By Princess T. Abellon
SILLIMAN UNIVERSITY RELIGION and Peace Studies Department (SU-RPSD) of the Divinity School spearheaded the Peace Week Celebration last Sept. 16-21.
Dr. Myraluz Vivares-Waddington, coordinator of the peace week celebration, said that in order for the people to understand and practice peace in their lives, they should be educated.
“Without education, they would not know how to live a peaceful life,” Dr. Waddington said. This year’s celebration centers on education as a tool to raise awareness on peace. In line with this, Religion and Peace Studies Department conducted four activities: peace storytelling, peace forum, sports for peace and art exhibit.
In partnership with Dumaguete City Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), religion professors and instructors together with selected students from religion classes visited five day care centers from three barangays—Brgy. Tinago, Brgy. Daro and Brgy. Poblacion 8— to conduct a puppet show peace storytelling for the morning and afternoon sessions.
“The peace story is taken from the biblical story Esau and Jacob. It is about a conflict between two brothers (Esau and Jacob) but in the end, they reconciled,” Dr. Waddington said.
After the peace story, the facilitators taught the young day care pupils to relate the story to their own young lives and relationships.
“We asked them a few questions. Questions like how was their relationship with their siblings at home as well as with their friends. We made it a point to emphasize the importance of peace in our daily lives,” Jeasela Lucyn B. De Barras, said one of the story-tellers.
“It felt awesome to look at the kid’s smiling faces and hearing their laughter, knowing that somehow I caused that happiness even for just a little while,” she added.
As one of the peace week activities, the Religion and Peace Studies Department invited Mr. Mike Alar, project manager of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, to speak in the Peace Forum: The Mindanao Conflict and the Role of Peace Education in Peace Building, last Sept. 17. The said forum aims to provide a venue for students to learn about the development of the peace process in Mindanao and the key role that education play in peace building.
Sports for peace
Covering the week long celebration is the “Sports for Peace and Development”. This program promotes sports in development camaraderie and teamwork, and engages students who are at risk of dropping out of school and are currently under the Project Agakay of the Department of Education (DepEd), last Sept. 21. DepEd’s Project Agakay is to assist the SARDOs (students at risk of dropping out) to stay in school through tutorials and other activities such as sports fest.
The College of Education (COE) and the College of Performing and Visual Arts (COPVA) spearheaded an art exhibit using recycled materials. Their works were based on the theme, “From Chaos to Peace”. The United Nations (UN)
declared Sept. 21 as the International Day of Peace.