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Culture of Peace enforces Student Leadership Aldrin Abdurahim/Albert Arcilla

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Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) and Youth Solidarity for Peace (YSP) in collaboration with Department of Education (DepEd) conducted a Culture of Peace (COP) Seminar Workshop last October 8, 2010 at Ramon Enriquez High School, Labuan, Zamboanga City. The COP is the third station of cluster orientations for the week of Peace as part of the Interschool Peace Caravan. Participants were student leaders from three secondary high schools namely Sinubong National High School, Limpapa National High School and host School-Ramon Enriquez High School.

The activity is geared towards orienting student leaders and instilling in them the culture of peace as against the culture of violence. Since it is PAZ’s thrust in advocating peace to various schools, the organization reached far west schools of the city to be involved in various peace programs. Eventually, a Solidarity Journey of the new schools involved in peace-building marked the legacy of the 3rd cluster station.

The organizers prepared various lively workshops, activities and plenary discussions about peace and conflict. An overview was presented by the PAZ Staff highlighting the solidarity journey of the peace caravan for the whole month of Ramadhan. On the other hand, participants wanted to learn more about what peace is and how to relate on transforming student leadership to peace advocacy.

Rosie France Montojo and Dick Jay Bustamante, Youth Solidarity for Peace facilitators shared important messages of peace while PAZ Staff Zyra Gale Buenaventura, Aldrin Abdurahim and Violy Boybanting served as resource speakers on various sessions.

Mark Bucoy, Ramon Enriquez High School Student Government Officer disclosed that “Mindanao had been facing a lot of problems that needs solutions. We have been affected with it. Thus, we need to solve it by integrating peace in ourselves”. Meanwhile, they define peace grounded on the values of people, weapon of unity, a key to the progress of the nation.

Student Leadership for peacebuilding had been the central theme during the culture of peace orientation. It was integrated in various topics of defining peace, understanding critical threats to peace, culture of peace and six paths to peace. Peace Advisers commended the fruitful discussions of the participants on how to relate peace in various levels. Peace starts within us. It was noted that every drop counts when we talk about peace.

A commitment for peace through the Yes for Peace: hands for Peace painting was integrated in the afternoon session as a symbol of pursuing the quest for peace. In addition, the visual artist continued the solidarity peace is in our hands mandala for peace. Other participants reflected on the challenges imposed on how youth leaders respond to the various problems of the society. Of which, they crafted peace missions in line with the goal of organizing peace clubs and projects. Also, they discussed about their engagements in the celebration of the Mindanao Week of Peace.

Sr. Emma I. Delgado, PAZ Executive Secretary shared gratefulness among the three schools for responding the said invitation. She shared that “PAZ is very grateful of the active involvement of the student leaders as well as teachers and administrators in the advocacy for peace”. PAZ looks forward for more partnerships with the mentioned schools. The advisers congratulated the participants for the job well done. Meanwhile, Mrs. Anabella O. Espinosa, REHS School Principal challenged the student leaders to advocate peace and further transform our communities. She highlighted the generosity of the school in accommodating various groups and schools to journey with the school in their many activities. Thus, PAZ is very thankful to the host school for another experience of peace.

The caravan will continue to twenty-three more schools of Zamboanga City in its solidarity journey of the Interschool peace Caravan.




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