By Eliseo F. Huesca, Jr.

Panabo City, Philippines – Davao del Norte State College (DNSC) emerged as a prominent figure at the recent Network for Education and Research on Peace and Sustainability (NERPS) 2024 Conference, held at Hiroshima University, Japan. As the sole Philippine partner institution, DNSC also showcased its academic prowess by organizing a panel discussion.

NERPS, an international network of educators and researchers, works to build peaceful and sustainable societies. Based at Hiroshima University, they connect with various groups to find solutions for global challenges like peace and sustainability. Through research and education projects, NERPS tackles these issues and supports Hiroshima University’s efforts towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The 2024 edition of this annual gathering is themed “Navigating Peace and Sustainability in an Increasingly Complex World,” and held at Hiroshima University’s Higashi-Hiroshima campus in Japan from March 6-9, 2024. Keynote speakers included Prof. Atsushi Sunami, President of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and Ms. Chisa Mikami from the United Nations Institute for Training (UNITAR) Hiroshima Office.

DNSC’s Contributions Extend Beyond Partnership

DNSC’s participation went beyond just being a partner. The college organized a dedicated panel titled “(Re)thinking Local Security Governance,” chaired by Dr. Eliseo F. Huesca, Jr. DNSC faculty members presented insightful research:

  • Dr. Leo Rayon Jr. explored the topic of “Localizing Security: The Implementation of Executive Order No. 70 in Davao Region, Philippines.”
  • Dr. Charlo Bianci Guray examined “Shifting Approach for Wicked Problems? The Philippine Army’s Non-Traditional Strategies in Countering Communist Insurgency.”
  • Dr. Huesca capped the panel with his presentation on “Repurposing Agency: Bangsamoro Decommissioned Combatants as Humanitarian Service Providers in Emergency Settings.”

Expanding the panel’s scope, the DNSC team has extended an invitation to fellow researchers from Mindanao to share their expertise:

  • Dr. Margie Fiesta of MSU-Maguindanao discussed “Madaris as Counter-Extremism Institutions in Mindanao, Philippines.”
  • Dr. Rose Anelyn Visaya Ceniza of DORSU presented “Healing Within: Mental Health Interventions for Communist Rebel-Returnees in Eastern Mindanao, Philippines.”

Furthermore, Dr. Huesca’s role as chair of the session on “Local Dynamics of Peace and Sustainability” further solidified DNSC’s contribution to the conference’s intellectual exchange.

Immersion Program Provides Valuable Insights

In addition to presentations, Ms. Sadie Law-ay and Ms. Maricielo Paula Funa participated in an immersion program at Hiroshima University. They gained valuable insights into the university’s operations, including visits to the Harassment Consultation Office, the Counseling Section of the Healthcare Center, the Nursery managed by the Gender Equity Promotion Office, and the HIRAKU Global Office. They also had interactions with consultants and field practitioners from select Japanese universities, and faculty members of Hiroshima University specializing in diversity and inclusion.

Leadership Opens Doors for Future Collaboration

President Joy M. Sorrosa led the DNSC delegation. Her leadership opened doors for potential future partnerships with renowned institutions, i.e. Lakehead University (Canada), the University of Sydney (Australia), and the International Development Cooperation (IDEC) of Hiroshima University.

DNSC’s participation in the NERPS 2024 Conference demonstrates the college’s commitment to international collaboration in fostering peace, security, and sustainability. The presentations, immersion program, and potential partnerships position DNSC as a leader in these crucial areas.