COTABATO DECLARATION ON EDUCATION

FOR A CULTURE OF PEACE

 

 During April 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 life.

 

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:

 

       

    1. 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.

       

       

       

    2. 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.

       

       

       

    3. 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.

       

       

       

    4. 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.

       

       

       

    5. In building a Culture of Peace, a vital and necessary step lies in organizing, mobilizing and advocacy for:

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

    1. 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.

       

       

       

    2. 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 advocacy.

       

       

       

    3. To educate effectively and systematically for a culture of peace, the major themes and issues should include:

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

    1. 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.

       

       

       

    2. 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:

       

 

 

 

 

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   palaka@pacific.net.ph.