Peace Trip Traveling Exhibit Launched

Oct 13th 2010

L aunching the Peace Trip Traveling Exhibit which is part of CFA’s Peace Camp 2 project, Fr Leonardo Cabrera, MSC, offered this invocation: “In diversity, You have called us to live with respect and love for one another. Bless us with courage, humility and perseverance to keep the flame of peace and unity alive among us. Allow the youth to inspire us to be people of peace with our hearts and hands reaching out to one another.” The traveling exhibit, consisting of a video documentary, photographs, paintings and words of the Peace Campers, were launched at a program on October 11, 2010 at the CFA Lagerwey Hall in Sta. Mesa.

“Peace Trip” is the title of both the exhibit and the video documentary of the April 2009 peace camp where 48 high school students from Christian and Muslim traditions came and worked together to build understanding and peace using various communication tools. The video captured the images and stories of transformation of the campers in a period of one year as they went through different workshops and training, including painting, music, drama, multi-media presentations, photography, videography and blogging.

Attending the launch program were the project stakeholders, peace camp participants, their teachers and school officials, parents and friends, whose reactions ranged from nervous excitement to overwhelming pride in the results. In her opening remarks, CFA Executive Director Terry Hermano reminded everyone of the objective of the project, which is to promote peace through communication which is a basic ingredient in peacemaking. After seeing the video documentary for the first time, the participants and their teachers acknowledged the profound changes in the campers’ perspectives, resulting in peace initiatives and ideas they have introduced in school after the camp.

Several campers and stakeholders spoke to give their reactions to the project. Mr. Gaddi Alawi, representing CFA’s Peace Camp project partner, the Young Moro Professionals Network, offered Muslim prayers of thanks and peace. Nohad Kubon, a participant from Taguig National High School, said that the camp changed their life as an ordinary student to one with special purpose as a peace ambassador who can make a difference in the lives of other youth in their campus. Jan Abel also of Taguig, urged his peers to be proud of what they have been and to share God-given peace with others because it is powerful — like a stone that can never be crushed. Pink Gem Waje offered her own analogy of the painting workshop she had participated in — she was taught to blend colors, she also learned that she needs to blend with people of different religions and backgrounds. She then said, “Conflicts are still present and there is no easy solution but we, peace campers, are making our own little steps to transform this wonderful world to a peaceful place. Part of this transformation is to share peace with others.”

Vital to the implementation of the project was the strong support of the school administrators and representatives. Mrs. Nelicia Abad, principal of Taguig National High School, who readily agreed to take part in the project, was grateful to CFA and advised the students, “You are the candle that will serve as light to the world and I know that this experience is unforgettable. The memories will linger even in your old age. You will tell stories of this to your children and your grandchildren. With self confidence, share the true meaning of peace with your Christian and Muslim brothers.” Another active supporter of the project, Mr. Michael Mondejar of Nazarene Catholic School, was there to thank CFA for bringing out the best in the students and for imparting skills and knowledge that they will treasure for the rest of their lives, imparting a seed of hope to become agents of transformation, peace and unity.

Fr. Filoteo Pelingon, CFA President, who was moved by the scene where campers were emotionally saying goodbye to one another, reminded the campers that the project also aimed to teach everyone that we are citizens of one country and of the world. He further stated that, “Wherever we go we can walk safely because we have developed understanding with one another… You [campers] will be together for life and not just during but even after the camp, to promote peace and understanding.”

The event concluded with the audience signifying their commitment to take part in the promotion of peace by writing their names on stickers to be posted on an exhibit display that states: “Sasama ako sa Peace Trip” [I will join the Peace Trip].

The day after the launch, the CFA team began their Mindanao Peace Tour, which brought the exhibit and video to Kauswagan, Iligan City, Valencia City and Cagayan de Oro.

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