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Alumni News

News from and about MPI Alumni

The Heart of Harmony

MPI Alumnus Abbas Panakkal wrote the script and directed the film below "The Heart of Harmony." Abbas presented this story in a Youth Training Programme on 'Innovative Model of Harmony' from India along with other interfaith harmony models.

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Valedictory Speech of Tirmizy E. Abdullah

Delivered during the internally displaced 10th Hooding Ceremony of the Mindanao State University – Marawi Graduate School at Iligan City on July 12, 2017. Trimizy is an alumnus of MPI and former secretariat volunteer. He was also a fellow with the KAICIID International Fellows Programme. Tirmizy was conferred this Ph.D. in Philippine Studies.

Bismihi subhanahu. In His Name be He glorified.

Assalamu ‘alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

Tirmizy at podium during Hooding CeremonyOur esteemed mentors, University administrators, our great self-sacrificing parents and family, family that make up our support system, friends, fellow graduates, may peace and the blessings of God, Allah be upon us all now and in the days to come. Good morning.

I pray before Allah subhanahu wata’ala that this momentous event, our hooding ceremony, serves a form of collective prayer for the reign of peace, justice, and harmony in Mindanao, in the country, and beyond, if not in the physical world, in our hearts at least. For dark clouds seem to loom not only in our land, but also in many parts of the world, especially in Aleppo, Syria and Mosul in Iraq. To the list of war-racked and war-devastated places must now be added our very own City of Marawi. Marawi is not just in our hearts. Marawi is our heart.

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MPI as a Blueprint for the Centre for Peace Studies and Dialogue

Reflection of my time at MPI and how it contributed to setting up the Centre for Peace Studies and Dialogue at Union Christian College, Aluva, India

Jenee Peter (2nd from left) with classmates in the Interreligious Dialogue course at MPI
Jenee Peter (2nd from left) with classmates in the Interreligious Dialogue course at MPI

Who could imagine that a peacebuilding training would mean being by the seaside listening to waves and meeting people from across the globe? This was exactly my experience when I attended the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute Foundation, Inc. 2015 Annual Peacebuilding Training at the Mergrande Ocean Resort, Mindanao, Philippines.

The faculty and participants shared many experiences about their nations, communities, cultures and lives. This time for sharing was the most important learning aspect for me at MPI. As a teacher of archaeology and ancient history in a liberal arts college in India, I wondered, How would I be able to use the skills that I learned from Mindanao?

I had high expectations about MPI. The classrooms were ideal for meditation, cultural evenings, farewell parties, informal discussions, formal lectures and deep reflections. This was totally different from the classrooms in India. As I let myself embrace this novel experience, I realized that the entire program at MPI is learner-centered. That is why MPI leaves a lasting impression on us alumni.

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Binding, Bonding, Bridging

The following poem was written by Phebe Angus George, an alumna of MPI's 2017 Annual Peacebuilding Training. Phebe wrote the "binding, bonding and bridging" are concepts she learnt during week two and three courses.

A recovery of the lost self
From a wilderness of conflict
Rescued from the mirage of anxious pain
From the bottomless chasm of chaos
To a healing through the balm of hope
Sowed generously through
A path unknown discovers itself
That it's not alone
One voice
Becoming many
Across nations a unity of souls
A journey from the mind to the heart
Extending to the unreached through
A path of peace
Carved through sweat and blood
Commitment and passion
All moving towards one purpose

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Multiplying Peacebuilding Efforts

CPSD Inauguration on stage and lighting incenseWhat does one do after completing the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute (MPI) Annual Peacebuilding Training? For Dr. Jenee Peter, it was to be involved in developing a Centre for Peace Studies and Dialogue (CPSD) at the Union Christian College (UCC).

UCC is located in Aluva in the state of Kerala in South India. It was founded in 1921 as an institute of higher education. The college is affiliated with the Mahatma Gandhi University.

Dr. Peter and her colleagues successfully launched the CPSD on March 23, 2017. The Center is the first of its kind in the area housed under an academic institution. Recognizing that peace necessitates a sustained, systematic and collaborative effort, CPSD was established to create awareness among its students and community about current challenges to peace and to explore ways of working with various organizations and institutions to address these challenges.

Dr. Jenee Peter, a professor in the Department of History at UCC, was one of the first scholars supported by the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (UBCHEA) to attend MPI’s Annual Peacebuilding Training in May 2015. Already, the Center has gotten funding from UBCHEA to start a Peace Studies program. Looking back at her experiences at MPI, Jenee shared, “though I have been learning and teaching about interreligious understanding in Kerala for many years, the courses at MPI broadened my horizons. I realized that the entire program at MPI is learner-centered. That is why MPI leaves a lasting impression on the alumni.Click here to read more of Jenee’s reflection.

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