Peace Camp Brings Together Christian and Muslim Youth

APRIL 22ND 2009

Following the success of its first Peace Camp for Christian and Muslim students of a high school in Quiapo in 2006, the Communication Foundation for Asia (CFA) is set to hold its second Peace Camp on April 27 to May 2, 2009, in cooperation with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines – Episcopal Commission on Inter-religious Dialogue and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. This time, the Camp will be held at the CFA compound in Sta. Mesa, Manila, on the theme “Christian and Muslim Youth – Spreading the Message of Peace and Unity.”

Participants to the CFA Peace Camp this year will consist of 48 Christian and Muslim delegates from four schools, compared to 29 students from one school in the first Camp. The participating schools are: Ramon Avanceña High School, Taguig National High School, Culiat High School, and the Nazarene Catholic School. For six days, these high school students will be interacting with one another, trying to find commonalities despite differences, discovering new ways to communicate and to bridge the cultural and faith divide. They will be expected to learn how to use painting, music, photography, multimedia slideshow, scriptwriting and dramatics in order to express their own ideas and hopes for peace.

The Peace Camp will conclude its six-day program of activities with a Community Program at the CFA Auditorium where the students’ outputs will be showcased. Teachers and parents of the students, project stakeholders and peace advocates will join the CFA community to witness the program.

CFA has lined up several follow-up activities for the two-year Peace Camp project. These include workshops on web design with internet blogging and video production for the Camp participants. These should strengthen the Camp alumni’s ties and hone their peace communication skills. A video documentary and an interactive CD will also be produced. These productions and the kids’ artwork will be featured in a Travelling Exhibit, which will tour several key areas of the country.

According to CFA Executive Director Teresita Hermano, CFA and its project partners are optimistic that the Peace Camp will have a lasting impact on the students, their schools and their families, if the results of the first Peace Camp are anything to go by. As Fr. Carlos Reyes, Executive Secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Interreligious Dialogue, one of the project partners, said: “We are very happy that somehow the project initiated by CFA, in the form of the Christian-Muslim Peace Camp, has been instrumental in the promotion of mutual understanding and dialogue between the Christian and Islamic religions.”