Peace Education: Asia-ANZ Conference of Sacred Heart School Heads

In the chapel of Sacred Heart Girls Middle and High School

The 3rd Asia-Australia/New Zealand Conference of Sacred Heart School Heads was held in Jesu-Maum Baeumto in Korea from the 29th of September to the 2nd of October 2014.
Sr. Choi Hae Young RSCJ, School Board Chair of Korea, welcomed the 20 participants:
    Australia – New Zealand:    
         1.    Sandie Cornish  (ANZ Province Director of Mission)
         2.    Helen Sinclair  (Stuartholme School)
         3.    Sandy Pasley  (Baradene College of the Sacred Heart)
         4.    Annie Peter RSCJ  (Sophia Junior College)
         5.    Masutaro Abe  (Sapporo Sacred Heart School) 
         6.    Yvonne Hayes  (International School of the Sacred Heart)
         7.    Midori Koda (Obayashi Sacred Heart School)
         8.    Eriko Oyama RSCJ  (Sacred Heart School in Tokyo)
         9.    Yasuko Taguchi RSCJ  (Sapporo Sacred Heart School)
         10.  Mieko Uno RSCJ  (School Board Chair) 
    KOC Province:
         11.  Chang Manling RSCJ  (School Board Member)
         12.  Choi Hae Young RSCJ  (School Board Chair)
         13.  Rachel Choi Sook Kyung (Sacred Heart Girls Middle and High School)
         14.  Gabriel Kang Suk Moon  (Sacred Heart Girls Middle and High School)
         15.  Kim Young Ae RSCJ  (KOC Provincial)
         16.  Kim Yul Ok RSCJ  (Sacred Heart Girls Middle and High School)
         17.  Pi Ming Te  (Sacred Heart Primary School)
         18.  Sun Chihwei RSCJ  (School Board Chair)
         19.  Wei Shirlane  (Sacred Heart Girls High School)
         20.  Yuka Arita RSCJ  (Sacred Heart Home)
Standing:  Pi Ming Te, Wei Shirlaine, Annie Peter RSCJ, Helen Sinclair, Sandy Pasley, Sandie Cornish, Yvonne Hayes, Yasuko Taguchi RSCJ, Eriko Oyama RSCJ, Masutaro Abe, Rachel Choi Sook Kyung, Gabriel Kang Suk Moon  //  Seated:  Chang Manling RSCJ, Kim Young Ae RSCJ, Sun Chihwei RSCJ, Kim Yul Ok RSCJ, Choi Hae Young RSCJ, Miejo Uno RSCJ, Midori Koda, Yuka Arita RSCJ
Facilitating this conference, which had PEACE EDUCATION as its theme, was a team of peace educators from Korea:  Moon Ah Young and Daehoon Lee (Francis), a research professor in Peace Studies at the SungKongHoe University in Korea.  They helped the participants recognize the presence of violence and peace within each of us and in our world.  The awakenings from their inputs and the workshops were intensive and strong, but very gentle.  Through the different activities, the facilitators enabled us to face, analyze, and learn to handle the violence within.  
Aside from the sessions, there also were organized trips.  The first visit was to Imjinkak, which gave the participants a feel of the atmosphere of the division between North and South Korea.  The second trip was a tour around the campus of the Sacred Heart School in Seoul, where students welcomed the group with songs, including the famous Arirang.   There also was a trip to Korea House, where a variety of Korean traditional dances and songs were performed, and Korean meals were served.  In all places, including in the retreat house, the participants were treated to delicious Korean cuisine.
A final source of learning for all of us was the reflections shared during the conference.  These brought us to deeper understandings of peace and violence.  Indeed, this conference enabled us to experience being a student, a teacher, and a school heads all at the same time.  It was truly an impressive experience!
I thank all who were involved in this conference, our resource persons Francis and Ah-Young, all the delegates who participated fully and sincerely, and all the members of the staff who helped us in many ways.  Most of all I thank God.  In postponing this conference last year, I know that I have inconvenienced many of the participants, but I now see that God has prepared a more gracious time for all of us.
Kim Yul Ok rscj
Principal, Sacred Heart School
Seoul, Korea
Here are reflections from some of the delegates:
Given the situation in the world today, the theme of the Asia-Australia/New Zealand Sacred Heart School Heads Conference, Peace Education, was very timely.  The participative method was used in the workshops, which were excellently facilitated by a team of Korean peace educators.  There were several touching moments during the sessions.  I am convinced anew that for peace to prevail in the world, education for social transformation has to begin with the transformation of the heart of each person.   
Yuka Arita rscj (PHI)
I learned so much from the Peace Education workshops.  These include:  
  • the importance of whole-body communications; 
  • how to create a safe and open space for learning and for peace;
  • how it is sometimes easier to follow the crowd, so to speak, and not question, even if you have a niggling doubt about what you have been asked to do; and, 
  • in order to make and sustain peace, there must be justice.
It was also very interesting to listen and hear the stories of the other participants, some of whom had lived during the war in their native countries, and to know the impact of these experiences on their lives then and today.
Yvonne Hayes  (JPN)  
The entire process was “TRANSFORMATIVE.”  There was a moment when I experienced a “wake-up call,” and that will stay with me forever.  Peace begins within me; and Peace and Justice cannot be separated. The best way of putting into practice the attitude of peace is “humbling myself in front of conflict.”  As an “Asia/Oceania” Region, we need to strengthen "peace education.”
Kim Young Ae rscj  (KOC)
The experience of being in Korea opened my eyes and gave me a new understanding of the effect of war on everyday citizens. I saw the reality of a divided country- families separated and although the desire to support the North was emphatically felt- being unable to do so because of political dictums. Hearing individual stories of atrocities against people, reflecting on thought provoking workshops and enjoying the friendship and love of fellow Sacred Heart Educators and Sisters made the conference a very special experience. 
Sandy Pasley  (ANZ)
What I was reminded most throughout the sessions is that "Peace" is not something that already exists. Rather, it is the situation or the result that human beings create. As Sacred Heart Educators, we must work for and contribute to the building of peace and justice around the world.  The Sacred Heart of Jesus, on which our schools are founded, IS meek and humble, and compassionate enough to bring peace to each one of us.
                             Midori Koda  (JPN)
The Peace Education Seminar at the Jesu-Maum retreat house in Korea is certainly one of the best seminars I have ever attended. Through dynamic activities and group discussions, Professor Francis and facilitator Ah-Young led each participant to deep reflection and awareness of new dimensions of violence in the guise of passive peace.  I became convinced that "Peace is not the absence of war, but the result of justice."  However, I wonder if I am wise and firm enough to seek justice, given that I am a human being. I then came to this understanding:  There may be no standard operating procedures or best resolution  —  but…. a simple and humble heart, awareness and sensitivity, a will to do a little more, and being in the other's shoes light up the way ahead.   
Shirlane Wei  (KOC) 
I had a new discovery each day.   I learned peace can be maintained in a profound way.  I was struck by the realization that it is common among all Sacred Heart schools to have reflection and to cherish silence.  Thank you for all the hospitality; and please thank the Sisters who let me stay in their community after the conference. 
Masutaro Abe  (JPN)
I am so grateful for the gift of this conference!  I think God created this special time and place for us to come together, learn and experience education for peace, and to be transformed in a genuine way. 
Thank you for:
  • these three excellent questions that helped us prepare our schools’ presentation on peace education:  
  1. What are the vision and approaches for peace education in your school?
  2. What have been the best practices of peace education in your school?
  3. What are the best pedagogical exercises in those cases? (pedagogical in the sense of the ways and principles of learning?
  • the powerful exercises guided by Francis and Ah Young;
  • the sharing with the participants who were all a delight to be with; 
  • the well-planned outings; and,
  • the heartwarming welcome and hospitality.
All these deepened my awareness and understanding, and awakened my sensitivity.
I pray that, in educating our students, we can create such moments of realization.  Here are some learnings that light to our steps as Sacred Heart Educators:
“Peace is the work of righteousness.”  (Pope Francis)
“If we do not share, power becomes oppressive; 
  if we share, power becomes positive.”
“Think well before tearing down anything that we have worked on together!”
Yasuko Taguchi rscj  (JPN)

Section |Formal Education|Living Our Mission

Province |Australia/New Zealand|India|Japan|Korea/Chinese|Philippines