Mindanao Students Call for Peace

Jan 17th 2011

"I f we want peace, we need to start with ourselves.” This is the resounding call of the youth from Mindanao who participated in the Peace Trip Traveling Exhibit and Forum held in various cities and towns in Mindanao from October 14 to 21, 2010.(See Peace Trip Trail: http://goo.gl/maps/qWzS)

Immediately following the exhibit launch of the peace project Christian and Muslim Youth: Spreading the Message of Peace and Unity, the CFA training team flew to Mindanao carrying with them the “Peace Trip” video documentary and the art exhibit of Peace Camp 2. In each school visit, the team presented the video and facilitated discussions on peace and how each individual can contribute to peace. The exhibit of photographs and paintings was also set up. At the end of each forum, the participants were encouraged to commit themselves to becoming peace advocates, signified by putting their names on stickers and posting them on one exhibit tarpaulin which said: “Sasama ako sa Peace Trip” [I will join the Peace Trip].

The first stop of the peace caravan was St. Vincent’s Academy in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, a mixed Christian-Muslim school run by the Assumption sisters. Around 400 high school students joined the video forum where they urged each other to fight for peace. As one student said, “Peace starts with unity and cooperation. We should let go of hatred of people of other religions and work for peace and unity.”

The next stop the following day was the Corpus Christi Parochial School in Iligan City where about 1000 students participated in the peace program. Echoing the statements of Kauswagan youth, the students called on each other to turn to God as a source of peace so they could become peacemakers wherever they are.

The team then traveled from Iligan City to Valencia City, Bukidnon to hold a day-long peace forum with students simultaneous with a media workshop for teachers at the San Agustin Institute of Technology (See related story). The SAIT students, who were a mix of Christian and Muslim students, were encouraged by the video and committed to continue to relate to each other with utmost respect for each other’s differences.

The last leg of the Mindanao trip was the trip to San Isidro College in Malaybalay, Bukidnon where about 600 students came to view the video and commit themselves to contribute to peace. The San Isidro high schoolers emphasized the need to have peace not just in themselves but to spread it in their homes, schools and society.

Following the Mindanao Trail is the Visayas Peace Travelling Exhibit, held in November.

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