Doctrine divides, Action unites


  October 2014


Paving the Way for Peace in History Class

Tirmizy Abdullah

We don’t build peace. Peace has always been there. We just have to pave the way for it, clean its way from obstacles, welcome it.
Max Ediger, ICF coordinator

One of the basic courses that I teach at Mindanao State University in Marawi City in the Philippines is History 3 entitled “History of the Muslim Filipinos and the Indigenous People.” This subject is one of the basic mandated courses of my university, meaning all university students have to take this subject before they can graduate. One of the most important sections of this course is peacebuilding and interfaith understanding—how to take lessons of peace from the history of Mindanao and use them to build healthy relationships among the tri-people of the island, i.e., Christians, Muslims and Lumads, or indigenous people. This subject is part of the attempts of the university to pave the way for peace among the peoples of Mindanao.

With my involvement in Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF) and my participation in various ICF’s activities, like the School of Peace (SOP), I am able to make my teaching and class facilitation more effective for the students. Almost half of my syllabus is taken from the curriculum of SOP. We are allowed to be resourceful in this way at my university since we have academic freedom, meaning we are free to be innovative in creating our syllabus and the learning process of the students. From SOP, I always include in my course such topics as critical thinking, innovative thinking, structural violence and interfaith justpeace, especially on how to take lessons of peace from our respective religions.

It is very interesting to note as their class facilitator that at the end of the semester I see that my students have not just learned the material academically, but they have also learned lessons of life, such as the real meaning of friendship, understanding and fellowship even though they come from different religious backgrounds.

* Tirmizy Abdullah teaches history at Mindanao State University in Marawi City on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. He participated in the School of Peace (SOP) in 2010 in Bangalore, India, conducted by Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF) and is currently the ICF national coordinator for the Philippines.


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