Building Peace Together

A global health crisis will not stop Mindanaoan people from joining hands together digitally in building a more just, humane, and peaceful future.

Equal Access International amplified local narratives of peace influencers in the celebration of International Peace Day 2020 through the #HowIBuildPeace movement which was participated by all EAI country offices worldwide.

This year’s celebration includes the “Pass The Cup” Challenge where EAI staff and partners worldwide shared how they build peace in their communities and then passing the cup virtually to someone from another side of the globe. Country offices from Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad,  Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, and The Sahel Region took part in this fun online challenge. Check the video here.

Another highlight is the #HowIBuildPeace Youth Conversations organized by different peace fellows in Nigeria, Kenya, and the Philippines which featured the work and passion of young people in building peace and social cohesion in their community. This first-of-its-kind, three-country collaboration focuses on celebrating the critical role of young people in creating powerful narratives that trigger social change. 

Kyle Dietrich,  EAI Director for Peacebuilding and Extremism Practice, said in a video message that, “If the world on the outside looks different from the world that you imagine in your head and heart, then you have a gift. The gift of vision. Your life is the vessel to realize and affirm that vision, to lift others up, to dismantle systems of oppression and injustice, to protect the planet for future generations, to create spaces for others to enjoy equally and enjoy the prosperity that right now is concentrated in the hands of too few.”

In the same manner, Salic Sharief Jr., EAI Philippines Country Director, shared that, “We want to work together in exploring the breakthrough of technology. To connect virtually young peace influencers with the ability to answer Eleanor Roosevelt’s question on where after all do universal human rights begin. A question that focuses on how peace can be found in places so close to home that sometimes cannot be seen in any map of the world. All of us have a critical role to play in this effort.”

The #HowIBuildPeacePH Youth Conversations which was aired on September 21, featured Jaime Salva, IYouDahan Project Lead, and Olive Peace Prize Awardee; Lo Ivan Castillon, Founder of Positive VIBES and Usapang Kapayapaan Organizer; and Delilah Luzon of BukidKnown. Peace Fellows Ashley Dejarme and Rowel Damas hosted the online discussion. Watch it here.

Ashley expressed that, “The International Peace Day is not just a day to celebrate all the peacebuilders all over the world. It is also a day for us young peacebuilders to reflect on what we really want, what projects are good for the community, and what we want to achieve with our initiatives. Peace is a difficult thing to come by but the more that you put in the work, the more the passion for this kind of advocacy builds up.”

Joining the celebration were Positive VIBES, United Network of Young Peacebuilders, Bangsamoro Youth Commission, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Generation Peace Youth Network, Qapwa, Young Centrist Union, Peace and Politics, Inc., and the Kutawato Messaging Hub, in partnership with EAIPH with their “Online Peace Conversation on Youth, Peace, and Security” which was also aired on the same day. Watch it here.

Adding up to the list is the “Shaping Culture of Peace In Inclusive Higher Education and Communities: A Peace Conversation” of the Mindanao State University through its Fundamentals of Peace Education (FPE101) classes and the Institute of Peace and Development in Mindanao (IPDM) in partnership with EAIPH which featured leading peacebuilders Dr. Swee-Hin Toh, Recipient of the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education 2000, and Myla Leguro, Program Director of the CRS Global Program on Advancing Interreligious Peacebuilding. Watch it here.

Prior to the International Day of Peace, EAI-Philippines enjoined partners, alumni community, regional messaging hubs and the general public to post their #HowIBuildForPeace statement with the official EAI IPD frame, on their social media accounts. Below are some of our friends who joined us in solidarity.

In his official message, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said “In these days of physical distancing, we may not be able to stand next to one another. But we must still stand together for peace. And, together, I know we can — and will — build a more just, sustainable and equitable world.”

Peacebuilding does not only fall on a specific day in September. It is a conscious decision that we have to choose daily. 

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