward to the exchange of ideas and strategies in the sector of peace advocacy. I am especially honored because the Initiative has an international presence and a well-respected reputation amongst those who work in the inner-religious field.
Breakout Sessions at the Conference:
During sessions on Religion, Conflict Resolution and Transformation, I was also able to share my knowledge, experiences and teachings as a Peace Educator in the context of the Philippines. I was able to relate strategies and ideas on interfaith dialogue, environmental protection and building grassroot communities which I learned from my participation to various events sponsored by the Goldin Institute.
Peace-building is a contextual paradigm. Whatever we learn and experience enriches our knowledge. The URI - Traveling Peace-building Academy offers great opportunities and resources where different religions and cultures engage and journey together to find a common ground for a dialogue towards peace. Although it gets said frequently and sometimes casually, attending the Kerala Peace conference reinforced to me that with each day, our actions can promote the words: MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH.
The following photos were taken during the Peace conferences at Kerala. I would like to thank my friend and colleague Jane Usop Abdul for use of those photos taken by her and also the organizers at URI for permission to include them here.