PASAY CITY (02 February 2023) — A prestigious US-based institution has vowed to help the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) in establishing a national peace institute that aims to institutionalize and sustain the gains of the comprehensive Philippine peace process.

This developed as the US Institute of Peace committed to fully support the OPAPRU’s peacebuilding efforts during a meeting held among top officials of the two agencies on Thursday.

Established in 1984 by the US Congress, the USIP is dedicated to work with local and international partners to prevent, mitigate and resolve violent conflicts through linking research, policy, training, analysis and direct action to support those who are working to build a more peaceful, inclusive world.

USIP Vice President of Asia Programs Dr. Andrew Wilder said their organization is willing to share its experiences and best practices to help the OPAPRU in establishing the peace institute.

“We have the experience of being a peace institute, and we can share some of those experiences, challenges and opportunities with you. And we’d be happy to compare notes on how USIP looks as you consider transitioning into a peace institute,” Wilder said.

For his part, Presidential Assistant Isidro L. Purisima said that the creation of the Philippine peace institute is part of the agency’s long-term strategic plan, in which the OPAPRU will be consulting the USIP to realize this goal.

“There’s a need for an executive order for the organization of the peace institute, catering on policy formulation, research, training and capacity development,” Purisima said.

“We will be coming up with an organization and terms of reference for the peace institute that we are developing. We will be consulting you on how to develop this peace institute,” he added.

Commitment to national peace education

The USIP also pledged to support OPAPRU in mainstreaming peace education in the nation’s basic and higher education sectors and other learning institutions.

USIP Visiting Expert Dr. Haroro J. Ingram said their organization is ready to help the OPAPRU in every way possible, particularly in efforts to effectively integrate peace education across all levels of the country’s education curriculum.

“One of the first steps is to create a forum where peace educators could meet and they can talk about a coherent peace education manual or curriculum,” Ingram said.

“Setting up something like that, and with OPAPRU’s involvement, would be really important to integrate between the local, regional and national levels of peace education,” he added.

On the part of OPAPRU, Presidential Assistant Isidro L. Purisima said the agency’s initiatives to mainstream peace education will be consolidated and finalized through an executive order strengthening EO 570 entitled “Institutionalizing Peace Education in Basic Education and Teacher Education.”

The OPAPRU has been working closely with various education institutions across the country such as the Mindanao State University system and Ateneo De Davao University to push forward the national government’s peace education agenda.

“We are planning to link the more advanced universities to other universities who desire to mainstream peace education in their curriculum, and teach peace education in their courses,” said Director Rowena Lopez, head of OPAPRU’s Knowledge Management and Peace Institute Service.

Last September, the OPAPRU, in coordination with the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education, mounted the first National Peace Education Summit in Davao City to gather inputs on how to strengthen the implementation of peace education in the country. ###