CHANGE does not come on their own, for nothing comes from nothing.
Twenty five people, working to build peace in communities of Melanesia gathered in Suva for two weeks from December 3 are learning that social good comes from agents of change.
The peace practitioners are the first participants of the Oceania Peacebuilding Institute (OPI), itself a first of its kind initiative in the Pacific region, a project of Fiji based NGO; Transcend Oceania.
Speaking at the launch of the OPI on December 3, Fijian academic and board member of the Transcend Oceania, Dr. Tuinawi Rakuita told the Pacific peacebuilders to dig deep into their shared history to get the tools to build JustPeace.
“We must never forget that as people from Oceania we are descendants of ancient navigators who dared to cross these vast tracts of ocean and were guided by nothing other than the wind on their faces, the stars in their eyes and fire in their hearts,” Dr. Rakuita said.
Dr. Rakuita, the coordinator of the Post Graduate Studies at the Centre for Pacific Studies told the peacebuilders who represent Transcend Oceania partners from Fiji, Bougainville and Papua New Guinea that ‘nothing comes from nothing.”
“Ideas such as truth, justice and peace are considered to be social goods in philosophical discourses on the good life. The ancient Greeks believed that these kinds of social goods are actually contrived,” Dr. Rakuita said.
Urging them to become those agents of change, the sociologist reminded the peacebuilders that ‘social goods’ do not appear all of a sudden from thin air.
“...Or as that quaint English phrase that informed so many medieval philosophers say ‘nothing can come from nothing’.”
Vosita Lenisaurua, the new director of the OPI said the challenge to peacebuilding was not in the ability to create spaces but in bringing key relevant actors to engage in critical dialogue on critical issues.
“OPI is exciting as well as important step forward in the quest for peacebuilding in the Pacific. It is a great opportunity for us to come together to explore deeper our rich cultural expressions for peace, as well as re-defining those that insinuate violence,” Ms Lenisaurua said.
“OPI courses offer a vibrant, experiential and collaborative learning environment that will critically and constructively engage with contemporary challenges in peacebuilding, sustainable development and revitalization.”
By LICE MOVONO | Freelance Journalist operating out of Suva, Fiji.