Peace Education Program Amps Up with Training of FPE Teachers in External Units

by Dr. Rebekah M. Alawi

As a sequel to the ASA-sponsored TOT for FPE 101 teachers in the Main Campus held in March and in April 2019, another three-day TOT was held on August 24-26, 2019 at the Apple Tree Resort and Hotel in Opol, Mis. Oriental. The fifty or so participants were from MSU-Maigo, MSU-Naawan, MSU-LNAC, MSU-Sulu, MSU-Buug, MSU-Lopez Jaena, and MSU-LNCAT. The MSU-TCTO delegation failed to join the training program due to the imminent countdown to their celebration of the campus’ Golden Jubilee.

ASA which takes its name from the dialect term “asa” meaning hope or reliance is a non-government organization engaged in lending or granting loans for socio-economic projects like capacity building programs and livelihood-entrepreneurial projects.

The more recent TOT program, a collaborative project of the U.S. Embassy in Manila and the Mindanao State University worked out by former AVPAA Dr. Anonas as conduit, was originally designed and intended for MSU-Sulu and MSU-TCTO but was expanded to include the CSI-supervised units, specifically MSU-LNCAT, MSULNAC, and MSU-Maigo. Two other campuses, MSU-Naawan and MSU-Buug, were also represented.

Seven pioneering FPE 101 faculty of the MSU-Main Campus made up the roster of trainers, namely: Dr. Samuel E. Anonas, Dean Elena M. Tabanao, Dean Minombao R. Mayo, Dr. Rebekah M. Alawi, Dr. Grace S. Rafal, Prof. Jashim AbdulRahman, and Prof. Junna A. Liguid. Completing the group was Dr. Edralin “Beng” C. Manla, Project Manager of the Peace Education Project, who is based in Xavier University, Cagayan de Oro.

According to Dr. Rafal who was among the first TOT group that trained the MSU-GenSan and MSU-Maguindanao FPE 101 faculty before the implementation of the 3-unit course in August 2018, a noteworthy difference between the early batch of trainees and the Apple Tree group was the marked difference in age. The latter consisted of younger faculty who exuded enthusiasm and dynamism, and turned in a more unabashedly spirited participation. There were lively exchanges during the Open Forums and no-holds barred sharing and disclosures during certain activities.

The contents of the Teacher’s Manual were compressed into eight condensed lectures: “The Rationale/Background for Peace Education in the MSU as a national Peace University” of Dr. Anonas; “Pedagogies of Popular Education” of Dr. Alawi; “The Teacher as the Medium in Peace Education” of Dr. Manla; “The OBE-dized Syllabus of FPE101” of Dr. Rafal; “Peace Concepts in Islam” of Prof. AbdulRahman; “Peace Concepts in Christianity and Other Spiritual Traditions” of Dean Tabanao; “The Causes of Conflict and Violent Extremism and Strategies for Preventing These” of Prof. Liguid; and “Conflict Transformation, Transcendence, and Healing” of Dean Mayo.

On the second day, VPAA Alma E. Berowa came to check on how the training program was proceeding and delivered an inspiring message in behalf of the MSU administration.

In the continuous training of teachers of FPE 101 (Fundamentals of Peace Education) as a pro-active move to counter the spread of violent extremism and ray the foundations of a culture of peace, the Macaayong administration has established beachheads of cooperation with the US Embassy, Cambodia Institute of conflict and peace sttudies, and ASA.