COTABATO DECLARATION ON EDUCATION
FOR A CULTURE OF PEACE
25-27, 2000, educators from diverse institutions and communities in the island
of Mindanao, Republic of the Philippines, gathered at Notre Dame University,
Cotabato City, for the First Mindanao Congress for Peace Educators.
Deeply concerned by the serious and
long-standing problems and issues of violence in all its forms including
militarization, armed conflicts, social and economic injustices and other forms
of violence, human rights violations and ecological destruction, inter-cultural
divisions and personal peacelessness in the Philippines, especially in Mindanao
and in the wider world community.
Committed to the promotion of values,
attitudes, knowledge and skills for transcending this pervasive culture of
violence and building a culture of peace from personal to societal levels of
Convinced that education is vital to preparing
and catalyzing individuals, communities, institutions and governments for the
responsibilities of building a culture of peace.
Strongly endorsing support for the ideals,
principles, goals and objectives of the International Year for a Culture of
Peace and the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence.
We, the participants of the First Mindanao Congress for
Peace Educators, declare:
- A Culture of Peace embraces the values, principles and practices based
on respect for life, human dignity, inter-cultural understanding and
solidarity dialogue among all peoples, care of the environment, social
justice, sustainable equity-led development, human rights, democracy,
freedom from all forms of violence, and the cultivating of inner peace.
- Building a Culture of Peace in the Philippines and in particular
Mindanao, will require an equitable sharing of resources and fulfillment
of all human rights of all diverse peoples, especially the marginalized
communities of Muslims, indigenous peoples, women, children, rural poor,
urban poor, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
- A Culture of Peace in Mindanao, which will contribute decisively to a
National Culture of Peace, will be sustained by processes for the
non-violent management and transformation of conflicts, cultural
solidarity, interfaith/cultural dialogue, demilitarization, respect for
the environment, and a lack of graft and corruption.
- A key strategy for building a Culture of Peace lies in education and
training based on the principles of conscientization or critical
empowerment. This education/training must foster a deep understanding of
the history and culture of the tri-people of Mindanao (Muslim, Christians,
Indigenous Peoples) and contemporary realities of Mindanao. It seeks to
conscientize and empower the people of Mindanao towards understanding the
root causes of problems and conflict in Mindanao within local, national
and global contexts, and the formulation of possible solutions and
alternatives to address these problems and conflicts.
- In building a Culture of Peace, a vital and necessary step lies in
organizing, mobilizing and advocacy for:
- Sincere economic, social and political reforms through
administrative orders, new legislation or constitutional change.
- Democratic processes such as plebiscite or referendum to determine
the will of the people and issues related to autonomy and
- The formulation of an independent tri-people commission to oversee
the implementation of peacebuilding processes and proposals in
- Policies of demilitarization and the non-violent management and
transformation of conflicts.
- The media to contribute positively to peacebuilding and peace
education rather than a culture of violence.
- A campaign against war toys and media violence.
- Policies and programs of just and sustainable development.
- Congress to legislate for the inclusion of peace education in all
levels of education.
- CHED, DECS, TESDA and other relevant agencies to implement peace
education in all levels and forms of education.
- Continuing and sustaining tri-people dialogues and conferences will be
essential in strengthening commitment and solidarity among all peoples and
sectors to the building of a culture of peace. Such dialogues should reach
the grassroots level. Inter- and intra-religious and cultural dialogues
should be intensified.
- Other important steps towards building of a culture of peace include
effective participatory monitoring and evaluation of peacebuilding and
peace education process; the building of networks among peace educators
and advocates; peace research and dissemination of findings; the
popularization of studies on the history and root causes of conflicts in
Mindanao; the establishment of peace centers and peace zones; and the
raising of resources to support initiatives in peace education and
- To educate effectively and systematically for a culture of peace, the
major themes and issues should include:
- The history of Mindanao from a tri-people perspective and with an
emphasis on the root causes of conflict in Mindanao in the local,
national and global contexts.
- Social justice and equity for all sectors of society especially the
vulnerable and marginalized groups and communities.
- Environmental destruction and environmental care.
- All human rights for all peoples, sectors and communities.
- Inter- and intra-religious and cultural dialogue and solidarity.
- Armed conflict, arms proliferation and other issues of
militarization and demilitarization.
- Values, knowledge and skills for people’s empowerment.
- Education for a culture of peace needs to challenge and transform
passive, "banking" and hierarchical modes of pedagogy/andragogy
towards conscientization processes, participatory approaches, sustained
values reorientation and dialogue. Peace educators should participate in
and advocate for the reconstruction of all curricula and teaching-learning
resources to systematically integrate principles and issues of a culture
of peace. Policy-makers, administrators and educators should promote the
institutionalization of peace education in all levels and contexts.
- The growing community and networks of peace educators in Mindanao and in
the rest of the Philippines should undertake and sustain specific actions
in building a culture of peace, including:
- Establishment of an organization of Mindanaon peace educators with
affiliation to national and international networks in peace education
- Formation of peace centers in Mindanaon colleges and universities to
promote education and advocacy for a culture of peace.
- Advocacy to CHED, DECS, TESDA and other relevant government agencies
to implement peace education as a core requirement in all programs and
- Design of multi-lingual instructional materials for peace education,
which especially include understanding of the historical and cultural
realities and root causes of conflict in Mindanao.
- Integration of peace education in all subject areas, and preparation
of curriculum modules to facilitate such integration.
- Training of administrators, teachers, civil servants, military
personnel, business and civil society organizations in knowledge and
skills for building a culture of peace, including skills in conflict
management and transformation.
- Mobilizing students and youths for peace building through peace
camps and congresses.
- Use of media to promote a culture of peace (e.g. regular programs
and columns on peace).
- Campaigns against media violence and war toys.
- Formation and/or expansion of Movements for inter-religious/cultural
dialogue (e.g. Bishop-Ulama forum) and peace rallies.
- Involvement of artists in activities to build a culture of peace
(e.g. art for peace exhibitions; music and concerts for peace).
- Advocacy campaigns for gun-control legislation.
- Continuing advocacy for the Government and all groups involved in
conflicts to deescalate militarized tensions and negotiate for peace.
Cotabato City, Mindanao, Republic of the Philippines
April 27, 2000
Messegaes of solidairty can be sent to Ging Deles, Director
of the GZO Institute of Peace, one of the leading groups in the various
coalitions of peacebuilding in the Philippines. Ging's email is at