(Excerpts for the Keynote Speech for the Salaam National Conference last May 24, 2019)
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
The Al Qalam Institute, since its inception in 2011, has occupied a unique position inside and outside of our Atenean community. Because of this, we have been able to form meaningful relationships with individuals and partner institutions from all walks of life. With our mandate to work in the ways of formation, instruction, research and engagement, we have started conversations based on peace in communities all over Mindanao.
We in Al Qalam are in the business of ideas. Ideas that shape, challenge, and change notions of how we should approach Bangsamoro culture and dialogue. With these ideas, come solutions that help to answer the challenges that come with working in peacebuilding. This includes addressing conflict-sensitive areas, lack of basic resources, and a thorough lack of understanding regarding our roots.
This is why we are committed to extending the conversation of peace education to a much larger platform than just our communities. The Salaam Spirituality of Service Peace Education Module is a way to include the study of peace in both a theoretical and practical way. As this module is meant to be integrated into the National Service Training Program, it is in the best interest of everyone to take into consideration the methods of teaching in these modules.
A strong identity, sense of purpose, and sense of belonging is the best defense we have to prevent and counter violent extremism in our youth. In order to do that, we have to make sure to teach them alternative narratives than the ones that they have grown up with in their own communities, and to widen their perspectives of how peace can be attained.
It is our intention to not just start the conversation regarding peace education, but to come up with solutions. A more informed Bangsamoro is an empowered Bangsamoro, and an informed Filipino people is an empowered nation of bright, proactive leaders.
These modules will be integrated throughout the tertiary curriculum, just before our future generations enter the workforce and start to fully come into their own as citizens. We do this in the hope that we can focus even a small part of our time in school to producing young leaders with a deep, comprehensive understanding of the many identities of the Filipino; whether it be Christian, Lumad, or Moro.
I would like to extend my thanks to the US State Department (United States Embassy Manila) for their support and guidance as we pursue a mutual peace that will, in time, lead to a more active and informed citizenry between both of our peoples.
I would like to congratulate the technical working group, writers, editors, organizers, and staff behind this peace module and its corresponding Salaam National Conference for Administrators, Faculty, and Staff. Truly, this endeavor is only the beginning of what I am sure will be a meaningful and proactive discussion on peace in all levels of education.