The 21st of September is United Nations International Peace Day, a day dedicated and “devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace both within nations and peoples.” The United Nations petitions the ceasefire to parties and nations in conflict and calls for people to celebrate peace through a variety of peace campaign activities, dialogue through videoconferences sponsored by Face to Faith, and public awareness on global peace-related issues through mini-concerts, competitions, online campaigns, etc. Furthermore, the Peace One Day activities are aimed to raise awareness on the pressing issues of war and the absence of peace in the Middle East and other parts of the world.
MASS FOR PEACE
This September, Face to Faith led the series of activities in commemoration of Peace Day. Last September 17, the celebration and commemoration commenced with a unit Mass for Peace sponsored by the High School Social Science Department and Face to Faith. School President Fr. Aristotle Dy, SJ presided the said mass and Rev. Ambrosio Flores, SJ was the homilist. Before the mass started, a video clip was shown to the students, a clip which included powerful images depicting the absence of peace in different parts of the world.
FACE TO FAITH INTRA-VIDEOCONFERENCE
In celebration of the Global Peace Day, the members of Face to Faith along with invited Xaverian student leaders participated in an intra-videoconference dubbed “Nurturing Diversity for Peace” with St. Paul College – Balayan, Batangas, Trinity University of Asia, and Ateneo de Davao University High School last 18th September, 2014.
The videoconference facilitated by Jo Malone explored in-depth the diversity and the cultural plurality in the Philippines in spite of the fact that we belong to one nation.
The students thoroughly discussed their respective social identifiers — the best features and challenges of being part of a certain social identity. It was as well an avenue for the students to clarify typical stereotypes associated with their respective social identifiers and schools – e.g. Xavier being a school that caters (but not exclusively) to Chinese-Filipinos, Ateneo de Davao High School being a school not exclusive to Catholics, etc. Some other salient points of the conference included a discussion on bullying, initiatives to avoid prejudices to other social groups and identities, the threats of being part of a certain social group, (in the case of our students, being Chinese- Filipinos) among others.
The students who took part in the Intra-videoconference were Llyod Tan, Pierre Luigi Tan, Hans Yu (H4B), Jeremy Gemzontan, Antonio Tan (H4C), Sebastian Coronel (H4D), JP Pascual (H4E), Juan Santos and Spencer See (H4G), Earl Austin Chua (H3D), Brennan Ng (H3H), Rene Tan (H3I), Jacob Cue and Mackinley Ngo (10B) and Rylle Tee (10F).
SOUNDS OF SEPTEMBER
During a Day 3 long lunch break last September 25, the Drives/Lingkod Committee headed by Scott Lee Chua (H3H), Guitar Club, and Face to Faith headed by Sebastian Coronel (H4D) put together a mini-concert dubbed “Sounds of September” to raise awareness on the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East (e.g. Israel-Palestine conflict, the extremist ISIS) and to campaign for dialogue in order to promote peace.
Members of the Guitar Club with other invited student bands – Midnight Memoirs (Grade 9), Strata Suites (Grade 10), and Blue Mangoes (H3) – performed songs of love, change, and peace. Some of the songs performed included John Mayer’s Waiting on the World to Change, Rob Thomas’s Little Wonders, Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Can’t Stop, among others.
The program in the Gate 14 area was hosted by Darren Seetekbeng and Miguel Velasco of 10B who, in-between performances, asked both students and teachers what peace is for them and how they promote peace in their everyday lives.
The mini-concert was simultaneously held at Gate 14 and at the high school canteen.
UPCOMING FACE TO FAITH ACTIVITIES
This October 10, Face to Faith will be having its first international videoconference of the school year with Bosowa International School, Indonesia. Members of the club and invited student leaders will be taking part in the said videoconference.
Later this school year, the club shall also launch a photography contest, dubbed “#Instapeace.” The photographs that will submitted as entries must answer the question “How do I find peace in my daily life?” Details of the activity will be announced later.
The following activities are pursuits Face to Faith is undertaking not only to celebrate the Peace Month, but as a commitment of campaigning and promoting the values of dialogue amidst diversity, open-mindedness, and peace.