As part of the year-long celebration of Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU)’s jubilee year, the Ateneo Internationalization for Mindanao Office and School of Business and Governance hosted the Pakighinabi on “Business Involvement in Peace, Prevention of Conflict, and Resilience” last 21 July 2022 via Zoom video conference.

 ADDU has always hosted a Pakighinabi (a local term for conversation or dialogue; a gathering, a venue, and a space for conversation. The Pakighinabi was envisioned to be a venue of shared discernment on critical issues using a multidisciplinary approach.

One such meaningful subject of conversation, for instance, was the topic of business involvement in peace. The conversation discussed the role, involvement, and impact on horizontal and vertical conflict of the business sector in the peacebuilding process and resilience building. The lead discussant also presented the “red flag principles” and liability risks from companies operating in the communities.

At the helm of the dialogue session was Dr. Francisco ‘Pancho’ J. Lara Jr. He is the Senior Peace and Conflict Adviser of the International Alert Philippines. He is co-editor of the book, Out of the shadows: Violent conflict and the real economy of Mindanao (2013) and authored the book, Insurgents, clans and states: Political legitimacy and resurgent conflict in Muslim Mindanao, Philippines (2013). 

Dr. Lara was joined by Dr. Maria Angela G. Zafra and Atty. Fidel M. Valdez Jr., CPA, as reactors from the ADDU School of Business and Governance.

After the initial conversation between our lead discussant and the reactors, we opened the dialogue to the rest of the assembly, wherein our participants got to ask questions and converse with our resource persons.

The event was attended by 217 participants, mostly students, faculty, and staff from partner higher education institutions from all over the Philippines and abroad, hailing from countries like Pakistan, Cambodia, and Indonesia.

“This was a very enriching discussion. I can relate to the effect of conflicts on the different business enterprises, especially in our province, and the discrimination of some proprietors or companies in terms of employment. May you continue to have more discussions to raise awareness and promote advocacies,” a participant from the Grade School Unit of Ateneo de Davao University said.

It was indeed a fruitful discussion, and we are extremely privileged by the openness of our lead discussant and reactors to be part of this event.