Student Leaders Converse with Veteran Peacebuilders on the Ground

Pakig-ambitay PNG FILEIMG_8961 IMG_9110 IMG_9106IMG_8931IMG_8986IMG_8942IMG_8954IMG_8982IMG_9007In one rare occasion, in conjunction with the university’s observance of the Mindanao Week of Peace (MWOP) 2014, the Arrupe Office of Social Formation’s Communications & Advocacy Program brought together a group of student leaders in an afternoon conversation on peace, held on 3rd December 2014 at the “Pakighinabi” Room of the Community Center. The student leaders were in the company of two prominent peacebuilders on the ground who shared their respective experiences in grassroots peacebuilding: Mr. Mike Alon of IMAN, Inc. and Mr. Orson Sargado of Peacebuilding program of Catholic Relief Service (CRS).  Entitled Pakig-ambitay para sa Kalinaw sa Mindanaw:” An Afternoon Conversation on Peace, Part 1, this modified round-table discussion (RTD), conversation style, is a derivative of the “Pakighinabi” series where discussants were asked to lead discussions on a specific topic, and where members of the audience freely interact not only by asking questions but also by offering their own reflections, sharings, insights and learnings, addressed to the lead discussants as well as to the rest of the audience.10394027_10203851695470933_4037460077669657445_n“Papa” Mike—as addressed by co-discussant Mr. Sargado—a veteran peace warrior, presented some personal insights on grassroots peacebuilding based on his experience as a Muslim working in war-torn communities in Pikit, North Cotabato.  He conveyed how he worked among Muslims, Christians and Lumads through the peace zone which he and Fr. Roberto “Bert” Layson, OMI, created in Pikit.  He highlighted the importance of respecting culture and religion among the different stakeholders that live side by side amidst a volatile situation.  He also underscored the fact that peacebuilding efforts alone are not enough if they are not accompanied by the delivery of basic social services to communities that are plagued by poverty and a lack of socio-economic opportunities. Continue reading