AUSTRALIA-SPONSORED WORKSHOP PLACES PEACE EDUCATION ON THE REGIONAL STAGE
With the support of the Australian Government, Miriam College’s Centre for Peace Education is currently running a five-day workshop (18 to 22 September) in Quezon City on peace education for 23 educators from eight South-East Asian countries.
In what may be a first, teachers and education ministry officials, as well as representatives from several non-governmental organizations, from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam have gathered to develop modules and action plans that integrate the principles of peace education and interfaith cooperation into their curricula and communities.
“Through peace education, which encourages actions that contribute towards conditions of human and ecological well-being, we can work towards building a critical mass of people that reject violence and respect human dignity, socio-economic justice, tolerance, cooperation and other peace values”, said Miriam College Centre for Peace Education Executive Director Loreta N. Castro.
Ms Castro hopes that the participants of this workshop will also form the beginnings of a South-East Asia Peace Education Network.
The Coordinator of the Australian Embassy’s Strengthening Grassroots Interfaith Dialogue and Understanding (SGIDU) Program, Quinton Devlin, encouraged participants to consider how they might help – through education – present and future generations to appreciate diversity, resolve conflicts without violence, and decrease the sense of disconnection, marginalisation and helplessness felt in some quarters.
The Australian Government will also support the workshop’s Philippine participants – from Claret College schools in Basilan, Notre Dame of Jolo College in Jolo, and the Rajah Muda High School in Pikit – to themselves deliver similar training in their own schools and communities in the months ahead.
This important and ground-breaking exercise was also supported by the Peace Education Working Group of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict - Southeast Asia (GPPAC-SEA), CORDAID, and the Peacemakers’ Circle Foundation.
As its name suggests, the Australian Embassy’s Strengthening Grassroots Interfaith Dialogue and Understanding (SGIDU) Program is a small grant scheme that supports stand-alone projects that contribute directly to strengthening acceptance, understanding and dialogue among communities of different faiths at the grassroots level in the Philippines. For more information on the SGIDU Program, please call (02) 757 8262.