In a nationwide tour lasting three months, CFA’s Peacebook Exhibit visited a total of 30 school venues in 16 cities, reaching around 15,000 students, teachers and community leaders. Launched in CFA in September 2011, the exhibit proceeded immediately to Davao and to different schools in the province. Then for the next three months until December, the Training team went to educational institutions around Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, Bicol, Western Visayas and Northern Mindanao, displaying the exhibit, screening the video documentary and conducting forums on the Peace Camp project. (To view the map of the tour, click on this link: http://g.co/maps/uudzd)
One of the last stops of CFA’s Traveling Exhibit was Cotabato City, to visit the students from Notre Dame-RVM College who had participated in the 2010 Peace Camp. The students were happy to organize their own peace program and present to their schoolmates the video that documented their experiences as peace ambassadors.
“Peacebook” is the title not only of the exhibit but also of the video documentary that tells the story of CFA’s 2010 Peace Camp and its impact on the participating Christian and Muslim students. A further documentation of the two-year project will be contained in an interactive-DVD, which will be released soon as a supplement to the Peacebook video documentary and made available to schools and peace advocates. The interactive-DVD will allow educators and peace advocates to explore the various elements of the CFA Peace camp including the background of the project, activities of the peace camp and the scope of the traveling exhibit. An added feature is a selection of online peace education materials.
The students who attended the various Peacebook forum events expressed interest in the issues of peace and unity. However, in parts of the country where there is no significant presence of Muslims, the Peace project’s theme of ‘unity in diversity’ took on a broader meaning for the students, who discussed differences based not only on religion but also on economic status and other biases. The forum then posed the challenge for the students to transcend differences and unite as one Filipino family working for peace and solidarity.
This rang true for various students who responded to the challenge, as expressed in their own words:
“The pursuit of peace doesn’t end with the camp. Because I have seen it, I am challenged to spread peace in small ways and become a peace ambassador myself.”
“I will use media to promote peace.”
“Even if I am still young, I can spread peace. I will accept people for who they are and not mind the differences because we can just focus on the similarities.”
“I am a Muslim and I was hurt when my classmates in high school discriminated against me. Now that I am in college where I can freely express my faith, I am glad that there are documentaries like these that can explain to Christians that Muslims are good people and that we can all get along with them. (Xavier University)”
The audience reactions echoed the sentiments of the Peace Camp participants themselves. As they declared in the closing narration of the “Peacebook” documentary:
“Thirty-one high school students! Not only were we of different religions, we lived in opposite ends of the country! But we found that understanding, mutual respect and open communication can build bridges to overcome barriers and differences. We are young enough not to be burdened with old prejudices, not to be influenced by past animosities. Most of all, we are young enough to be full of hope – hope that we can make a difference in the world as we have made a difference in each other. This is our story. This is our PeaceBook.”
The Peacebook story is expected to continue beyond the tour, inspiring the people who have been involved in the project, and encouraging audiences to write their own stories on peace.