DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/18 September) – At least 2,800 Catholic educators from all over the country are expected to gather here to discuss Peace during the three-day national convention of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) which will start on September 21, the International Day of Peace.
Now celebrating its 70th year, CEAP, an organization of 1,345 member-schools is the country’s largest educational association committed to advance and promote the teaching function of the Catholic Church.
This year’s convention theme is Building a Culture of Peace: Shaping the Vision, Living the Dream.”
“As CEAP continues to respond to social, political, economic, moral and other critical issues as part of its commitment to the total development of the Filipino youth through Catholic formation and citizenship-building, through this convention it also affirms the words of Pope John Paul who said: To reach peace, teach peace,” a press release from CEAP said.
The expected attendance of some 2,800 participants has been described in the press release as “record-high in the history of CEAP conventions.”
The convention aims to provide an avenue for CEAP member-schools to share their best practices in integrating the concepts and principles of Justice and Peace Education in all aspects of school life — curricular and extra-curricular programs, school administration and operations; and
implementing programs and advocacies on justice and peace and related concerns such as poverty reduction, engaged citizenship, gender equality, environmental sustainability, interfaith/cultural solidarity, and good governance.
It also hopes to determine ways by which CEAP and member-schools can “critically engage government, business, media, the religious sector and other civil society groups in our common pursuit of building a culture of peace in Philippine society.”
Fr. Albert Alejo, a social anthropologist who has led various projects such as Ehem anti-corruption movement, Konsult Mindanaw and Dialogue Mindanaw consultations on the peace process between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front, will deliver the keynote address at the Ateneo de Davao University Matina campus on September 21.
Alejo, the first executive director of the Davao City-based Mindanawon Initiatives for Cultural Dialogue, is now based in Ateneo de Zamboanga.
At the closing rites on September 23, Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Bishop Socrates Villegas, chair of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Educaiton and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles will deliver messages during the closing rites on September 23.
Alejo will also be one of 44 concurrent session speakers who will expound on the topic “Intrafaith Process in the Service of Interfaith Dialogue: A Challenge to Catholic Educational Institutions”.
Concurrent session clusters on Day 2 are in the areas of Curriculum Instruction, School Administration and Operation, and Advocacy and Outreach. Some of the invited speakers are award-winning director, Dr. Ricky Abad of Tanghalang Ateneo to give an interactive talk on “Peace through Music and the Arts;” Dr. Loreta Castro, Executive Director of Miriam College Center for Peace Education on “Building Schools of and for Peace;” Cagayan de Oro Arcbhishop Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro and Chair of the CBCP Commission on Inter-Religious Dialogue will tackle “Building Bridges of Interfaith and Intercultural Understanding”.
The government and MILF peace panels will discuss: “Waging Peace in Mindanao/Addressing the Rido Practice.” Government peace panel chair Marvic Leonen and MILF peace panel member Abhoud Syed M. Lingga will be the discussants.
Two generals will handle “Engaging the Security Sector in Peace-building:” Western Mindanao chief, Lt.Gen. Raymundo B. Ferrer and Maj.Gen Emmanuel T. Bautista of the 3rd Infantry Division based in Capiz.
The CEAP press statement noted that through education, CEAP wants to underscore the fact that “peace is not just the absence of violence, but of the presence of conditions of well-being and just relationships among humans and among humans and Mother Earth.”
CEAP issued a “statement of support for lasting peace in Mindanao” during the 3rd Mindanao Bishops-CEAP Conference and the 4th CEAP Mindanao Summit from August 19 to 20 at the Notre Dame University in Cotabato City.
It welcomed President Aquino’s initiative to meet with MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim on August 4 in Japan and said the President’s initiative to meet with the MILF Chair “truly indicates the sincerity and commitment of the current administration to achieve peace in Mindanao, an act that manifests a spirit of solidarity and peace with the Moro community in this holy month of Ramadan.”
CEAP also called on its members to “support this peace process from within their schools by working for understanding and support for it. This includes presenting to our students the correct historical background underpinning today’s peace negotiations,” adding that “ Peace is a desideratum not only for Mindanao, but for the entire country.” (MindaNews)