Transformation from Within: Reflections on the 2017 Global Peace Convention

Naomi Yakawich
March 15, 2017

“Educators are advocates of peace. I learned that being leaders and innovators can bring attainable goals in an inclusive healthy community. GPC was an incredibly insightful experience.”

-Alberto Abe (DepEd8-ALS)

The 2017 Global Peace Convention gathered thousands of leaders from diverse backgrounds of ethnicity, religion, politics, and occupation under the theme Moral and Innovative Leadership: New Models for Peace and Development.

The “Transforming Education” track drew educators, experts, administrators and students from around the world to take on the challenge of making education relevant, engaging and meaningful for 21st-century students and citizens.

The outcomes were powerful, and the expereince life-changing for many participants.

Below is one teacher reflection:

“I want to thank the Global Peace Foundation for this momentous event. A special thank you to GPF Philippines for their, I am sure, indefatigable efforts for hosting GPC 2017. KUDOS! I cannot thank you all enough, as I am quite certain, over 2,000 delegates from 40 nations echo the same.

Educators participate in the Transforming Education track sessions

Joining the education track, I come with excitement and anticipation for the learning I can gather. The theme Moral and Innovative Leadership: New Models for Peace and Development touches base with our most current issues. Moral, innovative, peace, and development. These key words resonate on almost all corners of the globe as the ideal or goal of human society. The anticipation and expectation is indeed overwhelming and I was not a bit disappointed.

All the speakers, both in the plenaries and on my track were awe-inspiring. The speakers on the opening plenary were profound on the purpose of this gathering; to create a clamour for peace, whatever color and creed we identify with and whatever cause we live for.

Peace is universal. Humanity’s journey is just on one tiny planet yet peace has eluded us almost throughout our brief recorded history, at a time when we are supposed to have evolved and gain some form of intelligence. How ironic is that? Wisdom convinces us that peace is crucial and theories and ideas by great thinkers have been floated through eras yet it remains beyond our grasp. Or is peace like loose grains of sand that we let slip through our fingers?

Everywhere, on all kinds of media, the absence of peace is reported. Have we desensitized ourselves too much that war and violence have become things that we washed down with our morning coffee? These were the things that ran around my mind before I attended the Global Peace Convention 2017. My expectation was simple – learn where peace comes from. My country needs peace.

Dr. Tony Devine speaks at the Education track workshop for the 2017 GPC

I was far from disappointed, very far indeed. I found myself nodding vigorously when I heard from one speaker that APATHY drags us humans from the peace that we crave. If we are all brethren from a common ancestor from Kenya, how come we engage passionately against each other in this destructive thing called war? Can dialogue really solve this? So I found myself mumbling the mantra, ‘Nobody knows everything about anything, so dialogue.’

It was quite confounding to realize that a few simple things bring peace – human dignity, empathy, development – these are everyday concepts that we embrace as tight as our pillows at night. But what really fuels the fire is the transformation of us – human capital – to serve as catalysts in our quest for peace. The last session with Dr. Devine highlighted the importance of human capital in creating an army of peacebuilders. We have to start with moral transformation from within, for each human individual, before we can influence, encourage, and mold others to the peacebuilding mindset. What is more astounding to realize is that we need not be erudite scholars to influence others; we can just be our normal selves, doing our normal business, and yet by just adopting a transformed paradigm, our capacity to be peace builders becomes immense. That is quite daunting.

Attending the global peace convention may be a privilege. Transforming this privilege to a fruitful blessing is the challenge we have to explore and triumph in the days to come.

As first mentioned, my thanks continue to flow from my heart to yours.  Thank you! -Joan Abong (LLI & MCTC)

“I believe that this the starting point to have peace in our country: helping and spreading good values to our students and other people living in a community. We need to believe, encourage, share with and trust others.” -Generita Espiritu (KJCMES)

The convention, held in Manila, Philippines from February 28 through March 3 shared best practices, innovative projects, and moral leadership initiatives in six unique tracks to tackle today’s most pressing global issues. Participants and speakers shared their experience:

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