Pedro’s Opening Remarks at the Bendum Conference 2013

Kay Pitman

What is discernment? It is achieving inner strength, greater conviction, courage and commitment to protect and foster those things each of us holds most valuable.

The conference at the APC school in Bendum

The conference at the APC school in Bendum

It was with an expression of gratitude that Pedro Walpole, APC’s Director, opened the APC’s Conference, held in Sitio Bendum from the 14th to 17th May, 2013.

Grateful that people working at the forefront of indigenous education were able to join APC in Bendum, Pedro’s speech was a reflection on the journey from gratitude and celebration, through companionship and exchange, to clarity, motivation and commitment.

“On one level we have gathered here to bring about a further understanding, in this case in terms of school management, but on another level, we are also here to share life itself and much broader hopes of sustaining our communities and our people,” Pedro said.

“In the process, we also confirm what we value in common and are affirmed in our thoughts and efforts. It helps us to better understand what it is that motivates each of us to do the work we do – to create movement towards indigenous education that comes from and is guided by the experience of indigenous peoples, as many of us are here today” he said.

Pedro also expressed his hope that the proceedings of the conference would allow the participants—from teachers, school managers, community organizers to those coming from national and international support agencies, both governmental and non-governmental—to be empowered, to be better informed, and to be better able to explain why their experiences in
indigenous education are so important.

“Empowerment is achieved through the realization of this discernment, realizing that we are informed, and we are able to make decisions about the ways we want to respond to our experiences because we can articulate why they are so important. From this basis we can stand up for something, take action and commit,” Pedro said.

Pedro shared APC’s commitment “to care for the land and life around us, the daily needs and growth of our children and the culture in which lies their hope for the future, of belonging in society and having dignified and productive lives, and of having peaceful relationships with Migtanghaga, tanhaga and kapwa.”

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