First Ever Virtual Peace Expo Held in Campus a Huge Success
On September 27, 2018, all roads for Peace Education students, faculty and peace advocates headed by MSU System President Habib W. Macaayong, led to the Convention Hall for the first ever Virtual Peace Expo held in campus. The groundbreaking program, an initiative of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) under the dynamic leadership of Sec. Jesus G. Dureza, saw execution by the Mindanao State University as partner. It was a glorious take-off for the program which was organized to commemorate the Peace Month, September, with the theme “Mithiing Kapayapaan, Sama-Samang Isakatuparan.”
With only two weeks of frenetic preparation, the Office of the President and the Peace Education Committee chaired by Dr. Samuel Anonas, Asst. Vice President for Academic Affairs, in close coordination with the OPAPP personnel headed by Mr. Misuari Abdullah, managed to pull off a successful affair. The program held at the Convention Center featured “MSU: A Success Story in Peacebuilding,” with Dr. Acram Latiph, IPDM Executive Director, proudly touting initiatives and efforts made by the University to negotiate the transition from a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace. Unrelenting pursuit of its integration mission as a social laboratory, over the years, serves proof of its commitment to peacebuilding.
Three competitions, in addition to the OPAPP in Ortigas – MSU Marawi- MSU GenSan simulcast, made the highlights of the Program: Poetry for Peace, with Dr. Rebekah M. Alawi as Coordinator; Poster-Making (with Slogan) for Peace, with CWS Exec. Director Norma Marohom as Coordinator; and Documentary Film for Peace, with Prof. Sorhaila L. Yusoph as Coordinator. The response to the call for participation was galvanic. Student entrants in the three categories were fired up with enthusiasm. Entries were submitted on-line. The Board of Judges for Peace Poetry waded through a deluge of nearly a hundred poems. There were about as many entries for the Poster- Making competition. Only a few had the time, skill, and confidence to join the Reel Peace or Mini Documentary Film for Peace category. For each category, the Best Five were picked and awarded certificates and cash prizes, compliments of the OPAPP. MSU-GenSan held its own competitions.
The original plan included Pres. Duterte (in Malacañan) in the tele-talk but due to poor Internet connectivity, this did not materialize. In his brief speech, a report on “The State of the Peace Process,” Sec. Dureza emphasized the need to give peace in Mindanao a chance by seeking greater understanding of, and supporting the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) at the January plebiscite. A few days before the Virtual Peace Expo, the OPAPP sponsored a dialogue-information campaign to this end. He expressed optimism that the long aspired-for peace for Mindanao is at hand.
In his Opening Remarks, Pres. Macaayong lauded the relentless efforts of the OPAPP to bring to fruition genuine just and lasting peace after a three-decade quest for peace in Mindanao, which has involved the Mindanao State University as a National Peace Education Institution from its inception. The Virtual Peace Expo, he said, is decidedly auspicious, making an inspired symphony with the implementation of the University’s Peace Education (FPE 101 – Fundamentals of Peace Education) that August. The offering of Peace Education as a general requirement has been praised by other schools as “trailblazing”. “War begins in the minds of men,” he said, quoting the UNESCO Charter. “We must start winning the war in the minds of our youth. It is only by winning this bloodless war that Peace can gain a solid foothold in the minds and hearts of our people.”
It was also announced by Dr. Anonas, that the MSU-Main which has spearheaded the proactive move to mold students into peacemakers and builders of a Culture of Peace through the integration of FPE 101 in all its curricula, is likely to be tapped by CHED to conduct training in Peace Education in other SUCs.
The program climaxed and ended with the audience, mostly FPE 101 students, singing an anthem to peace, “Kapayapaan”.