Rev. Fr. Randy Jasper C. Odchigue, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research at the Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU), invited Lakan Sumulong to the 3rd Mindanao Peace Studies Conference last 21-22 November 2017 in Butuan City. The conference theme was “Cultivating Peace Through Deeper Understanding”.

Lakan shared PAR principles and practices. PAR is peace and reconciliation. This is the heart of our ministry.

We have developed a whole system of information and communication to share PAR. We also have developed various social laboratories to demonstrate the viability of PAR. In the past 10 years, independent organizations have assessed the impact of PAR In various contexts.

Lakan’s paper, “Peace and Reconciliation Theology as Framework for Transformational Development,” was actually presented last 22 November.

Peace, as understood in Lakan’s paper is: harmony with the Creator (spiritual transformation); harmony with our Being (psycho-social transformation); harmony with Others (socio-political transformation); and, harmony with the Creation (economic-ecological transformation).

He discussed and explored, from an ecumenical perspective, an anabaptist theology of peace as a framework for positive peacebuilding and transformational development.

Reconciliation, as presented in this paper, is the goal of peacebuilding. Borrowing from the concepts articulated by John Paul Lederach, the presentation focused on building relationships between antagonists. The primary goal in a process of reconciliation is “to seek innovative ways to create a time and a place to address, to integrate, and to embrace the painful past and the necessary shared future as a means of dealing with the present.”

Lakan presented a number of actual Mindanao-based transformational development initiatives as models of Peace and Reconciliation Community Development Projects — Indigenous Peoples’ context, Bangsamoro context, and Migrant context — to demonstrate the viability of this theological framework.

There were 350 participants from all over Mindanao who are actively involved in various approaches to peace education.

Ms. Maria Lourdes G. Naquita, the university registrar, hosted the particular session when Lakan did his presentation.

The two-day conference offered plenary talks, workshops, live performances, an indigenous peoples’ forum, and a Junior Scholars’ forum—all in the hopes of listening to the voices of those who promote the culture of peace.

More and more, PAR is being received by Catholic organizations and institutions like FSUU. For this particular development, PeaceBuilders Community is so energized and encouraged. We return all the glory to the God of peace.

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