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Joji Pantoja (aka Lakambini Mapayapa) graduated from the University of Santo Tomas (B.Sc., 1979). She also studied International Relations at the University of the Philippines. She moved to Canada in 1986 and since then developed a successful career in the investment and financial industry. She returned to the Philippines in 2006. In 2015, she reveived an N-Peace Award from the United Nations Development Program – Impact Investment Exchange Asia (UNDP-IIXAsia) in behalf of the women who comprise the 80 percent of the farming partners of Coffee For Peace, Inc. As CEO of Coffee For Peace, she was invited for the N-Peace Awards Ceremony at One UN Hotel, New York, NY.
In October of 2017, Lakambini completed her Master of Entrepreneurship in Social Enterprise Development, Ateneo de Manila University – Graduate School of Business.
Joji was one of the three winners of 2020 Oslo Business for Peace Award. This prestigious recognition from the Business for Peace Foundation had this citation for her: “She has dedicated her career to building peace in conflict zones and improving the lives of marginalised groups through economic stability.”
Asked why she left her career in Vancouver, Canada for Mindanao: “I can’t imagine having a summary of my life printed on my tombstone as: ‘Spent her life managing rich people’s money.’ I want to be remembered as: ‘A person who walked with the people as they find dignity through sustainable economic development.’”
Dann Pantoja (aka Lakan Sumulong) studied theology at Febias College (B.A., 1979). He finished Asian Studies at the University of the Philippines (M.A., 1982). While serving as a pastor in Olongapo City, he was politically active against the Marcos dictatorial rule. In 1986, he and his family migrated to Canada. In 1989, he began serving as Lead Pastor at Grace International Baptist Church in Vancouver, BC. Dann was appointed in 1995 as Director of Global Ministries of the Baptist General Conference of Canada. In 2002, he finished his Master of Theology degree from the Vancouver School of Theology, University of British Columbia. Peace Mennonite Church in Richmond, British Columbia, in 2006, commissioned him and his wife, Joji, to the Philippines as International Peacebuilding Partnership Workers. Mennonite Church Canada was entrusted to administer their missionary assignment.
Asked what fuels his positive outlook in life: “It’s the influence of Jesus, a 1st century Jewish Palestinian carpenter who was executed by the imperial power of his time. He said: ‘Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.’ Jesus defied death—the ultimate negative factor in our cosmos.”