Asia West Pacific

Lessons Learned in Shifting to Zoom: Practicing Cultures of Peace-AVP Online

The participants with their Core self drawings.  Photo by: Frence Boiser

Immediately after the lockdown was declared, Filipino AVP facilitators paid attention to leaders and peace advocates in cultures of peace practice sessions. We organized nine workshops from March 27 until April 24, reaching around 100 local and international participants.

We noticed that:

  1. We can practice the tools of peace anytime, even while on lockdown.
  2. We can amazingly adjust to situations. Human connection works in virtual settings.
  3. When we are aware of our limitations, we practice patience and tolerance more. Low bandwidths and slowness in learning curves allow us to accept one another better.
  4. We are more time-conscious now and appreciate punctuality more and more and practice sharing equal time with friends.
  5. Facilitators prepare and practice how to become more articulate and direct in their instructions and in the way they lend their confidence to the participants.
  6. We can always come before the designated time or stay on after the workshop time to personally check on each other, share concerns and COVID practices.

Whiteboard on violence and non-violence. Screenshot by: Kins Aparece

What participants realized:

As people, we witnessed numerous violent and nonviolent events.  I realized that we have the power to make things more peaceful or the other way around. -Peter Mathew Glinoga, University of the East Manila, Student Catholic Action-Christian Communities Program (UE SCA-CCP)

It takes humility to accept differences even among people that are close to you (family and friends).  Conflict may arise because of these differences, and if it does, always value your relationship more than the differences so you can settle disputes in the most peaceful way. Pearly Dawn Mijares, Project Bohol Mental Health, based in Mandaue City

We need to take both sides into account to achieve peaceful communication despite the differences faced.  The Culture of Peace Workshop is a training ground for good companionship and service.  Although online communication is sometimes challenging, the facilitators steered the participants with great vigor and enthusiasm.  Indeed, it is chicken soup for the soul in these trying times. -Chad Vincent Mordeno, MSU-IIT, Student Catholic Action- Tandag City (Mindanao)

I liked most the bright, peaceful, positive presence of each and all.  There is nothing that I don’t like.  So happy to do this activity with dear Kins and caring Cyril.  Thank you all!Rekha N. Shardar, Quezon City, Philippines

Often, we listen to reply and not to understand.  A key element in ensuring communication is understanding one another.  This experience teaches us that regardless of our point of view, we can achieve a sensible approach in securing a path of genuine listening and responding. –Kim Carlo Ascutia Pablo, St. Scholastica’s College, Manila 

I like being in the presence of people who believe in peace, from different countries and the way the facilitators adapted the practices and light & lively to be virtually feasible. -Stacie Tan, Singapore