The Office of the Buklod Ambassador (OBA) organized the Youth Peace Mission Ateneo (YPMA), a forum where students from different organizations gathered to talk and make joint plans for projects on peacebuilding in Mindanao.
YPMA’s theme was “Humanizing the Concepts of Conflict, Violence, and Peace: Martial Law and the Marawi Crisis.” The event was held last December 2-3 at the 8th floor media room of the Community Center.
According to project head Ian Derf Salvaña, the YPMA will be passed on and adapted by the other Ateneo schools.
“The real mission starts after the conference,” he said.
The forum tackled sensitive topics such as peace and extremism in the context of Mindanao.
President of the Ateneo Muslim Society Jorjani Sinsuat explained that religiosity is not an indicator of radicalization or violent extremism.
“85% of victims of terrorist attacks are Muslims,” he shared.
He expounded that extremist groups recruit young people by banking into their grievances and those with no sense of identity are susceptible to radicalization.
“Extremists could be sitting right next to you, waving in FB, following you on Instagram and you’ll never know,” Sinsuat added.
Despite the difficulties, the speakers spoke on the prospect of two opposing beliefs achieving harmony. May Fiel Divino of the American Field Service discussed the trials of attaining peace amidst the growing problem of security and terrorism.
“Our challenge is to think first before clicking. We have to respond wisely and efficiently,” she expressed.
The lectures were soon followed by action plans of the participating leaders.
Faye Allen Matas, president of Pulsong Atenista senior high school student government, shared her proposed plans for her fellow student leaders.
“I would want to have leadership training so that we can let the grade 11 learners as the next batches of grade 12 students create a culture of their own that would embody the Ignatian spirituality,” she said.
The Youth Peace Mission Ateneo was organized by OBA with the cooperation of members from Samahan Central Board, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, American Field Services, USGAA, Social Sciences Student Executive Council, Campus Clubs Organizations, Samahan Welfare, UCEAC, SALAM, SAMAPULA, and AB Polsci 4A Class.