Educators and professionals called for national leaders to incorporate character education in their nation’s educational program at the 4th International Professor and Educators Conference (IPEC) in Manila, Philippines on November 15-16, 2012.
“More than the skill and abilities of how to make a living, special effort should be made by higher education institutions to teach our citizens how to live as global citizens, in the broadest and most profound sense of the term, who are proud of their cultural legacy, peace-loving, responsible and free- a generation prepared to live under the rule of law, a generation guided by the tenets of truth, justice, freedom and peace,” said Dr. Nona Ricafort, Commissioner on Commission of Higher Education and Chairperson of fourth IPEC in her keynote address.
“When people’s character is weak, selfish and self serving, nation building is impossible; hence, character building is nation building,” Dr. Ricardo Wagan, President of Philippines National Chapter of the Global Cooperation Society International, told conference participants.
Affirming the importance of moral citizens to advance economic progress and sustainability, the conference passed a joint Resolution appealing to the United Nations and to all member-nations “to include in their respective Educational Reform Agenda/Programs a course of study aimed at promoting and developing good citizens of the world for global peace and economic progress.”
Signing the Resolution were hundreds of educators, students, and professionals, including GPF partners and representatives of various organizations. A copy of the Resolution will be submitted to all national heads of state and to their secretaries or ministers of education to uphold every citizen’s contribution to national and global progress through moral education.
Dr. Samuel Salvador, Vice President for Academic Affairs of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, said the conference was “a reaffirmation of the collective wishes of people” for a better world through education. “May this conference, through the gathering of various sectors today, foster unity which is needed to attain progress,” added Dr. Salvador, one of the principal authors of the Resolution.
Expanding a culture of peace and good citizenship
Distinguished speakers from business, government, the faith community, and the service sector shared how each can contribute to the establishment and expansion of a culture of peace through character education and in their respective areas.
“International educators are themselves ambassadors of good will and peace of the nations they represent,” said Dr. Emerlinda Ramos-Roman, Professor of College of Business Administration at the University of the Philippines.
“We face the same problems, and through education, and with the help of our international colleagues, we are able to learn alternative ways to deal with issues that transcend national boundaries. So may it bring us together and unite us in the effort to find solutions to them,” she added.
Character Education is also an key component of leadership training, said Philippine scholars at a conference session of youth leadership. Dr. Edmon Pacson, a board member of Global Peace Youth Corps Philippines, said that “we need to bring our youth to not just the four corners of the classroom, but also provide them with the necessary environment and engage them in community service.”
The Conference also was the occasion for the founding of the Global Peace Educators Council, Global Peace Women Council, Global Peace Asia Pacific Council, Global Peace House of Interfaith, and Global Peace Youth Corps Advisory Council. Former speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Jose de Venecia, Jr. led the inaugural ceremony, while recognizing Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, Founder of the Global Peace Foundation, for his efforts in uniting all sectors to advance the vision of “One Family under God.”
Also addressing the Conference were Hongkong Lifelong Education chairman Dr. Lee Ye Lick; Villar Foundation managing director and Congresswoman Cynthia Villar; Metrobank Foundation Inc. President Mr. Aniceto “Chito” Sobrepeña; Red Cross governor and Service for Peace Philippines chairperson Hon. Leonida “Baby” Ortiz; and three women leaders–Dr. Lourdes Navarro, Dr. Marylou Aragon and Lariben Taraboc–who are supporting GPF-backed peace-building and development efforts among Christians and Muslims in Mindanao.
***The Global Peace Festival Foundation (GPFF) was renamed Global Peace Foundation (GPF) in November, 2012