The Ateneo de Davao University, through its Ateneo Internationalization for Mindanao (AIM) Office and Arrupe Office of Social Formation (AOSF), successfully completed the International Electronic Service-Learning Program (IE-SLP) October cycle.

The IE-SLP gathers students from international partner academic institutions for a 4-week virtual service-learning program that provides a space for holistic formation through intercultural dialogue and meaningful transnational encounters with our partner communities online. The IE-SLP has designed sessions for academic knowledge, distance collaboration, remote service immersion, and formative learning.

For this pilot cycle, the participants engaged with our resource speakers in the webinar sessions, IE-SLP companions in the reflection sessions, and local community partners in the open space (interactive dialogue) sessions. 

“Through the sessions, I want to share with others the holistic meaning of peace, the role of youth in peacebuilding, how we can make a peace community, and how to resolve conflicts. Every part of the program is giving me a different perspective and new knowledge,” a participant said.

The program hosted eleven (11) participants from different academic institutions: Soegijapranata Catholic University (Indonesia), St. Aloysius Gonzaga Institute for Higher Studies (Myanmar), and Ateneo de Davao University (Philippines). 

The IE-SLP theme on “Peacebuilding in Mindanao” provides a holistic understanding of peace in the context of Mindanao. This program invited the participants to venture on the peacebuilding journey of the peoples of Mindanao–the Indigenous Peoples (Islamic and non-Islamic IPs) and the migrant settlers–who have been marred by years of conflicts and struggles. The output of the IE-SLP participants was a Peace Education Module which was rolled out to Dar Al-Uloom Wal-Hikmah, Inc. a madrasah (i.e. Islamic school) in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to let our students immerse with other people with diverse backgrounds because as we all know, we are quite confined within our place, having a very minimal to no exposure to people who have different beliefs and other races. So, this is really a very meaningful experience for our students and our school,” Ms. Raeesa Piang, Academic Coordinator of Dar Al-Uloom Wal-Hikmah, Inc., said.

Despite the limitations of an online format, this didn’t hinder us in elevating the experience of an online learning community that is formative and meaningful. 

“No one could ever fathom that an international service-learning program could be done in an online format in this unprecedented time. Yet, IE-SLP proved that there is no barrier too strong for people to come together as a community. Although there is really no substitute for real-life immersion, dialogue, and planning, the program did not fall short in providing essential and relevant content, a safe space for dialogue, and an avenue to concretize the participants’ learning. All in all, the program was able to achieve its objectives,” Ms. Ivy Jane A. Torregosa, the IE-SLP main facilitator, said.