Butuan university to host peace confab for academics

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/22 September) – Caraga region’s top university will host a peace conference among schools and universities across the country to get perspectives from scholars and academicians on the question of peace.

Rev. Father Randy Jasper Odchigue, Father Saturnino Urios University vice president for Academic Affairs and chair of the conference, said the Creating Spaces for Peace in Mindanao Conference will take place on No. 25 and they expect around 500 participants.

“We came up with the idea since we felt that the university has its responsibility in contributing towards peace building and conflict transformation,” he explained.

He noted that there have been many peace summits and conferences organized by nongovernment organizations and government bodies but only a few that were academic in nature.

“Our activity’s goal here is to explore frameworks on how to move forward and look for better alternatives and possibilities that would help promote peace from the perspective of the academe,” Odchigue said.

“The schedule of the event also coincides with the Mindanao Week of Peace. Before, the rule of the university was to serve as support to the diocese on the week of peace activity but now we felt that we can also do something bigger as an academe, so we came up with this conference,” he said.

“As far as we know, there have not been enough venues for discussions or scholarly study on the academe perspective on peace, so I hope this event would shed a different light on the issues covering conflict especially here in Mindanao,” said Rev. Father John Christian Young, FSUU president.

“This academic conference is also inviting scholars from all over the Philippines to present papers on peace covering the entirety of it aspects,” Young said.

He said the conference will tackle topics ranging from resource-based conflicts to the Bangsamoro question as well as, culture and inter-religious dialogue.

He added the event is significant given the conflicts all over Mindanao including Caraga region.

The conference keynote speakers are Jurgette Honculada, a former member of the GPH peace panel in talks with the NDF, and book author and anthropologist Brother Karl Gaspar, CSsR. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)