Friday, September 25, 2009

Filipino lawyer and peace advocate is 2009 World Vision Peace Awardee

Lawyer Mary Ann Arnado after receiving the much-coveted World Vision International Peace Award on Monday, September 21, 2009 in Davao City in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 25, 2009) – A Filipino lawyer and peace advocate Mary Ann Arnado is this year’s World Vision International Peace Awardee.

Arnado bested three others in different countries for the much-coveted award for peacemaking for her dauntless pursuit to promote peace in a non-violent yet effective way.

World Vision said it was extremely impressed and moved by Arnado’s passion, commitment, and work for peace. “Her story of dedication, courage, perseverance, critical thinking and resourcefulness to mobilize marginalized indigenous communities inspires and encourages others to engage peacemaking with the same reverence,” it said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

Arnado is the secretary general of Mindanao People’s Caucus, a network of Bangsamoro, indigenous peoples and Christian settlers which promotes peace and facilitates dialogue.

World Vision Philippines executive director Elnora Bailen-Avarientos handed the award to Arnado during the celebration of the United Nations International Day of Peace on September 21 in Davao City.

Arnado had once organized the Bantay Ceasefire Monitoring Team that successfully aided the peace process between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

She had also helped mobilized over 10,000 internally displaced persons who successfully initiated a ceasefire between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the MILF in 2003.

The World Vision International Peace Prize Award for Peacemaking honors an individual who takes risks and excels in the work of conflict resolution. It is given for either bringing parties together to resolve a conflict or being a catalyst who engages peacemakers, mediators and people of moral authority into a peace process which brings hope that a significant destructive conflict can be resolved.

It was launched in 2008 in memory of and to honor Steve Williams, World Vision United Kingdom senior policy advisor on peace and conflict, who died from heart failure on December 3, 2007 at age 56.

Williams brought vast experience in peacebuilding, conflict analysis, and policy analysis and served as the co-convener of PaxNet, the World Vision global peacebuilding network.

In addition to the peace prize, World Vision Philippines also simultaneously commemorated the UN International Day of Peace through a 3-day peace event dubbed the National Children Peacebuilding Forum in Laguna province outside Manila from September 19-21. Children from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao gathered, discussed and worked together for peace and unity.

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. The organization serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.

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