Ateneo lauds new asian peacebuilders
A group of 24 students from Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines converged on November 27, 2015 at the Leong Hall Auditorium to celebrate their completion of the Asian Peacebuilders Scholarship Program.
The APS Program, a Dual Campus Master of Arts Program, is a shared peace initiative of the Ateneo de Manila University, the UN- mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) and the Nippon Foundation. The program seeks to groom Asian peace building practitioners as they take up leading positions in organizations across the globe. Scholars get 2 MA degrees after the intensive 21-month program — one from UPEACE in an area related to peace building and the second from Ateneo in Political Science with a Major in Global Politics.
In his welcome address, University President Fr Jose Ramon “Jett” T Villarin SJ underscored the relevance of their commencement.
University President Fr Jose Ramon Villarin SJ likes their graduation to a "ray of light in the darkness."
“Your graduation comes at a time of great tension in the world today,” he said. Their completion of the program, he added, “is a ray of light in the darkness.” Amidst the escalating global tension, brutality, and violence, Fr Jett urged the new peace builders to “defy the darkness.”
“For as long as young men and women like you choose the path of peace, we will not give in to despair not let ourselves be overwhelmed with the dark,” he said.
Dr. Francisco Rojas Aravena, Rector for UPEACE, shared the same sentiment. “I think the context of UPEACE is now more relevant than ever,” he said. Aravena reasserted UPEACE’s commitment to foster peace builders.
Dr. Francisco Rojas Aravena, Rector for UPEACE, reaffirms UPEACE's commitment to foster peace builders.
“We reaffirm our commitment to the institutional mission given to us by the UN — to provide humanity with an international institution of higher education for peace with the aim of promoting among all human beings a spirit of understanding, tolerance and peaceful coexistence in the world.
For his part, Takeju Ogata, president of the Nippon Foundation, encouraged the new peace builders to “find the path that will lead to the solution [of peace].”
Mr. Takeju Ogata, president of the Nippon Foundation, encourages the graduates to never give up. A translator stands behind him.
Addressing the new graduates, Lotta Sylwander, the UNICEF representative to the Philippines, spoke of the collective sacrifices of the generations before them.
Ms. Lotta Sylwander, the UNICEF representative to the Philippines, recalls the collective sacrifices of previous generations in attaining peace.
Melissa Calingo spoke on behalf of the graduates, recalling the moments and places that made their journey memorable. These memories, she said, influence on one’s principles and future.
Melissa Calingo delivers what she calls a "remembrance speech."
“We can choose to remember not only the histories that we read in books but also the histories of the forgotten, waiting to be written. But remembering can only be good as applying the lessons. For what good is there in remembering if we cannot practice,” she challenged her classmates.