USIP Peace Education Project Report


Brief Report on the Second History Seminar-Workshop in Iligan City

The workshop, conducted on April 23-25, 2014 at Crystal Inn, Iligan City, ended with a resounding success.  This event is a follow up workshop of the one conducted in June 2013, under the auspices of the UH Center for Philippine Studies in cooperation with Mindanao State University. This workshop is part of a grant provided to CPS by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) to enhance the capacity of history teachers in their effort to inculcate peace culture, and develop peacebuilding skills and abilities among their students.  The project team consists of Dr. Federico Magdalena (Project Investigator, UHM), Dr. Faina Abaya-Ulindang (Coordinator for MSU Iligan Institute of Technology), Dr. Samuel Anonas (Coordinator for MSU Marawi campus), and Dr. Jamail Kamlian (Coordinator for MSU Tawi-Tawi campus).

A detailed report of the workshop is found in this Link.

The 3-day workshop was graced by Dr. Sukarno Tanggol, Chancellor of MSU Iligan Institute of Technology, who gave the opening remarks.  The program closed with a short statement from Dr. Ed Ignacio, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of the same institution.

Forty teachers participated in this 3-day workshop. They represent five campuses of Mindanao State University (Marawi, Iligan, Tawi-Tawi, Naawan and Maigo). All of them are involved in the teaching of History 3 (History of Muslims and Lumads) in Mindanao, a course required for all students of MSU.  During the workshop sessions, they assembled in three groups and discussed ways of improving the history curriculum as well as the manual developed for this purpose by some of their co-teachers.  They proposed to make this curricular initiative infused with peace education as a model for all courses not only at MSU but in all tertiary institutions in Mindanao. They lauded the project for its support to the history faculty who have benefited from the capacity building effort of the project as it encourages peacemaking among the student beneficiaries.  Additionally, they expressed the need to sustain development of skills and tools in peacebuilding and evaluation, among them is Focus Group Discussion, in aid of effective pedagogy.

Four Mindanao speakers lent their expertise in this event, which we did not have in our June 2013 workshop. They included Fr. Eliseo Mercado, past president of Notre Dame University, an ardent peace advocate who was a frequent lecturer in fora sponsored by the US Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C.  He gave an update of the recently concluded peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation.  Another powerful speaker is Dr. Grace Rebollos, former president of Western Mindanao State University and civic leader in community peacebuilding. She also gave an excellent lecture on the ground realities in peace negotiations during the 2013 Zamboanga City caper that resulted in tremendous loss of lives and property during the 3-week siege initiated by the Moro National Liberation Front.  The third speaker is Dr. Datumanong Sarangani,  Professor Emeritus at MSU.  He helped guide the participants about history curriculum making as part of the university mandate, and in synch with the recently concluded peace talks (March 27, 2014) in Mindanao between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the government.  Finally, Prof Raymond Llorca, another Professor Emeritus from MSU, presented his commentary on the History manual and called attention to some social issues for future consideration. He noted, for example, the fact that the Lumads are fast disappearing (if they have not disappeared yet).   They constitute an interesting topic in history as well as anthropology (ethnography).

In that workshop, the Project Investigator also made a report on the status of the USIP project and presented some statistical data on the gains of the curricular program. He noted that the students significantly improved their knowledge of local history, and became aware of certain issues (e.g., discrimination, mining) related to minorities. In one campus (Iligan), for example, students have turned into peace activists. However, attitudes and values toward other ethnic groups have remained about the same.

After the workshop, the Project Investigator  stayed around for a while and worked  with the teachers to ensure the proper revision of the history manual and its possible adoption as textbook for all campuses of MSU.  He also met with the coordinators for future activities, as well as with the secretariat for the workshop proceedings and other matters.

The project team has proposed a roundtable discussion to present the initial results of this curricular experiment on peacebuilding at the Philippine Anthropological Conference (UGAT in Filipino) in Baguio City, on October 23-25, 2014. This is a major part of the project’s activities for this year in terms of visibility and dissemination. Such presentation also resonates well with the peace agreement between the government and the MILF.

Mindanao is creating waves nationally these days. The USIP project is catching some ripples in the hope of becoming part of the national conversation on peace and development.

Prepared by:

Fred Magdalena
May 15, 2014

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