Ateneo de Davao University

Ateneo de Davao

Activity Results

“Like this cup, you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?” (Nan-in, from the short story A Cup of Tea)

The above quote is culled from a short story shared by Datu Mussolini Sinsuat-Lidasan during the training. The story was of a Japanese master named Nan-in, who received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. The master served his guest tea, pouring the cup full until it overflowed, As the professor watched the cup overflow, the professor exclaimed,” It is overfull; no more will go in!” The Japanese master replied, telling his guest that he is full of his own opinions and speculations, and that before he can be shown and taught the art of Zen, he must first empty his own “cup.”

This is one of the goals of the training: to guide the participants through a process of “emptying their cups” and opening their minds to new approaches towards dialogue and commmunity- and peacebuilding. Lidasan quotes Yoda of Star Wars, saying, “You must unlearn what you have learned.”

At the onset of the trainers’ training, the participating minorities outlined their expectations of the training. From the expectations, it was clear that the participants were enthusiastic and willing to volunteer as peace advocates in their respective communities. Common expectations were to have unity and a deeper understanding of one another, the emphasis on the importance of dialogue, the breaking down of prejudices, respect among diverse cultures and religions, and to bridge harmonious relationships among the participants and their respective communities. (See Appendix for Participants’ Expectations)

With Werble and Shim-Quiling’s lectures on Mindanao history and the current issues and realities in Mindanao, participants were taken through the evolving history of Mindanao from then until the present day. The discussion on history and current realities served to give participants context, which would serve as the backdrop for the following modules.

The trainers’ training emphasized the importance of positive statements through the use of Appreciative Inquiry (AI). AI is a “way of being and seeing,” and both a “worldview and a process for facilitaitng positive change in human systems.” Using AI as a tool, Module 3 begins with a simple assumption: that “every human system has something that works right—things that give it life when it is vital, effecitve, and successful. See Appendix for further details on Appreciative Inquiry)

As the highlight of the program, Appreciative Inquiry guided participants through a positive, assets-based approach of reflecting on and resolving issues within and among their communities. This was the “unlearing” of what they have “learned”: unlearning the mindset of thinking about deficits and negative approaches to conflict and community issues, and learning a positive, assets-based approach in community- and peacebuilding.

Sharing their experiences in governance, justice and peacemaking, participants outlined the following points: Sense of belongingness; humility, concern for his people; charismatic; intermarriages; respected; courage and truthfulness; honest, faithful and kind.

A summation of the key results of the training is as follows:

  1. Fifty (50) participants are now equipped with knowledge of the history and situation of Mindanao and its diverse peoples. This puts into proper context their initiatives for peace and community building.
  2. Participants are well-informed of the political and socio-economic realities of present-day Philippines, especially in Mindanao, as well as updates on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro and the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
  3. Participants converged and shared their positive experiences and stories from their communities, culling lessons in peace building, community building, conflict resolution, and promotion of cultural sensitivity.
  4. Through the use of Appreciative Inquiry (AI), participants were trained to transform their framework in conflict resolution and community building, from a deficit-based to an asset-based approach.
  5. Participants culled knowledge and gained skills from the workshops, which are essential in the promotion of peace, understanding and intra- and inter-faith dialogue.
  6. Participants were able to experience and learn facilitative techniques which are essential in peacebuilding initiatives, intra- and interfaith dialogues, and community building.
  7. Participants organized themselves and drafted a provocative statement which signified their commitment and resolve to forge a lasting peace, a “unity in diversity.”