Category Archives: East Asia

Australia: Thousands of students walk out of school to demand politicians stop dangerous climate change


An article from the website of School Strike 4 Climate

In an Australian-first, as the nation experiences unprecedented fires, drought, heat and storms, thousands of students from hundreds of schools across metropolitan and regional Australia are today [30th November] striking from school to demand their politicians act urgently to stop further dangerous climate change and the Adani coal mine, which threatens their future.

30 major strike events are taking place across the country, in every capital city and almost 20 regional centres including Townsville, the Whitsundays, Inverell, Coffs Harbour, Ballarat, Newcastle and Bega. Instead of going to school, students will today be at their nearest Parliament House or Federal MP’s office for the day.

See the full list of strikes taking place here. Student spokespeople can be made available for interview, and links to vision and stills can be found below.

In a week of storms, fires and record heat: On Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison used Question Time to urge students not to join the strike. On Tuesday, the Senate passed a motion in support of the strike. On Wednesday, over 200 student strikers flooded Federal Parliament to meet with MPs about climate change. On Thursday, Adani announced it has funding to push ahead with its coal mine which is a key target of the students.

Inspired by 15 year old Swedish student Greta Thunberg, who has been striking outside the Swedish Parliament since August, year 8 students from Central Victoria brought the initiative to Australia and have been striking in Bendigo a day a week during November. As a show of support for the Australian strike, students in Sweden, France, Norway and Finland are also striking this week.

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Question for this article:

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

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Harriet O’Shea Carre, 14 years old, from Central Victoria, said: “As young people, we will inherit the decisions that our politicians are making about climate change. We learn in school that scientists think we have just a decade to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and yet our politicians are helping rich companies like Adani mine and burn more coal that will only make this worse. We’re striking from school to tell them to stop, now.”

Jean Hinchliffe, 14 years old, from Sydney, said: “As a generation, we are sick of those in power failing to stop the climate crisis. We’ve spent our entire lives hearing the dire warnings. Our future is on the line, and sitting around waiting until we can vote and lead the country just isn’t enough. We are striking to tell our politicians to stop all new coal and gas projects, including Adani’s mine, and take immediate action to move Australia to 100% renewable energy.”

Ruby Walker, 17 years old, from Inverell, said: “I wake every morning in a state that is 100% drought declared. I have seen our government axe policies to protect my generation’s future. I have seen the failure to invest in solutions that would protect us and the failure to prevent and prepare for the climate crisis. Enough is enough. As young people, we didn’t create this problem, but we’re going to do everything we can to stop it. We are striking to push our politicians to treat climate change as the crisis it is and do everything in their power to keep fossil fuels in the ground.”

Students plan to continue strike action after the summer holidays and ahead of the Federal election. Many are organising meetings with their Federal Politicians to call for an end to the Adani coal mine, no new coal and gas projects and a commitment to get Australia to 100% renewable energy by 2030.

Media Enquiries: 0427 485 233 or 0437 316 331 to arrange interviews with student strikers or


Photos from the walk-outs will be uploaded HERE with November action pics.

Vision from the walk-outs will be uploaded HERE.

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

“Peace through dialogue: Our destiny” is theme of Mindanao Week of Peace 2018


An article by Carolyn O. Arguillas from Minda News

“Peace through Dialogue: Our Destiny” is this year’s Mindanao Week of Peace (MWOP)  theme.

Held every last Thursday of November until the first Wednesday of December, this year’s celebration from November 29 to December 5 is the 20th Mindanao-wide week of peace that the Bishops-Ulama Forum (now Conference) initiated in 1999, inspired by the annual week of peace in Zamboanga City that the Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) organized.


The BUC was born three years earlier, on November 29, 1996.

In their joint statement, the BUC convenors — Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla for the Catholics; Aleem Caboali Cali of the Ulama League of the Philippines, for the Muslims; and Bishop Emeritus Hilario Gomez, Jr. of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines (UCCP) for the Protestants — said dialogue is important because as social beings, “humans are destined to associate in order to survive and to grow in humaneness.”

“It is a natural need and therefore a task,” they said, adding that it is necessary to “be present in person with respect, to speak with sincerity, to listen with interest, to be open to all ideas and to seek the truth,” describing it as “the art of humane dialogue.”

The Joint Statement said underpinning dialogue is “the awareness of being a believer in the Oneness of God Who as Creator brings humans to unity and peace, to integrity and solidarity.”

In a separate message, Mindanao’s lone Cardinal, Orlando Quevedo, OMI, newly-retired Archbishop of Cotabato and prsently Apostolic Administor Sede Vacante of the Archdiocese of Cotabato said dialogue is not mere intellectual discussion but “listening humbly and respectfully to ‘the other,’ listening not only with one’s ears, but most importantly listening with one’s heart” as this transforms hostility and suspicion into understanding and trust.

He said this was the internal process that the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front developed through long years of patient dialogue for peace.

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Questions for this article:

How can different faiths work together for understanding and harmony?

Can peace be achieved in Mindanao?

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Since 1999

MindaNews tracked down the MWOP themes across two decade, and found a number of them recurring.

1999: Healing the Past, Building the Future

2000: Mindanaoans Journeying Together Towards a Culture of Peace.

2001: Peace: Sharing the Vision of Unity and Hope
2002: Peace through Reconciliation: Mindanaoans seeking a Common Ground

2003: Healing through Forgiveness: Key to Total Human Development

2004: A Reconciled Family, Agent of Reconciliation

2005: Millennium Development Goals: Women and Youth as Partners in Peace Building

2006: In the Name of the Almighty, God of Harmony, Care for the Earth
2007: Building Bridges of Peace with our Peace Officers
2008: Integrity of Mind and Heart a way to Reconciliation and Peace!

2009: Think Mindanao, Feel Mindanao, Bring Peace to Mindanao

2010: Responsive and Responsible Governance: Key to Peace, Development and Sustainability
2011: Common Word between us and you: Love of God, Love of Neighbor

2012: Love of God and Love of Neighbor, A Challenge for Mindanao

2013: Dialogue and Hope: Key to Peace

2014: We pray for long-lasting peace in Mindanao. Give, Share, Live and Proclaim Peace

2015: Mindanaons’ Aspiration for Peace

2016: Healing for Personal and Social Transformation

2017: Owning Mindanao History for Peace and Development

2018: Peace through dialogue: Our destiny

Then President Joseph Estrada issued Proclamation 207 on November 5, 1999, declaring November 25 to December 1, 1999, “and every year thereafter” as the Mindanao Week of Peace, “to provide a venue for the expression in various forms of the peace aspirations of the people of Mindanao and for convergence of peace initiatives.”

The Proclamation said all concerned government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations and members of the private sector and civil society based in Mindanao “are enjoined and encouraged to engage in relevant and meaningful activities in celebration” of the MWOP in coordination with the BUF (now BUC).

It also said the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) in partnership with the secretariat of the BUC Secretariat, “shall provide all the necessary help to ensure a successful coordination of all undertakings during the said week of peace.”

In March 2000, four months after issuing Proclamation 207, Estrada waged an “all-out war” against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), displacing nearly a million residents, some of whom returned home only after Estrada was ousted in January 2001.

On November 3, 2000, Estrada issued Proclamation 408, amending Proclamation 207 by resetting the date of the MWOP to the last Thursday of November until the first Wednesday of December of every year thereafter.

The following year, on November 26, 2001,  President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who assumed the Presidency in January that year following the impeachment of Estrada, issued Proclamation 127 which was practically a reiteration of Proclamation 207.

Arroyo’s Proclamation declared the last Thursday of November up to the first Wednesday of December of every year thereafter as the Mindanao Week of Peace. 

UNESCO proposes concrete projects to implement inter-Korean reconciliation


An article from UNESCO

The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, today met Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea, for the first time, and expressed the Organization’s determination to bolster cooperation with the Korean Peninsula.

“UNESCO wishes to commit its support to inter-Korean reconciliation through concrete projects,” declared the Director-General. “We can help restore the links between peoples through shared heritage, educational programmes and cooperation in natural resources management. Facilitating, even accelerating, the construction of durable peace in the Korean Peninsula through culture, education and the sciences is both the ambition and core mandate of UNESCO.”

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Question for this article:

Can Korea be reunified in peace?

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To that end, UNESCO intends to focus on projects that are at once concrete and symbolic. In her talk with the President of the Republic of Korea, the Director-General spoke of her will to reinforce cooperation in the three area of cultural heritage, education and science. These proposals will be discussed with the authorities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

With regard to cultural heritage, discussions are expected to concern cooperation with a view to identifying shared nominations for inscription on the World Heritage List and on UNESCO’s lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Work will also be undertaken to publish a first dictionary of Korean etymology.

In education, UNESCO will lend its support to teachers by reinforcing global citizenship education. Educational programmes to be implemented across the Peninsula could also be developed.

Finally, Ms Azoulay and President Moon Jae-in also envisaged scientific cooperation with regard to water and environmental preservation. Discussions notably focused on initiatives that could be implemented to facilitate joint access, sharing and management of transboundary water resources, and the preservation of biodiversity and its sustainable use for the benefit of local communities.

Women Human Rights Defenders Gather in Bougainville

. . . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . . .

An article from the International Women’s Development Agency

Almost 200 women leaders from across Bougainville have come together to advocate for peace in their communities and gender equality for all. [Editor’s note: Bougainville is an island of Papua New Guinea.]

The women leaders are part of a network of Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) in Bougainville, supported by IWDA’s partner Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation (NCfR). WHRDs work tirelessly to defend women’s rights, acting as educators, advocates, counsellors and activists in their communities.

Women leaders gather at the 2018 Bougainville Women Human Rights Defenders Forum

The Bougainville WHRD Forum was coordinated by NCfR in partnership with IWDA. This year’s forum was unique, with local WHRD groups hosting events in several locations across Bougainville, and thousands of community members watching on.

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Question for this article

Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

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Discussions focused on issues of family and sexual violence, community safety and security, poverty reduction, leadership, and recognition of the work of WHRDs, particularly those in rural communities. The women also discussed sexual reproductive health and rights, access to education and services and the need for action on climate change, among many other important issues.

Other organisations attended to share information with women leaders on critical topics, including representatives from the law and justice sector who discussed the Family Protection Act (FPA). The Act states that Village Magistrates have the power to issue Interim Protection Orders, encouraging women to access justice through the court system. The FPA criminalises family and sexual violence with these matters no longer considered a family issue.

Sister Lorraine Garasu, Director of Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation, said responding to and preventing violence remained an urgent priority.

Participants of the forum had the chance to share their stories directly with high-level government officials, including the President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, Honourable John Momis. Women leaders raised their concerns about the rights of women and children in Bougainville and other issues affecting their communities.

IWDA CEO Bettina Baldeschi was at the forum, and said she was inspired by the women’s courage and determination to stand up for change.

At the end of the forum, Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation and IWDA officially launched the second phase of the From Gender Based Violence to Gender Justice and Healing  project.

This project is funded by the Australian Government in partnership with the Government of Papua New Guinea as part of the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development program. The first phase of the project ended in March, and reached almost 22,000 people in Bougainville through counselling, trainings, awareness raising and initiatives focusing on prevention of family and sexual violence, as well as on support and services for survivors.

Asia and Pacific: International Day of Peace


A survey by CPNN

e have found 158 events in 22 Asian and Pacific countries. Details are available for 33 that were listed in Google during the week of September 21-28 under the key words “International day of peace” and 国际和平日 (Chinese) as well as on the website of the event map for the International Day of Peace, the facebook page of the Global Feast, the website of and the facebook page of International Cities of Peace. In addition to the 33 events on the above websites, there were 125 events mentioned without detail on the websites of One Day One Choir and Montessori schools singing for peace No doubt there were many events listed on the Internet in languages other than those for which we searched.

Photo from the program in Uttar Pradesh organized
on the occasion of International Peace Day

Here are details of the events

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN: Afghan Women’s Network, celebrates World Peace Day at kabul Star Hotel. With the participation of Social activist’s, Community Leader’s, Religious Scholar’s, Representatives of different NGO’s members, Teacher’s,Youth and children’s. Afghanistan’s Civic Party plans to celebrate this day on the World Peace Day, which is one of the most urgent needs of dear Afghans in Afghanistan with a martial arts competition with the participation of the National Martial Arts Federation and with the participation of Pakistani and Iranian opponents under the name “Fighting to launch peace.”

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN: Carpet of peace woven by Afghanistan youth. It is 35 meters in length in the colors of blue and white. Afghanistan’s Civic League will hold classes about peace with those who cross the carpet.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA: On the 21 of September, UNIC Canberra marked the International Day of Peace with the Queensland Branch of the United Nations Association of Australia at their annual Brisbane Peace Lecture. UNIC Canberra Director, Mr Christopher Woodthorpe spoke about the historic context and significance of the International Day. Professor of Law and Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology, Dr Larissa Behrendt then delivered the Peace Lecture at St John’s Cathedral to an audience of 150 people. The event also featured performance by the Combined Union Choir with Songlines Katini.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Sister Margaret Parker represented the Brahma Kumaris at an Interfaith Prayer Service at the Uniting Church in Parramatta on Friday, September 21st, to mark the United Nations International Day of Peace. The Uniting Church pastor, Rev. Dr. Manas Ghosh, has been conducting this Interfaith service for the past fifteen years. The service started with the lighting of the Peace Candle by Dr. Zeny Edwards from the UN Association of Australia while the congregation recited the International prayer for peace. This year, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Coptic Orthodox, and the Sufis joined for the first time. Another Interfaith Prayer Service on September 21st was attended by BK Helen Chapman at the Lindfield Uniting Church, in northern Sydney. About 120 people were present when the service started at 11 am. Twelve representatives from different faiths were present to participate in the leading of a prayer or a reading from their particular faith. There was also an exhibition outside the Prymont Theatre Foyer about loving kindness, compassion, inner peace and sustainable development goals (SDGs) where BKs also had a table to hand out pamphlets.

WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA: School students and Illawarra People For Peace (IP4P) members took to song and friendship to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the UN International Day of Peace. ‘The Right to Peace – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70’, was the theme of Friday’s event in Wollongong. IP4P president Reverend Geoff Flynn said it was 70 years since the charter for human rights was signed but there’s actually not a right to peace in that particular charter. Students from Amity College, Wollongong Public School, Edmund Rice College and St Mary’s College performed during the September 21 event at Wollongong Mall. Reverend Miao You from the Nan Tien Temple also made a speech about peace and human rights. Amity College president Dr Mehmet Aslan also spoke about social justice and equality.

MALENY, AUSTRALIA: World Cafe Community Dialogue Forum: a series of intimate hosted table conversations focused around practical peacebuilding.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA: 100 people are expected to attend Earthdance Perth for an event benefitting the Kigalisun Foundation of Rwanda.

DHAKA, BANGLADESH: In order to celebrate the International Day of peace, the Department of Information Studies and Library management in association with East West University Library invites students to come together to form a human chain of peace sign on 23rd September 2018 at 12:00 pm in EWU ground. These allies are also conducting an hour-long session at Digital Section of the Library, from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm on the same day to engage the students to understand the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to get their opinions on “Right to Peace”.

SIRAJGANJ DISTRICT, BANGLADESH: The day will start with a interfaith community gathering and with a Peace March. 

KUTAPOLONG REFUGEE CAMP, BANGLADESH: A film by Nihab Rahman portraying Rohingya Refugee Children immersed in the message of peace and hope: http:///

ISPP, PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA: The whole school from kindergarten to grade 12 together will write the lyrics of a song expressing our vision about peace. The school will be divided in 6 groups and each group will have 40 minutes to write about peace and humanity.

HONG-KONG, CHINA: Go to the Hong Kong Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception for a prayer about world peace. Peace ambassadors: Students will promote the message of peace to the kindergartens through storytelling and arts and crafts. Arts and crafts activities for peace. All students of our school will join various programs to acknowledge the importance of this day.

NANJING, CHINA: Sept. 20 (Xinhua) – Nanjing, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) – China on Wednesday called on all countries, large or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, to behave as advocates, promoters, sympathizers and practitioners of peace. The Chinese Vice President, Wang Qishan, made the call during the opening ceremony of an International Peace Day event in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province, east China. “The International Day of Peace represents good hope for world peace for all the people in the world,” Wang said. “The Chinese people, always a lover of peace, expect to pursue, maintain and enjoy peace with the peoples of other countries.” Wang also met with foreign guests who attended the event, including Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia, Ulziisaikhan Enkhtuvshin; the former president of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias Sánchez; the former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin; the former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama; former Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as “Prachanda”; and the president of the National Regeneration Movement of Mexico, Yeidckol Polevnsky Gurwitz.

HYDERABAD, INDIA: Rendering of peace words and poem by youtube.

BHUBANESWAR, ODISHA, INDIA: Volunteers of National Oral Cancer Prevention Initiative, (NOCPI) in association with Kalinga Institute of Dental Sciences (KIDS) will meet and interact with public gathering and will sensitized them about the importance of their oral & systemic health and also their responsibilities in creation of peace in world.

SOHNA, GURUGRAM/GURGAON, INDIA: The Apeejay Stya University is organizing Poster Making and Discussion on World Peace Day under National Service Scheme.

CHANDIGARH, INDIA: Celebration of the Global Feast

SAHIBZADA AJIT SINGH NAGAR, PUNJAB, INDIA: Celebration of the Global Feast

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Question for this article

What has happened this year (2018) for the International Day of Peace?

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UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA: The program was organized on the occasion of International Peace Day under the chairmanship of District Basic Education Officer Rakesh Kumar. During this, the students were given information about the peace day. Nikhat Parveen District Scout Master District Training Commissioner and Dipinder Kaur District Guide Captain, Scout Guide at District Scout Guide Roti Warehouse campus and International Peace Day was celebrated with Divyang’s children. On this occasion, the Chief Guest was given the message of peace by making a sign of the Messenger of Peace by the District Basic Education Officer. On this occasion, the symbols of peace were allowed to fly into the open sky and the message of unity was given.

CHEMPAKAPARA, INDIA: This is how we celebrated the International Day of Peace. The Non-Violence Project Foundation, NOCER India, Goonj and Dharma Bharathi Mission jointly organised three community activities at Belmount School, Chempakapara (Idukki District – a district devastated by the recent landslide/flash-floods). The village community cleaned a pond, made a kitchen vegetable garden and a children’s park. More than 150 volunteers participated in the community activities and were rewarded with family kits consisting of food grains and general consumables.

RAIPUR, INDIA: Students of #RungtaInternationalSchool were on a full day visit to the four major religious places of #SmartCityRaipur . The Ram Mandir , The Church , The Masjid and the Gurudwara , The religious leaders of all these places spoke about the respective religious . Since most of the discord in the world is divided on religious lines , it’s imperative that we create a #religionofyouth which enables the next generation to understand and assimilate the essence and spirit of peace of all religions and respect them.

CHIBA, JAPAN: Troop 43, girl scouts of Japan hold an annual event for local girls and their supporters to realize peace and encourage to spread it out through the world.


KATHMANDU, NEPAL: A mass Message Writing and Signature Campaign is being held on 21st September to as way of sending messages to Stop Sexual Abuse of children and adolescent girls ! 11 spots within Kathmandu, Nepal will have a long spread of cloth to gather messages and signature to come together and create collective against rape and sexual abuse !

KATHMANDU, NEPAL:> In coordination with the establishment this year of Namo Buddha: City of Peace, we from Kathmandu, Nepal today 21st Sept. are celebrating World Peace Day by walking by foot with a “talking” burning candle from Kathmandu to Namo Buddha nearly 65 km. With me are 11 other persons also participating with candles passing and lighting by devotees of Buddhists in different Bihars and Monasteries for three days)

WANGANUI, NEW ZEALAND: Video of the annual gathering for the International Day of Peace,at Handspan sculpture at Queens Park.

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND: Members of the World Peace Bell New Zealand chapter and other community groups will gather at the Peace Bell and ring it in support of world peace.

PORIRUA, NEW ZEALAND: Porirua Hospital Chapel’s Annual Peace Day Celebration

KUMARA, NEW ZEALAND: Kumara Village of Peace community had a shared feast for peace’ at the community center with ‘Kites for Peace’ in the afternoon.

Peace walk

HAYATABAD, PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN: Nowadays the message of peace becomes more valuable at a time when the country is facing uncertain political situation and terrorist activities.This event will aimed to educating students about the need for a peaceful society and to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives in conflicts and also give the message of peace and hope.

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN:> Members of Worlds Children Peace Monument, Pakistan World Peace Daily and International Center For Environmental Arts are celebrating international peace day in Margalla National Park, Islamabad.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES: Open mic so participants can express themselves about the International Day of Peace in the Philippine context.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES: The Peace-IPPNW Commission of the UP Medical Students for Social Responsibility presents Himig: an open mic (spoken word and acoustic) event, with the theme of “Peace and Human Rights”. Through this open mic, participants are given the opportunity to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression. Through poetry, prose and music, we aim to foster a sense of unity, and to strengthen and instill in our participants a yearning for peace in all its levels. 

JEJU-DO, SOUTH KOREA: 2018 International Day of Peace Celebration in Jeju ‘Fly for Peace’ : The Right to Peace-The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70
– Human rights and Peace Booths, flea market to raise donation for refugees
– Celebration Opening, performance, speeches and presentation
– Jeju Peace exhibition and Ethiopia exhibition tour with docent, Human Rights film

SRI LANKA: TWR Lanka will be organizing a special FM radio discussion on the topic ‘Peace’ to be broadcasted via FM 94.3/ 94.5

SURAT THANI, THAILAND: Pyramid rise ecstatic dance

DILI, TIMOR-LESTE:> To celebrate peace day, we will march along the Beach Road (starting point: near Centro Supermarket; ending point: Unidade Policia Maritima). The march will be led by a percussion group. Then, we will continue with a concert in Unidade Policia Maritima, starting from 7pm. The concert will be filled with many young talented Timorese who will be singing various songs related to peace, and dancers dancing to different types of music. On this peace day, we are celebrating diversity! 

In addition to the above events, One Day One Choir lists participating choirs for the International Day of Peace in :
Bangladesh (KHULNA)
Brunei (PANAGA)
Indonesia (JAKARTA)
Japan (CANORA)
Sri Lanka (COLOMBO)
Timor-Leste (DILI)

And the map of Montessori schools singing for peace on the International Day of Peace includes schools in:
Malaysia (SELANGOR)
Micronesia (PENIA WENO)
Sri Lanka (DEHIWALA)

Philippine troops, Muslim rebels mark Eid Al-Adha


An article by Maecy Alviar for the Andalou Agency

In a historic solidarity event, the Philippine military and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) gathered on Saturday [25 August] to celebrate a Muslim holiday in the southern Philippines.  

Moro Muslims perform the Eid Al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) prayer at the orphanage opened by Turkey’s IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation in Cotabato, Philippines on August 21, 2018. ( Ahmet Furkan Mercan – Anadolu Agency )

Maminta Dimakuta, the mayor of Tagoloan Lanao, welcomed the government troops and the country’s largest Moro separatist group to the del Norte province, touting the harmonious relationship of Christians and Muslims in the town despite cultural and religious differences.

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Question for this article:

Can peace be achieved in the Philippines?

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Brig. Gen. Ramiro Manuel Rey and Col.Thomas Sedano, representatives from the soldiers’ side, expressed their gratitude to the town officials for organizing the celebration of the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Adha.

“I’ve long been dreaming of joining with MILF fighters in an event like this,” Sedano said, as quoted by GMA News.

The joint celebration also served to pay thanks for the milestone in the peace process in the southern Philippines, said Dimakuta.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law, the fulfillment of the 2014 peace deal between the national government and the MILF, was signed in June by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The measure for greater autonomy creates the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, a region with more political and fiscal powers including a bigger annual block grant equivalent to 5 percent of the total national internal revenue collection.

A ‘new dawn’ for Mindanao’s Bangsamoro


An article from Zamboanga Today

In a historic event, the Philippines’ one-time largest Muslim rebel group presented a landmark law last August 8, 2018 which will give Moro people greater autonomy in ruling their homeland in Mindanao.

Congress’ ratification of Bangsamoro and its eventual signing into law by President Rodrigo Duterte came as a huge victory for the Moro Islamic Libetation Front (MILF), which had been waging a rebellion seeking autonomy or independence in southern areas that they regard as their ancestral homeland.

Poster for film Bangsamoro: The Quest for Peace in Mindanao

The presentation developed after President Duterte led the ceremonial signing of the BOL in Malacañang three weeks ago after its signing was delayed due to the abrupt change of leadership in the House of Representatives.

It will be recalled that during his presidential campaign in 2016, Duterte, then mayor of Davao City, said he would work out for the grant of self-governance, in the context of federalism, to Mindanao’s Bangsamoro sectors, if elected president.

“There shall be a Bangsamoro country to finally end the decades-old conflict that is rooted in the Bangsamoro’s fight for self-determination and the recognition of their unique identity,” Duterte said, as he hoped it will help correct the historical injustices committed against the Moros.

The first Philippine President from Mindanao said: “May this (Bangsamoro law) serve as the final trajectory for the attainment of genuine peace, stability, [and] good governance in Muslim Mindanao. Together, let us shatter the dark clouds that once loomed over our nation for generations, welcome the dawn of a brighter future not only for the Bangsamoro people, but for all peace loving Filipinos.”

Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, who chairs the Senate subcommittee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BOL), had called the ratified law for Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) an advent of a new era for Mindanao.

“It’s a new dawn for Bangsamoro in Mindanao,” he said following the ratification of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. “The MILF and the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) are ready to work with the Philippine Government especially in the conduct of the plebiscite that will be held around November.”

Admitting that the “Bangsamoro was the hardest bill he ever tackled, the Mindanao lawmaker said its preamble was contentious.

“They were about to walk away. We were able to convince MILF to step back from independence bid. We will have a parliamentary system in Bangsamoro region. There will be 80 members of parliament under Bangsamoro region. There will be a chief minister,  two deputy chiefs and a ‘wali’ (ceremonial leader).”

Senator Zubiri assured the Bangsamoro people that in the Senate they will exert all efforts to ensure the successful implementation of the BOL.

This includes the budget for the plebiscite and the yearly Block Grant allocation, as well as the national program that will benefit the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, according to Zubiri.

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Question for this article:

Can peace be achieved in Mindanao?

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“I will continue to champion our cause in the Senate for the continued peace and prosperity for your region and the whole of Mindanao,” he added.

Without any doubt, according to political observers, President Duterte made true of his promise to the Bangsamoro people and his commitment to the Bangsamoro peace process.

In a statement, Usec. Nabil Tan, deputy presidential peace adviser and chair of the Government Implementing Panel for the GPH-MILF peace accord, said the passage of the BOL is the start of a new chapter in the lives of the Bangsamoro people.

“This is just the beginning… Much work still needs to be done. We must now double our efforts,” said Tan.

Tan noted that both the Senate and House of Representatives made sure the landmark measure was crafted “within the bounds of the Philippine Constitution.”

He said the BOL is a vast improvement over the ARMM Organic Law (RA 9054) and the final peace agreement signed between the Philippine government and the MNLF in 1996.

“This is ARMM plus-plus,” Tan said, explaining that with the passage of the BOL, more resources will now be poured into the region to accelerate its economic development.

These resources, he said, include an annual Block Grant that will be automatically appropriated to the BARMM government to fund its operations for the next 20 years.

Tan said a Special Development Fund will also be provided to fast track the rehabilitation of conflict-affected areas in the region. “We now have this law. The challenge now is how to make the Bangsamoro government work effectively,” he said.

For his part, chair of the Government Implementing Panel for the GPH-MILF peace accord Mohagher Iqbal said the passage of the BOL signifies a milestone that was achieved by the concerted efforts of all stakeholders in the peace process.

He paid tribute to those who made huge sacrifices that led to the approval of the BOL, particularly members of the MILF leadership who have passed away.

He also lauded members of Congress for their firm support to the law, which he said aims to provide the Moro people meaningful autonomy and enable them to chart their political future through the democratic process.

“We urge you to value this agreement. This peace process is for everyone,” Iqbal said.

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman said the passage of the BOL is a truly momentous occasion for the Bangsamoro people.

“We have reached this point through sacrifice,” he stressed.

Hataman lauded the Philippine government and the MILF for ensuring the approval of the law, which is expected to bring a long-lasting peace and sustainable development in the region.

He said the passage of the BOL is not meant to diminish the accomplishments of the ARMM government but seeks to build on its gains over the years.

“We are not erasing the ARMM,” Hataman said.

The ARMM governor said that the greater challenge confronting the Bangsamoro people now is how to ensure the successful implementation of the law.

“The new law is now here. Let us unite behind it. This is a better law,” he said. Hader Glang

North and South Korea to hold third peace summit in Pyongyang


An article from Deutsche Welle

Envoys from North and South Korea announced on Monday [13 August] they had reached agreement to hold the upcoming peace summit in the North’s capital of Pyongyang next month.

picture-alliance/dpa/AP/South Korea Unification Ministry

It will mark the third meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Officials from both sides reached an agreement at the truce village of Panmunjom, located in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas.

While no date or an agenda for the upcoming talks were formally announced, the two sides are widely expected to discuss a potential peace declaration and the possibility of launching a series of joint economic and infrastructure projects  that could go ahead once sanctions on Pyongyang are lifted.

South Korea is also expected to push its northern neighbor to accelerate the dismantling of its nuclear weapons program. North Korea and the United States have struggled to agree on how to proceed with denuclearizing the peninsula after Kim vowed to disarm during a landmark meeting with US President Donald Trump in Singapore in June.

Summit details thin

Following Monday’s talks, delegates from both sides said in a statement: “We reviewed the implementation situations of the Panmunjom Declaration (which calls for a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean war and sees the North pledge to denuclearize) and held consultations in a sincere manner on matters related to its more active enforcement.”

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Question for this article:

Can Korea be reunified in peace?

(continued from left column)

September’s talks will mark the third meeting between Kim and Moon. The two leaders met for the first time in April where they signed the Panmunjom Declaration. The pair met again in May ahead of Kim’s Singapore summit with Trump.

The head of the North Korean delegation, Ri Son Gwon, told reporters following the talks that officials agreed on a specific date for the Pyongyang summit, but refused to disclose the date.

A spokesman of South Korea’s presidential office said it would be difficult for the summit to take place earlier than September 9, when North Korea celebrates the anniversary of its founding.

Sticking points

The nuclear issue has been one of several ongoing points of contention between the Koreas. Both sides have indicated they want to sign a declaration formally ending the Korea War; however the US has said it would only be privy to such a deal once the North has completely abandoned its nuclear weapons program.

That prompted North Korean state media last month to chide the South, accusing it of failing to take practical steps and only abiding to the views of the US.

Pyongyang has asked the US reciprocate its goodwill gestures, although the Trump administration has so far refused to ease economic sanctions

Another sticking point is the case of a dozen North Korea restaurant workers who arrived in the South via China in 2016. Pyongyang maintains that the workers were abducted and has even hinted that the issue could obstruct the future reunion of families separated between the two Koreas.

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon declined to say whether the case of the restaurant workers had come up on Monday, merely stating that Pyongyang’s negotiation team had not brought up new issues. “There were mentions that if there are problems to be resolved by both sides, on humanitarian issues or for the development of inter-Korean relations, we should do it,” Cho told reporters.

6,000 teachers deployed to promote peace in Mindanao (Philippines)


An article by John Unson for Philstar Global, as reprinted by the Global Campaign for Peace Education

Some 6,000 teachers deployed in five southern provinces in the past five years are now actively helping propagate interfaith solidarity among schoolchildren in support of the government’s Mindanao peace efforts.
They are now handling classes in remote barrios in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao covering Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, both in mainland Mindanao, and in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

New ARMM public school teachers show their appointments signed by the region’s chief executive, Gov. Mujiv Hataman. (Photo: / John Unson)

Lawyer Rasol Mitmug Jr., ARMM’s regional education secretary, said Friday the latest batch of duly licensed public school mentors enlisted by his department is comprised of 765 men and women who had signed commitments to accept teaching assignments in far-flung schools.

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Questions for this article:

Can peace be achieved in Mindanao?

Where is peace education taking place?

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More than 4,000 teachers were appointed by ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman during the time of Mitmug’s predecessor, John Magno, who was at the helm of the regional education department from late 2015 to 2017.

They filled out vacancies after the removal by the Hataman administration of thousands of “ghost teachers” from the payroll of the Department of Education-ARMM that proliferated during the time of past regional governors.

“Some of them showed their dedication and commitment when they volunteered to help facilitate the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataang elections last month,” Mitmug said.

He said the teachers are now helping propagate the so-called “culture of peace” and religious solidarity among ARMM’s Muslim and Christian communities.

The ARMM education and public works department were touted as the most corrupt agencies of the regional governments under past administrations.

Officials of the two agencies now openly talk about efficiency in  handling of quarterly operating funds from the national coffer, open to scrutiny by media entities and peace advocacy blocs helping improve regional governance through various capacity-building interventions.  

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

Philippines: New Bangsamoro Organic Law Includes Provision for Peace Education


An article by By Jasmin Nario-Galace and Loreta Castro from the
Center for Peace Education, Miriam College for the Global Campaign for Peace Education

On July 27, the Philippine President signed into law the Bangsamoro Organic Law which aims to complete the peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. This peace agreement was signed in 2014 but required a law to implement it.  

Questions for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

The Center for Peace Education at Miriam College  in Quezon City has been lobbying for the inclusion of peace education in the Education provision of the said draft law. After nearly 4 years,  the said efforts had finally yielded the result that was hoped for.  

Under Article IX, the Education provision of the new law, second paragraph says: “The Bangsamoro government shall institutionalize peace education in all levels of education” (page 39).

You may download here a copy of the Bangsamoro Organic Law

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)