Redentor Alejado is a humble peacebuilder who started with hope and is now working to make other youths’ hopes and dreams possible. He believes that art can be an effective tool to express one’s thoughts, feelings and emotions in a nonviolent way.
While still in college, Alejado participated in Southern Christian College (SCC)/Office of the Vice President for Research and Extension (OVPRE) programs such as the Summer Institute for Peace and Development Motivators (SIPDM) in Midsayap, Cotabato, in Southern Philippines. This was part of his early formation and gave him a new perspective in life and how to look at peace and development.
As a student at SCC, he was the Student Coordinator of Linayag Artist (Painting for Peace), a program-based organization under the Center for Media and the Arts/SCC-OVPRE. It helped him to understand the differences between “tribes” or cultural groups in Southern Mindanao and his own biases. Now, as a faculty member at SCC, he is the adviser of Linayag Artist.
Redentor sees children as the hope of the nation. The media for the message of peace are music, dance, theater, movies and painting. He continues the work he started when he was still a student in college and “spreads the message of peace through the arts.”
Now, he feels more competent in his skills in terms of spearheading the message of peace through arts. His colleagues also describe him as a passionate and artistic youth leader He is a facilitator and resource person under programs of Agenda 1 of SCC: Transformative Education and Peace. The school and their partners have tapped Redentor to train youth in arts that promote peace and development.
Redentor has worked with the various programs of SCC to create platforms and safe spaces. He wants to see youth’s participation in arts, peacebuilding and other related activities. He sees his role as being a peace advocate through the arts. Art can be the way in which the current generation can take steps towards peace. He considers art as an instrument for the youth to express their thoughts, feelings and emotions in a nonviolent way.
Posters, storybooks, songs, and video documentaries are just some of the ways he sees that the youth can utilize the arts to promote peace. It is not limited to this, though, as Redentor recognizes that technology and social media can also be used to encourage more millennials to participate in social change. They have used multimedia to document and show the engagements of SIPDM alumni, partners, and the communities, and in turn, promote peace through technology.
Redentor joined MPI’s Annual Peacebuilding Training in 2014, taking Conflict Resolution Skills: Mediation, Negotiation and Dialogue. It helped mold and gave him new knowledge from and about other countries. It helped him to understand different perspectives. The skills he learned are not necessarily used on a day-to-day basis, but there have been instances where he used what he learned to resolve conflict in small groups and in the communities.
It turns out that SIPDM is like a “mini MPI,” with youth coming from different cultures/tribes and learning about peace through short courses. Being with SIPDM, Redentor sees the happiness of the children when he shares his skills and knowledge with them. His great pride is that some of those who participated as children from the partner communities are now artists working for peace.
This article was based on an interview of Redentor Alejado conducted by UMC Global Mission Fellow Mely Sabina Lengkong.