Miriam College is proud to have two of its young alumnae promote our core value of Peace at the recent events in line with the United Nations’ High Level Political Forum at the UN Headquarters in New York. College Alumnae Sophia Dianne “Soda” Garcia (CSC 2000, GS 2007, HS 2011 and COL 2015) and Bianca Pabotoy (COL 2017), participated in the Voices of SDG16+ which focused on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
Soda is a Project Officer at the Center for Peace Education. She presented in two of the side events in line with the High Level Political Forum. In one of her presentations, Soda talked about the video featuring the initiatives of the Young Women for Peace and Leadership Program of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders implemented by CPE in the Philippines.
Soda recounts her experience:
“The two side events are the Expert Roundtable Discussion-Voices of SDG16+: Stories for Global Action and Policy Forum-Voices of SDG16+: Stories for Global Action. The first event was attended by around 40-60 participants ----Member States representatives UN officials and leading civil society organizations. While the second event is a public open meeting with around 80 attendees from the UN, CSOs, activists and journalists in the UN Church Center in NYC. In both events, I shared the story of 38 young leaders from very diverse backgrounds - Muslims, Christians, Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQIA+ advocates and male allies who have positioned themselves at the forefront of debates on youth participation in sustaining peace responding to the pressing issues faced by our society and how youth can contribute in addressing these.”
Bianca is also a Project Officer of CPE. In one of the side events in New York, she presented “WePeace”. According to Bianca, “Anchoring its work on not only peace building but gender equality, WePeace champions the United Nations Security Resolution 1325 – Women, Peace and Security; giving women at the frontline meaningful participation in peacekeeping and peacebuilding.” Besting almost 200 videos, WePeace had been selected as one of the Voices of SDG16+. The project had been presented in both a private roundtable meeting and public panel with fellow civil society organizations, government representatives and UN agencies in attendance.
Bianca shares: “Women have put themselves at the forefront of conflict and peace yet when brought to a higher level of participation, e.g. leadership and decision-making, the women at the frontline are the same women who are sidelined. The Center for Peace Education’s 2019 Women, Peace and Security Training: Women's Agency in Keeping the Peace, Promoting Security or WePeace, challenges this.”
SDG16+ has synergies with SDG 5 (gender equality), we hope to change the violent, misogynist and indecent narratives present in Philippine politics into constructive and respectful dialogues that will promote peace, justice and equality wherein youth will be active participants.”
We are truly proud of our outstanding alums who represent the Filipino youth in such significant forums and dialogues. Soda and Bianca prove that one is never too young to build an awareness for global issues and passionately take a stand to be leaders and advocates for peace.