For the fourth time since 2006, the Communication Foundation for Asia has launched a nationwide Peace Tour, featuring a unique Traveling Exhibit of high school students’ artwork, photographs and video on the timely theme of Christian-Muslim peace-building. Titled 4PEACE1WORLD, the new exhibit was launched on September 10, 2013 at the CFA Lagerwey Hall in Sta. Mesa.
The creative exhibit materials were produced by participants from two high schools in Manila and two from Cotabato during CFA’s 4th Peace Camp, which was held in May 2012, and during their follow-up workshop, held in May 2013. Mounted on portable aluminum panels that can be transported from Manila to provinces all over the country, the exhibit explores varying perspectives of young Filipinos’ aspirations for peace through paintings and photographs, collages and captions. The exhibit includes the video documentary of the same title, which captures the journey of the 40 high school students that started when they joined the 2012 Peace Camp. Every photograph and painting in the exhibit tells its own story of understanding, respect and friendship among Christian and Muslim students who chose to act for peace.
During the launch program, CFA’s Executive Director, Ms. Teresita Hermano, urged participants to be proactive: “It is not enough to talk about peace. It is not even enough to commit to peace. We must work on peace. We must act on it.” Although she noted that the youth are the most vulnerable members of the community, they also have a role in preventing or defusing conflict situations in school, in the home, in their neighborhood. She encouraged the students to carry their responsibilities forward as peace ambassadors, when they get the chance to become future leaders of their communities.
Students who had participated in the Camp also gave their reactions to the Peace Exhibit launch. Nicole Panganiban, a student from the Nazarene Catholic School, said: “What I’ve learned from the 2012 Peace Camp should not be only in my mind; it should be felt by my heart and seen in the acts of my hands.” Jules Vicente, a student from Ramon Avanceña High School, credited the 2012 Peace Camp with awakening his interest in peace issues, saying: “Academically and emotionally, we can make peace. Magulo na ang mundo natin. Kailangan ko na magbago.”
One teacher at Ramon Avanceña High School, Mrs. Minda Vicente, who also happens to be Jules Vicente’s mother, shared her own views about CFA’s Peace Camp program. Inspired by her son’s positive approach after the 2012 Camp, she was moved to tears. She spoke of her strong belief that once a person is molded spiritually, good and beautiful things will follow.
The launch ended with the Camp Director and CFA Training Department Head, Ms. Bob Lopez, sending off the audience to start their own journey to sow seeds of peace that in due time will bear fruit and bring hope of peace and unity in society.
The 4PEACE1WORLD Traveling Exhibit started its tour of schools and pastoral centers nationwide the week after the launch, joining the peace programs organized by the campers of the Notre Dame-RVM College of Cotabato and the Cotabato City National High School. The national tour will continue until the end of November aiming to reach as many youth as possible encouraging them to become peace advocates in their own way.