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Home » Featured Stories » AdZU Empowers Youth through Peace-Building, Leadership Initiatives

AdZU Empowers Youth through Peace-Building, Leadership Initiatives

The saying, “The youth is the hope of the nation,” remains as a driving force of the Social Development Office (SDO) of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University in pursuing social engagement.

In a back-to-back activity on peace-building and leadership training, the SDO gathered various schools, youth representatives and leaders representing various cities, provinces, faith orientation, and cultural background in Mindanao.

MINDANAON AKO, FILIPINO AKO: Peace and Leadership Camp

A camp that is grounded on peace, tolerance, understanding, intercultural, and interreligious dialogue, the MINDANAON AKO, FILIPINO AKO: Peace and Leadership Camp gathered youth leaders from Zamboanga Penisula, Basilan, and Tawi-Tawi last April 10-13 to embark on a leadership journey by engaging in peace advocacy and socio-cultural awareness activities.

The peace and leadership camp, held in partnership with the U.S. Embassy through Naawan HELPs Inc., an organization addressing poverty alleviation, violent extremisms, youth empowerment, eradication of illegal drugs, education, environmental protection, leadership programs, peace and order, and inter-religious dialogue, gathered 80 youth leaders from Zamboanga City schools Pilar College, Islamic Institute of the Philippines, and Ateneo de Zamboanga University; Basilan National High School, Claret Schools of Isabela and Maluso from the Basilan Province; and Mindanao State University and Notre Dame from Tawi-Tawi.

The youth leaders, guided by the speaker-mentors, were put to the task of creating a module that will be used during homeroom classes of selected schools and Madrassas where they will be deployed. The module will center on peaceful coexistence, intercultural, and interfaith dialogue targeting to minimize radicalism and potentially preventing and countering violent extremism through featured workshops and sessions on art, advocacy campaign, and social media.

Topping all the activities was the presentation or project pitching that granted all participating schools a budget to implement their projects in their respective communities.

UNIFY: Advocating Peace Through Education and Community Engagements

Joining forces with the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) in bringing about peace and development in conflict-stricken areas in the region, the University Social Development Office launched UNIFY Camp, a three component-program on Module Making, Leadership and Peace-building, and Rapid Assessment April-May 2019.

The Module Making seminar for teachers, held April 15-16, was facilitated by Ateneo’s School of Education. It was participated by partner-schools working towards crafting a sustainable and effective curriculum for peace and development to be integrated in their respective schools.

The second component on Leadership and Peace-building, featured 35 student leaders from the partner-schools. The campers were taught skills needed to put up community projects—from conceptualization to implementation. The projects are set to launch May 2019.

The Rapid Assessment, the third component of UNIFY, was held the entire month of April 2019. It collected narratives, thoughts, and feelings related to experiences possibly linked to conflicts, peace, security, and violent extremism from a diverse pool of key informants represented by the youth, women and religious sectors.

The project was participated by the following partner-schools: Don Pablo Lorenzo Memorial High School, Zamboanga National High School – West, Zamboanga City High School – Main, and Ramon Enriquez High School.