In observance of the Mindanao Week of Peace (MWOP, which runs from 27th November to 3rd December 2014 with the theme We Pray for Long Lasting Peace in Mindanao: Give, Share, Live and Proclaim Peace), the Communications and Advocacy Program (CAP) of the Arrupe Office of Social Formation will be conducting the Pakig-ambitay para sa Kalinaw sa Mindanaw,  a two-part series of an afternoon conversation where two discussants share about their actual experience of peacebuilding and peacemaking in their own respective communities to a fairly small group of student leaders, faculty, and civil society groups in Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU). The “Pakig-ambitay,” therefore, is derivative of the “Pakighinabi” series which is run by the Office of the President.

For the first part, entitled Pakig-ambitay para sa Kalinaw sa Mindanaw” (Part 1), Mr. Mike Alon, a Muslim, and the Executive Director of IMAN, Inc. (Integrated Mindanaons Association for Natives, Inc.)—an organization that undertakes initiatives and programs on peace education, community building and delivery of basic social services for children in grassroots Moro communities, especially in Kabacan, North Cotabato—has been invited to be one of the discussants.  He will be joined by another discussant who knows what it’s like to take up the cudgel on peace-building and peace-making from the grassroots level, Mr. Orson Sargado, the Program Manager of Peacebuilding at Catholic Relief Services (CRS).  Mr. Sargado previously taught at ADDU. The expected audience for this small-group conversation are student leaders from the SAMAHAN Central Board, the Campus Club Organizations (CCO), student leaders from the Socio-Civic clubs, and the corps of Arrupe Vols. This will be on Wednesday, 3rd December 2014, at 3:40 p.m., at the “Pakighinabi” Room, 3rd floor of the Community Center.  This activity will serve as the culmination of the university’s observance of the MWOP.  This round-table discussion (RTD), conversation-style, and will be moderated by students.

For the second part entitled “Padayon sa Pakig-ambitay para sa Kalinaw sa Mindanaw” (Part 2), a post-MWOP offering, it will feature Fr. Roberto “Bert” Layson, OMI, the parish priest of the Sto. Niño of Kulaman, Sultan Kudarat, who is known for his pioneering work in building peace zones in war-affected areas in Pikit, North Cotabato, as one of the discussants. Fr. Bert is recognized for his pastoral ministry in peacebuilding not only locally but also internationally.  His work among those affected by internal displacement due to war and conflict in his own neighbouring communities has been highly publicized. He will be joined by (again) Mr. Mike Alon of IMAN, Inc., who will do a reprise of his role, but this time directed to a different audience. A small group of ADDU faculty and some of the university’s external partners (NGOs) and civil society groups, will be invited for this purpose.  This second part offering, which is done in coordination with the Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia, will be on Monday, 15th December 2014, at 3:40 p.m., at the “Pakighinabi” Room (3rd floor) of the Community Center.  This RTD will be moderated by faculty.

In an announcement made earlier by University President Fr. Joel E. Tabora, SJ, both Fr. Bert Layson and Mr. Mike Alon will be bestowed by the university the distinction of Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa, during the Commencement Exercises in March 2015.  They are being recognized for their advocacy in promoting peace-building initiatives and inter-religious/inter-cultural dialogue, as well as in initiating Spaces for Peace in their own respective communities.  (By M. Isabel S. Actub, Arrupe Communications & Advocacy)