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Teaching and spreading peace

05:10 AM May 21, 2018

This is regarding Ceres P. Doyo’s  “Voices, images from the frontlines” (5/10/18).

When people ask me what I do for a living, I reply “I teach peace.” I weave together the many different strands of the  conversation around peace from many different places in the world. I connect with peacebuilding communities and storytellers, people who work in print, broadcast, the visual arts and social media.

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In spite of the more dominant coverage given to war and violent extremism there is a strong argument for peace that is beginning to galvanize social movements.

Important insights are emerging from civil society. People are mobilizing for peace. Hence my appeal to those in the media to raise the profile of peace advocacy organizations. They show us what is possible even in times of terror and fragility.

Let us encourage local actors to tell their stories in their own words and give them agency to author their own narratives. That is part of the work I do: finding safe spaces where these stories can be told and heard.

My hope is that it breaks the hold of violence and fear that grips many of the people I talk to. Peacebuilders are anxious that they can become targets of violence themselves (e.g., the nine journalists killed recently in a suicide attack in Afghanistan).

I urge ordinary people to explore how to practice peace and kindness in everyday life. There are many peacebuilding organizations  in the Philippines working on narrative projects and oral histories to change the national conversation.

The hope is that the cumulative impact of these efforts can make its way into the social imaginary. It takes time. Peace does not just  happen. Let us build it together!

REV. DR. RAFAEL VALLEJO, Toronto, Canada

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TAGS: Ceres P. Doyo, Inquirer letters, peace, Rafael Vallejo
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