“We have the Right to Peace!” was the resounding and clear message of Peace Week and the many school activities revolved around this theme. Respect for life and respect for human rights and human dignity, which are so integral to peace, were highlighted during the week of September 17 to 21, 2018.
The observance of Peace Week at Miriam College this year was hewed very closely to the call of the UN to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
A public forum organized by the CPE on “Respect for Human Rights and Human Lives: Interfaith Perspectives” opened the week, with speakers representing the Catholic Christian and Muslim faiths.
The forum speakers asserted that in both these faiths, respect for life, and human dignity are enshrined. MC students as well as outside guests from like-minded organizations came to take part in the forum.
A Peace Art Gallery was the main feature of the second day, where paintings with human rights themes were lent by the Angel C Palanca Peace Program, a partner organization of the CPE. The CPE and Pax Christi jointly mounted this exhibit. Pax Christi also put up a Peace Wall so students can freely express their sentiments regarding the human rights situation in the country. They also had a fund-raising activity called “Peace Balls.”
HEU declares all-out peace
In the Higher Education Unit, the College of Arts and Sciences started a project called “Labyrinth for Peace”, an activity where community members put stones with peace designs to form a labyrinth so that eventually the community can use this as a way of meditating for and about peace.
For its part, the College of Business, Entrepreneurship, and Accountancy offered free “Coffee for Peace”.
The College of Education, on the other hand, had the “Paper Cranes for Peace”, encouraging the MC community to either fold a paper crane for a small fee or purchase one. Proceeds were earmarked for the Twinning Project. The paper cranes were then hung in a Peace tree.
The first year students also participated by taking snapshots of ‘peaceful’ activities that were taking place around the campus. The snapshots were posted by the students in their social media accounts with the hashtags #peaceday #mcpeaceweek #wehavetherighttopeace.
The BEU spreads peace
In the High School, there was a Peace Art exhibit showing the creative posters of our own HS students. In the Middle School, AP classes focused on issues of human rights and held an exhibit called “Espejo: Salamin ng Estado ng Karapatang Pantao sa Lipunan.” The MS also invited speakers to a series called Peace Talks to present varied points of view from alumnae who are now lawyers, directors, and practitioners from NGOs.
In the lower school, various grade levels had pockets of activities such as “Hardin ng Kapayapaan” decorating, ideas on taking care of resources through their “Puno ng Kapayapaan”, construction of a roulette wheel and using it as their platform to show how to end the culture of violence in their communities, sharing different cultural perspectives in “Maskara ng Kapayapaan”, and a video showing an activity to inspire reflection on conflict resolution.
In the CSC, the activities included giving hugs and high fives as well as the use of peaceful communication during Circle Time as the teachers encouraged the children to say something nice to their classmates.
In MAE, the students delivered original spoken word poetry. In SAID, Rommel Joson’s "Isang Harding Papel" —a story about Martial Law—was presented through a shadow play. A SAID delegation also participated in the IDP mass.
As a fitting end to the Peace Week, a Mass was held during the International Day of Peace. The theme of the homily and petitions revolved around the over-all Peace Week theme of respect for life and human dignity. Finally, this was echoed in the candle-lighting ceremony in the afternoon, where faculty and students gathered along Katipunan to express their message of resistance against assaults to the values of respect for life, dignity, and political freedoms that are threatening Philippine society.