Peace Week and Catholic Nonviolence Days of Action 2020

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In celebration of this year’s International Day of Peace and Catholic Nonviolence Days of Action, the Center for Peace Education (CPE) organized a series of activities highlighting the themes: "Making Nonviolence our Way of Life" and "Shaping Peace Together", which are the themes of the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative and the United Nations, respectively.

The celebration started off with the new episode of “Our Peaceful Classroom: Essential Life Skills in the New Normal” with guest speaker Dr. Ma Teresa Tayaban. She talked about the need for a daily structure and predictable rules and consequences to guide children towards a sense of self-discipline and lessen feelings of anxiety and fear in a study-from-home set up. The episode also shared some practices for emotional wellness and a brief meditation exercise using music and imagery.

On September 21, International Day of Peace, CPE organized the webinar “Peaceful Parenting: How to be a Supportive Parent When Kids Study Online” featuring Ms. Odette Umali, founder of Gordon Parenting. The goal of the webinar was for parents to learn more about communicating genuinely to their children in a peaceful and supportive manner. The speaker highlighted ways to prevent conflicts from arising and gave practical exercises to the parents on conversing with their kids meaningfully. This day was also commemorated through a schoolwide Prayer for Nonviolence; and throughout the week, peace and nonviolence themes were also integrated in class discussions in the different Miriam College units.

Sessions on “Psychological First Aid” (PFA) were also conducted by Dr. Gail Galang, CPE Associate Director and Family Studies Department Chair to High School and Lower School teachers on September 17 and Middle School teachers on September 23. This session emphasized on the important role of teachers in providing PFA to students and at the same time, the need to also practice self-care especially during these challenging times.

A talk on “Cultivating Inner Peace through Self-Care” was held on September 23 as well in partnership with the Pax Christi High School. The speaker, Ms. Karissa Chua, CPE technical assistant, shared simple ways of practicing self-care and finding inner peace during the pandemic highlighting positive affirmation as a form of mental self-care.

On October 2, CPE released on social media a two-part exhibit: the “Heroes of Nonviolence”, a collection of faces and quotes submitted by the students of Miriam College (MC), and “Youth's Voices on Nonviolence”, featuring some voices from the MC youth on the meaning of peace and nonviolence in commemoration of the International Day of Nonviolence and 151st birth anniversary of the Father of the Indian Nation and a global symbol of peace, Mahatma Gandhi. This day was also honored by Indian Ambassador Shambhu S. Kumaran and MC President Ambassador Laura Q. Del Rosario through offering flowers to the bust of Gandhi in the Miriam College grounds.

In line with promoting sustainable development and peaceful communities, the Christian Political Science Society of the Philippine Christian University-Manila organized the talk on “Lessons from the Bomb: Nuclear Disarmament Towards a Sustainable Security” with Ms. Sophia Garcia, CPE Advocacy Officer, as guest speaker on October 3. Seventy-five years since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Ms. Garcia underscored the impact of nuclear bombing and how we can prevent another mass destruction through nuclear disarmament.

On the same day, the Higher Education Unit Office for Student Affairs (HEU-OSA) organized an “Interfaith Harmony Prayer and Meditation Activity” to promote peace, calmness, and the spirit of unity during these trying times. In partnership with Binhi ng Kapayapaan and Anak Mindanao (AMIN) Foundation and collaboration with CPE, Miriam Identity, Spirituality and Mission Office (MISMO), and the Environmental Studies Institute (ESI), the activity reminded us of the oneness of all humanity and emphasized the value of being united in prayer despite our differences in faith.

Wrapping up our celebration, HEU-OSA, in partnership with CPE and ESI, organized the talk “Marine Conservation as Active Nonviolence” with Ms. Bianca Pabotoy, CPE Women, Peace and Security Project Officer, as guest speaker on October 5. Stressing the importance of helping save marine life and restoring our seas, Ms. Pabotoy spoke about the link between nature, conflict and arms trade and testing, and shared numerous ways on how we can promote marine conservation and help in protecting marine life.

Despite the many challenges of celebrating the International Day of Peace and the Catholic Nonviolence Days of Action this year given the pandemic, CPE continues to promote and teach peace in the hopes to make each one of us, our families, our MC community and the world more peaceful and just. Our celebration is a humble reminder of our indispensable role in bringing peace into our own lives and to others as instilled in us by our Miriam education and our Catholic faith.

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