Every year, Peace Day is celebrated on the 21st day of September. It is a day of opportunity and reminder for humanity to continually and actively commit to Peace above all differences. This year the UN celebrates Peace Day with the theme “Climate Action for Peace” focusing on the global climate emergency. Extreme weather events as well as more frequent and severe disasters raise the risk of dispute over resources, and other climate-related conflict.
With peace as one of its core values, Miriam College (MC) through its advocacy center, the Center for Peace Education, commemorates #PeaceDay with an annual week-long celebration, the Week of Peace. From 16-23 September 2019, activities promoting peace were organized throughout all units in MC.
The MC Academic Units Celebrate Peace!
Toddlers from the Child Study Center had a storytelling and film showing on peace, alongside doing small actions for peace, e.g., hugs and heart giving. In the Lower School, peace projects were displayed along the corridors, while LS teachers had a seminar on Christian Meditation promoting inner peace.
Middle School students discussed this year’s theme on the climate crisis in class, and organized an exhibit celebrating the call of climate action in different languages and through art using recycled materials. In the High School (HS), the CPE conducted a seminar for all class peacekeepers. Students also set-up a creative exhibit of art and photographs, and books and articles on peace in the HS halls and library, respectively. The MAE held a Speech Choir Presentation using the week’s theme.
Across the different Basic Education Unit buildings, songs and prayers had been especially dedicated for peace during the week.
In the Higher Education Unit, the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) organized a “Well-being through Expressive Arts” activity while the College of Business and Entrepreneurship (CBEA) gave free cupcakes and coffee for peace in the morning of 20 September. Students also tired creating their own peace mandalas in class. Peace prayers, wishes, and games were offered by the College of Education (CEd), the Sanggunian and the first year students in solidarity with #PeaceDay.
Center for Peace Education
On 20 September, CPE unveiled three new peace markers to the MC Peace Path. The new additions featured quotes of individuals who have directly been part of the beginnings of the Center for Peace Education. The notable peace quotes are from the former Miriam College President, Dr Lourdes Quisumbing, Pat and Gerry Mische, and Betty Reardon.
On the same day, there was a re-energizing of the Peace Pole in the Kapayapaan Garden, a Peace Mandala-making activity and a Holy Mass in celebration of the International Day of Peace, and also in remembrance of the victims of Martial Law.
Concluding this year’s celebration, on 23 September, Monday, back-to-back events were organized. In the morning, CPE introduced its new program, the Families for Peace, through a forum on “Feeling SAD: Peaceful Families in the midst of Suicide ideation, Apathy and child Depression”. The forum’s main speaker, Ms Cathy Babao, defined depression and identified the early warning signs in young children. Reactors from the Miriam College Guidance Centers, Ms Christine Ann de Dios and Dr. Ma. Lourdes Chavez (HS and HEU guidance offices, respectively) also shared both the support and response they give students who are going through cases such as this. A very interactive open forum followed with the attendees of the event, parents from the Lower and Middle School.
In the afternoon, CPE organized a multi-faith discussion on the “Climate Crisis and Nuclear Weapons: Threats to Human Existence”, in partnership with the Peacemakers Circle, Pax Christi Pilipinas and the Environmental Studies Institute (ESI). Dr Carlo Garcia of ESI shared the imminent concerns of the aggressive rise of temperatures, the present effects of climate change to livelihoods and communities, and the call of the Laudato Si of Pope Francis. Dr Loreta Castro of CPE discussed the horrifying effects should a nuclear detonation happen and the need for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This discussion was then followed by a sharing of teachings across different religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Indigenous Tradition - on caring for the environment and peace.
With the International Day of Peace turning 31 years this year, CPE continues to teach peace in the hopes of building a strong foundation for peace and justice in our communities. The Week of Peace is a great reminder to the entire MC community of our roles as peacebuilders rooted from our Miriam education and importantly, our Catholic faith.