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Sharing the Gift of Compassionate Leadership at the 2017 Madaris Leadership Program

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The Madaris Leadership Program participants pose with the MVP staff and training facilitators during the culmination program.

The Madaris Volunteer Program (MVP) held the first iteration of its annual Madaris Leadership Program for Bangsamoro student leaders and teachers last September 17-21, 2017 at the Eden Nature Park in Davao City. This year’s program comprises two separate seminar-workshops, respectively called Compassionate Leadership: A Training-Workshop for Bangsamoro Leaders, and Teachers’ Training: Cultivating a Culture of Peace in the Classroom and Beyond. Student leaders and teachers from the MVP’s twelve (12) partner-madaris in the Bangsamoro participated in the event. These workshops are aimed at sharing with the students the gift of compassionate leadership—“to see as others see and to feel as others feel”—as well as helping the teachers build lasting peace in the classroom that would spread among the larger community.

Intended to renew these student leaders and teachers’ focus on the Bangsamoro struggle, the program primarily comprised group workshop sessions and lectures by several resource persons. These lectures were focused on concepts central to “compassionate leadership” and its relevance to the Bangsamoro community: “Self-Awareness & Concept of Person,” delivered by Ms. Lilibeth L. Leh-Arcena of the Arrupe Office of Social Formation (AOSF); “Self-identity,” by Dr. Rosalinda Tomas (AOSF); “Concepts in Islamic Leadership,” by Datu Mussolini Lidasan of the Al-Qalam Institute (AQI); and “Exemplars of Muslim Leaders,” delivered by Ustadz Janor Balo of the Salaam Movement (SM).

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Student leaders discuss about their ideals of a leader during a structured learning exercise.

Nakaka-enlight talaga siya sa aming mga madaris teacher (It’s really an enlightening experience for us madaris teachers),” recounts Mujahidin Garay, a teacher participant from the Ibn Taimiyah Foundation Academy. “Of course, kung ano yung nangyayari ngayon, sa amin, within the parameter of our school—the threat of ISIS, the threat of extremism—yung experience ko dito, parang mas na-enlighten ako at mas na-encourage ako na ipagpatuloy yung mga nasimulan na, like, paano ipalaganap yung kapayapaan, most especially sa mga kabataan ngayon (Of course, given what is happening today, to us, within the parameter of our school—the threat of ISIS, the threat of extremism—my experience here [in the MLP], I feel more enlightened and more encouraged to continue what has been started in terms of spreading peace, especially among today’s youth).”

Garay also adds, “Sa future madaris teacher, don’t be afraid na sumugal sa mga kabataan, especially sa mga madaris school, they need you, so sana mabigyan niyo ng pagkakataon na ma-experience niyo yung mga na-experience namin sa madaris school kasi masaya magturo sa madaris school kasi iba’t ibang bata—kailangan tayo ng mga kabataan, especially the madaris school talaga (To the future madaris teacher, don’t be afraid to bet on the youth, especially those in the madaris, they need you, so I hope you’ll give yourselves the chance to experience what we did in the madaris, because it’s really enjoyable teaching in the madaris, because we teach really different kids—the youth needs us, most especially those in the madaris).”

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Salaam Movement leader Althea Esmael discusses how one finds their identity as a Bangsamoro leader.

The Madaris Leadership Program (MLP) is a series of yearlong seminar-workshops that aim to empower student leaders from the MVP’s partner-madaris by developing their capacities in leading, setting goals, and facilitating dialogue with their peers and their communities. Relatedly, the MVP is also a collaborative initiative of the Ateneo de Davao University and the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP).

The next iteration of the 2017 Madaris Leadership Program will take place on February 25-March 1, 2018 at the Ateneo de Davao University.

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